The defending champions are in the cables and the best team in the NHL has another chance to advance to the second round of the NHL playoffs.
The four first-round series that continue on Friday will go into a sixth game, which means a team can be eliminated. The biggest upset comes as the Colorado Avalanche trail the Kraken 3-2 as the series continues in Seattle. The Dallas Stars will also have the opportunity to finish off the Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference.
On the Eastern Conference side, the Boston Bruins are hoping to eliminate the Florida Panthers and the Carolina Hurricanes are hoping to finish off the New York Islanders.
All eyes are on the Avalanche, however, who are one loss away from becoming the first defending Stanley Cup champion to be eliminated by a team making the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
“Our culture is strong here, from top to bottom we believe in our abilities and that’s not going to change,” Avalanche forward Andrew Cogliano said Thursday. But we have come to a point where we need to walk the talk. »
The Bruins also want to take action, after squandering a first opportunity to eliminate the Panthers on Wednesday. They lost in overtime after a game where they made some unusual mistakes. Captain Patrice Bergeron recalled after the encounter that his team could not give their rival “free” chances, as was the case in Game 5, presented in Boston.
Game 6 will be in Florida. The Bruins are still in control of the series, as they try to become the 10th Presidents’ Trophy winners in 11 years to win at least one series.
“I’m sure we’re going to bounce back and be tough,” Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery said. I have confidence in our group. »
Confidence is not lacking on the Avalanche side, especially a year after a Grand Final triumph. They’re hoping to capitalize on the return to play of last spring’s playoff MVP, defenseman Cale Makar, after a one-game suspension.
As is the case with the Bruins, there is pressure on the Avalanche.
“They play without pressure and are confident,” Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said of the Kraken players. Yes, the guys in their locker room want to win like everyone else, but the world expects us to win. »