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NHL Playoff Update: Panthers win again, Stars even series

The second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs are well underway, with two Game 2s providing the latest excitement and drama on Thursday night.

Just three nights into the second round of the 2023 NHL Playoffs, we’ve already gotten to enjoy upsets and standout performances. 

Between the Florida Panthers going up 2-0 on the Toronto Maple Leafs and heaps of goals being scored out west, we've recapped the latest conference semifinals action as of Thursday night.

Panthers pull out another win

There looks to be something about this Panthers team.

Fresh off their upset over the record-setting Boston Bruins in an epic seven-game series, the Panthers took Game 1 in Toronto, 4-2, on Tuesday night. 

Underdogs yet again in Game 2, they rolled into Toronto again and silenced Scotiabank Arena, but not before the home crowd had its fun.

The Maple Leafs jumped out to a 2-0 within six minutes lead thanks to goals from Alex Kerfoot and Ryan O'Reilly, before the night went south for those in blue and white.

After nicking one back by the end of the first, Florida scored twice - via Aleksander Barkov and Gustav Forsling - just a minute and six seconds into the second period. That 3-2 advantage stuck over the next 38-plus minutes of game time, as the Leafs faithful slowly watched their team lose a second-straight game at home to fall behind 2-0 in the series.

It was another masterful goaltending performance from Florida's Sergei Bobrovsky (35 saves), too, as the Panthers now sit firmly in the driver's seat. 

Stars down Kraken to tie series

Perhaps the most exciting matchup of all of the Game 1s took place down in Dallas, with the Stars hosting the Seattle Kraken, who eliminated the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche in the first round. That clash ended 5-4 in favor of Seattle, despite Dallas' Joe Pavelski slotting four goals. 

On Thursday, Pavelski had some more help from his teammates as the Stars avoided going down 2-0 before traveling up to the pacific northwest for Games 3 & 4.

Pavelski, Wyatt Johnson and Evgenii Dadonov all struck in the second period for the home team, before Tyler Seguin put Dallas up 4-1 to secure the Game 2 win. 

“Everybody was good,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer said, per ESPN. “In Game 1, Joe Pavelski was great. Tonight, we didn't have any passengers.”

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Hurricanes storm through Devils

The New Jersey Devils came storming into Carolina fresh off a seven-game series over the New York Rangers, but the Hurricanes quickly shut down any momentum they came in with. 

After jumping out to a 3-0 lead in Game One, the Hurricanes went on to win by a final score of 5-1. 

Carolina’s concerns had been primarily focused on their offensive output with Andrei Svechnikov and Teuvo Teravainen sidelined. 

However, not only did they jump out to an early lead, but they also got Devils goaltender Akira Schmid pulled early in the second period. 

The ‘Canes were the only favourite to win their Game 1, which bodes well with their home-ice advantage.

Vegas slips past the Oilers

The matchup perhaps fresh on everyone’s mind is the most recent, with the Vegas Golden Knights taking care of business at home in Vegas. 

Despite being on home ice, this was still something of an upset, as Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers look destined to finally make the Stanley Cup Final. However, the Knights had something to say about that. 

The Oilers' historically great power-play unit showed up, with Leon Draisaitl scoring four goals himself. Like Pavelski and the Stars though, it still wasn’t enough. 

There was concern for the Golden Knights though with Jack Eichel reaggravating his back just before the game. However, not only was he on the ice, but he scored the final empty-net goal to close out Edmonton with a 6-4 win.

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