New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Henrik Lundqvist outdueled Steve Mason, Dan Carcillo and Benoit Pouliot scored in the second period and the New York Rangers outlasted the Philadelphia Flyers to post a 2-1 victory in the deciding Game 7 of this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. One night after being yanked after two periods in a 5-2 defeat, Lundqvist made 26 saves, only letting a Jason Akeson third-period shot slip by him en route to upping his all-time Game 7 record to 4-1. Carcillo and Pouliot lit the lamp within an 8:40 span for the Rangers, who have had to endure a seven-game series in the first round in each of the last three seasons but won each time. New York will take on the Metropolitan Division-champion Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round. At times their only serviceable player on the ice, Mason made 31 saves for the Flyers, who had won each of their last three Game 7s dating back to 2008.
Final Score: Minnesota 5, Colorado 4 (OT)
Denver, CO (SportsNetwork.com) - Nino Niederreiter's second goal of the contest was the overtime and series winner, as the Minnesota Wild claimed a thrilling 5-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in Wednesday's Game 7 of the Western Conference quarterfinals. Dany Heatley, who picked up a score in the second period, began the play with a long lead pass from his own defensive zone up to Kyle Brodziak, who chipped over to Niederreiter for a 2-on-1 break. Niederreiter then ripped a heavy wrister home from the right wing at the 5:02 mark. Mikko Koivu and Jared Spurgeon also lit the lamp for the Wild, who advanced to the second round by winning the terminal contest in this best-of-seven set after erasing four one-goal deficits. Brodziak ended up with three helpers. Ilya Bryzgalov picked up the win after stopping the lone puck he faced through 13:15 of action. He subbed for Darcy Kuemper, who departed the game late in the third period for an undisclosed reason, having allowed four goals on 21 shots. Minnesota has won all three Game 7s in franchise history, all on the road, and has beaten Colorado twice. The Wild ended Avs head coach Patrick Roy's playing career with a 3-2 OT decision in Denver on April 22, 2003 and managed to end the Hall of Famer's first year behind an NHL bench in similar fashion. Their reward is a second-round date with the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks beginning Friday night. Nick Holden, Jamie McGinn, Paul Stastny and Erik Johnson scored for the Avalanche, who suffered a painful defeat after tying a franchise-record with 52 regular-season wins along with a Central Division title. Matt Duchene and P.A. Parenteau chipped in a pair of assists each, but Semyon Varlamov was on the hook for all five scores on 35 shots.
Final Score: Los Angeles 5, San Jose 1
San Jose, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Kings joined a rare club on Wednesday, becoming just the fourth team in NHL history to rally from a 3-0 series hole with a 5-1 win over the San Jose Sharks in Game 7 of this Western Conference quarterfinal series. After dropping the first two games in San Jose by a combined scored of 13-5, the Kings failed in overtime in Game 3 at home to find themselves on the brink of elimination. However, the team stayed alive with a win in Game 4, then saw goaltender Jonathan Quick post a shutout in Game 5 and give up just one goal in Game 6 to force the deciding game. The former Conn Smythe winner again shined when his team needed him, posting 39 saves on Wednesday and helping the team join the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, 1975 New York Islanders and 2010 Philadelphia Flyers as the only clubs to pull off the monumental comeback. Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, and Tyler Toffoli all scored for the Kings, who advanced to take on the Anaheim Ducks in the West semifinals with Game 1 set for Saturday night. Dustin Brown and Tanner Pearson added empty-net goals. Matt Irwin scored the only goal of the game for the Sharks, who lost a Game 7 for a second year in a row to the Kings as they dropped a road game in the clincher in a semifinal matchup last spring. Antti Niemi, who was back in net after getting pulled in Games 4 and 5, and being benched for Game 6, allowed three goals on 28 shots in the final game this postseason for San Jose.