May 31, 2022 - Sports

A look ahead at the NHL conference finals

The New York Rangers celebrate.
Chris Kreider celebrates with teammates after his third period goal. Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

After a thrilling first two rounds, the NHL's final four is set — and it should be a great one.

Driving the news: The Rangers handed the Hurricanes their first home loss of the playoffs on Monday, beating them 6-2 in Game 7 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Lightning.

  • Chris Kreider (two goals) now has 15 career goals when facing elimination. Mark Messier (16) is the only player with more.
  • Igor Shesterkin (36 saves) was outstanding in net, as the Vezina Trophy favorite delivered yet another dominant performance.

Wild stat: The Canes' first 13 playoff games were won by the home team, the second-longest streak in NHL, NBA and MLB postseason history. Finally, when it mattered most, the Rangers broke the away team curse.

Looking ahead: These NHL playoffs have been full of excitement (especially compared to the NBA), and the conference finals are full of intrigue — the kind that should deliver big ratings for the league.

  • The East Finals, which begin tomorrow, will pit Shesterkin against fellow Russian Andrei Vasilevskiy in a dream goalie matchup made for the bright lights of Madison Square Garden. Tampa is eyeing a rare three-peat, but went 0-3 against New York this season.
  • The West Finals, which begin tonight, will see two of the NHL's best young superstars — Connor McDavid and Nathan MacKinnon — go head-to-head. The Avalanche are a goal-scoring machine, while the Oilers are vying to become the first Canadian champion since 1993.

The bottom line: The NHL is very good right now. Don't miss it.

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