Day 15 of the Stanley Cup playoffs delivered all the drama and intensity hockey fans had hoped for on a night of two Game 7s. The Rangers eliminating the Senators in a nail-biter and the Devils' double-overtime win in Florida headlined the last day of the first round.
Here are five NHL stories from Thursday:
1. A wild Game 7 between New York and Ottawa left the hockey world wondering: "What if the Senators had thrown the kitchen sink at the Rangers?" The eighth-place Sens gave everything they had against the first-place Blueshirts in a losing effort. But after a surprising season amid a team rebuilding effort, Senators fans had no regrets and were confident they would soon have the last laugh.
2. The Panthers-Devils series finale opened with a bloody, face-on-face collision between Florida teammates. Then children at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla., got to stay up past their bedtime as Game 7 went into double overtime. But Calder Trophy finalist Adam Henrique was kind enough to end things early on a school night, scoring the winner at 3:47 to send the Devils to a second-round meeting with the Flyers.
3. Washington Capitals forward Joel Ward shrugged off the racist comments that appeared on Twitter after his overtime goal eliminated the Boston Bruins in Game 7 on Wednesday. The Bruins organization apologized for the tweets posted by those who identified themselves as fans of the defending Stanley Cup champs.
4. The Rangers took away the Senators' Cup hopes, but they can't take away Erik Karlsson's inevitable Vegas shenanigans at the NHL Awards this June — oh, and his nomination for some individual hardware.
5. Who knows where Roberto Luongo will end up next season? This week's CBCSports.ca Podcast speculates on some possible landing places, while Hockey Night in Canada Radio's Gord Stellick says the Canucks goalie took the "noble" approach in making his intentions clear. But one thing is for sure: If Bobby Lou does decide to leave Van City, Grapes will have his back.
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