Wednesday night featured the first second round matchup of the Stanley Cup playoffs, as the Islanders and Lightning faced off. Later in the evening, the first round came to a close when the Ducks and Predators battled it out in Game 7.
The Islanders defeated the Lightning 5–3 on the road, while the Predators punched their ticket to the next round, beating the Ducks, 2–1.
There were plenty of highlights, but these are the players who most caught our eye:
Pekka Rinne, Predators
Yes, the guy can be a dumpster fire at times, but Rinne committed larceny in Nashville’s 2–1 Game 7 win over Anaheim. The Ducks dominated the final two periods, outshooting the Preds 28–10, forcing Rinne to make a series of spectacular stops (keep Corey Perry in your prayers this summer). His composure in the final minutes as the Ducks were throwing bombs through a forest of bodies? Epic. Doesn’t matter what happens next. Preds fans will never forget that finish.
Thomas Greiss, Islanders
The legend continues. Greiss, the postseason’s most unlikely star, made 33 saves to lead the Isles to a 4–3 win over the Lightning in the opener of their second series. His highlight reel included close to a dozen gems, most of which came during a 17-shot third-period assault by the Bolts. The best of the bunch: a limber left-pad save on Jonathan Drouin midway through the third that kept the Islanders lead at 4–2.
“They made a good push,” said Kyle Okposo. “But Greisser stood tall and as a team we were able to weather the storm.”
Paul Gaustad, Predators
The veteran center isn’t paid to score goals—he had two during the regular season, and just one to show for 60 career playoff games. But he found the perfect time to add to his totals, counting the game winner in Nashville’s 2–1 Game 7 victory. With the Preds controlling the puck down low, Gaustad went to the net, got position on Cam Fowler and deflected a Shea Weber snapper that beat Frederik Andersen high on the short side.