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'Canes rally, beat Caps in 2OT in Game 7

(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

WASHINGTON (AP) Justin Williams returned to the building that was the scene of his only Game 7 loss and left the ice relieved and redeemed after knocking off his old friends and defending Stanley Cup champions.

The man who earned the "Mr. Game 7" moniker shook Alex Ovechkin's hand after the Carolina Hurricanes' stunning 4-3 double-overtime victory over the Washington Capitals and beamed with pride in his upstart team's latest triumph that added another piece to one of the craziest first rounds in recent NHL history. Each conference's top seed, all four division champions and the teams that met in last year's Cup Final are all out, and the pesky Hurricanes are storming on to face the New York Islanders in the second round.

"You can kick the snot out of each other and look each other in the eye and say, `Man that was a great series, you really pushed us,'" Williams said. "We pushed each other."


Bruins host rested Jackets in Game 1

BOSTON (AP) The Boston Bruins have home-ice advantage through a potential trip to the Stanley Cup Final, and they have the Columbus Blue Jackets to thank for it.

They'll get a chance to show their gratitude in the TD Garden on Thursday night.


Familiar faces clash as Blues host Stars

Two similar squads share the ice Thursday night when the St. Louis Blues host the Dallas Stars in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series.

Both Central Division teams were among the league's best after the All-Star break in late January. Both teams rocketed up the standings thanks to strong defensive play. Both teams advanced by winning six-game sets against their favored counterparts -- St. Louis beat the Winnipeg Jets while the Stars upended the Nashville Predators.


Sharks rally, beat Vegas in OT in Game 7

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Joe Thornton gathered his teammates at the bench as a bloodied Joe Pavelski was taken off the ice after being knocked out on a hit and implored them to avenge their captain's injury by scoring three goals on the ensuing major penalty to erase a three-goal deficit.

The San Jose Sharks did Thornton one better and scored four, setting the stage for a remarkable comeback for a franchise known for far too many postseason collapses.


Predators disappointed after early exit

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Nashville Predators had every piece in place for another long playoff run chasing the Stanley Cup.

So they thought.


Vegas stunned, angry over pivotal call

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Joe Pavelski's head slammed to the ice, blood pooling nearby after he took an awkward fall following cross-check by Cody Eakin.

As Pavelski was helped to the locker room by his teammates, the officials huddled to decide what sort of punishment to dole out after not initially making a penalty call on the ice.


Avs no-name blue liners raise their game

DENVER (AP) In between homework assignments this season at Massachusetts, Cale Makar brushed up on the Colorado Avalanche blue line.

The rookie defenseman studied as much film as he could of his soon-to-be teammates in order to lessen his learning curve.


Canada's Cup drought reaches 26 years

TORONTO (AP) Many current NHL players were either not yet born or too young to remember the last time a Canadian team hoisted the Stanley Cup. The drought now stands at 26 years after all three Canadian teams were eliminated in the opening round of the 2018-19 playoffs.

The Boston Bruins defeated Toronto 5-1 in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal on Tuesday night, sending the Maple Leafs into the offseason alongside the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets. The other four Canadian teams did not reach the postseason this year.


Seattle to honor its hockey past

SEATTLE (AP) The preview center for Seattle's NHL franchise overloads visitors' senses with pictures and video providing a peek at what they're going to get when the team begins play in its flashy new arena for the 2021-22 season.

For those in charge of the franchise, the locker unveiled Tuesday with the nameplate of Guyle Fielder on the front and filled with equipment from more than a half-century ago, along with an old Seattle Totems sweater hanging on the frame, is just as important as all that future tech.


Sabres D Bogosian to miss 5-6 months

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Buffalo Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian will miss five-to-six months after his second hip operation in a little more than a year.

The Sabres provided the update Tuesday, two weeks after their season ended. Bogosian missed the final eight games with a lower-body injury. The team says the recent operation repaired Bogosian's other hip.