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NHL Playoff Update: Golden Knights first team to advance

The Vegas Golden Knights are the first team to make the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, while the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders stayed alive.

The reigning champions Colorado Avalanche find themselves in trouble against the Seattle Kraken, and the New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild need to find answers in their respective series to avoid being dumped out by the New Jersey Devils and Dallas Stars.

Vegas first to advance

The Golden Knights moved on to the second round with a 4-1 win in Game 5 to complete a 4-1 Western Conference series victory over Winnipeg Jets.

Vegas are the top seed in the West and will play either Edmonton or Los Angeles Kings in the second round. The Oilers currently lead their first round series 3-2 with Game 6 on Saturday in Los Angeles.

The Golden Knights are +210 to win the Western Conference and reach the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in their short history.

Panthers stay alive

The Panthers stayed alive in their Eastern Conference first round series with Boston Bruins with a 4-3 overtime victory at TD Garden.

Florida's win was their second on the road in the series at a building where the Bruins only lost seven times (34-4-3), including overtime, in the regular season.

Matthew Tkachuk, acquired to be a difference maker in the playoffs by the Panthers in the last off-season, scored the game winning goal 6.05 into the extra period.

Game 6 will be in Florida on Friday and the Wild Card Panthers are +160 to level the series against the top seeded Bruins.

Kraken have Avs on the brink

Following a 3-2 victory in Game 5 of the Western Conference first round the Kraken lead the Avalanche 3-2 and have the reigning champions on the brink of elimination.

Tye Kartye scored on his NHL debut and netminder Philipp Grubauer was again solid for the Kraken, who are the first Wild Card in the West.

Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and assist for the Avalanche, who are without top-six forwards Gabriel Landeskog and Valeri Nichushkin (injury), plus superstar defenseman Cale Makar missed Game 5 with a one-game suspension.

Colorado coach Jared Bednar admitted post-game that his side are lacking in confidence in the series, something they will need to find for Game 6 in Seattle.

The Kraken are +135 to end the Avalanche's title reign with a win, while Colorado are -155 to tie the series and take it back home for Game 7.

Lightning hold off Leafs

The Lightning beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 in Game 5 to cut their Eastern Conference first round deficit to 3-2.

Andrei Vasilevskiy made 28 saves for the Lightning, whose performances in the series had been questioned.

The Lightning came back from 3-1 last season to beat the Leafs in Game 7 and they are +325 to do so again.

Toronto are 0-11 in their past 11 opportunities to eliminate an opponent, contributing to them not winning a playoff series since 2004.

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Devils shut out Rangers

Akira Schmid made 23 saves for the Devils to help them to a third straight win, 4-0 against the Rangers in the Eastern Conference first round.

After losing the first two games 5-1, the Devils now lead the series 3-2 and New York must quickly find an answer to their offensive woes.

The Rangers are 0-for-10 on the powerplay in the past three games after going 4-for-10 in Games 1 and 2.

Strong on the road, New Jersey are +105 to eliminate the Rangers at Madison Square Garden in Game 6 on Saturday.

Sorokin elevates to give Islanders hope

Islanders’ netminder Ilya Sorokin elevated his performance in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference first round series with Carolina Hurricanes to win 3-2 and keep their season alive.

New York remain 3-2 down in the series, but with their superstar goalie registering a .923 save percentage and 2.77 goals-against-average (GAA) so far in the playoffs, they continue to have +325 belief that they can turn the series around and win in a Game 7.

To do that, Sorokin and the Wild Card Islanders must first deliver on their -120 odds to win Game 6 at home which would take it to a winner takes all meeting in Carolina.

Wild seek answers

The Wild were shut-out 4-0 by Jake Oettinger and the Stars in Game 5 of their Western Conference first round match-up.

But finding a way to get more pucks past the hot goalie is just one of several issues that they must find an answer to as they attempt to avoid elimination on home ice in Game 6 on Friday.

The Wild, 3-2 down in the series, have conceded nine powerplay goals on 22 opportunities which includes at least two in four of the five games in the series.

Minnesota are -110 to turn things around and get a win in Game 6, while Dallas are matching odds to continue their success and advance with a victory.

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