The sigh of relief that burst out of Rogers Arena late Tuesday night could have been heard around the NHL.
It took overtime in Game 7, but the Vancouver Canucks finally made the Chicago Blackhawks former Stanley Cup champs when Alexandre Burrows scored 5:22 into overtime for a 2-1 victory in Game 7 of their opening-round series. The Canucks had blown a 3-0 series lead as the Hawks won Games 4, 5 and 6, then couldn't hang on to a 1-0 lead in the final two minutes of regulation, but Burrows' goal gave Vancouver at least a measure of revenge for losses to the Hawks in each of the last two playoff years. It also capped a record-setting eighth night in a row with at least one overtime game.
The Philadelphia Flyers are also headed to the second round after winning Game 7, though their 5-2 victory against Buffalo wasn't nearly as dramatic.
The last two first-round series, both in the East, will be decided tonight. Montreal visits Boston one night after sending the series to the limit with a 2-1 win at home, while Tampa Bay tries to complete a comeback from a 3-1 series deficit when it visits Pittsburgh. The pairings in the West are set, with Vancouver playing Nashville and San Jose taking on Detroit.
Here's your daily NHL.com Reading List for a set of quick links to some of the stories you won't want to miss:
What a ride for Burrows
Alexandre Burrows went from near-hero to near-goat to local icon in Vancouver, all in the space of about three hours. His first-period goal was in line to be the series-winner before Chicago tied the Canucks late in regulation, he gave the Hawks a chance to win by taking a penalty in OT -- but became the man of the hour by scoring the series winner in OT. Dan Rosen was there as Burrows talked with the media after the game.
Hawks come up a goal short
The Chicago Blackhawks are now officially ex-champs, but they didn't go quietly. Dhiren Mahiban writes about the disappointment in the locker room of last year's champions after their bid for a historic comeback victory against Vancouver came up a goal short.
Game 7 goes Boucher's way
Two days after being lifted following a dreadful first period in Buffalo, Brian Boucher was being mobbed by his teammates after Philadelphia's 5-2 win against the Sabres in Game 7. Mike Morreale notes that it was atonement of sorts for Boucher, who was the losing goalie in a Game 7 to New Jersey 11 years earlier.
Miller and Sabres come up short
The disappointment of losing a Game 7 was visible on Ryan Miller's face. As Mike Morreale notes, Miller's seven games against the Flyers included some tremendous highs (two 1-0 wins), but ended with an OT loss in Game 6 and a 5-2 defeat in Game 7.
No time to celebrate
Carey Price and his teammates skated off the ice as winners Tuesday night after beating Boston 2-1 in Game 6 of their series, but there was no time to celebrate -- not with Game 7 back in Boston on Wednesday. Arpon Basu has more.
Lightning ready for another elimination game
Coach Guy Boucher says the Tampa Bay Lightning aren't intimidated by playing Game 7 in Pittsburgh on Wednesday -- after all, reports Alan Robinson, Boucher and the Lightning have already survived a pair of elimination games.
Break time for Sharks
The San Jose Sharks' reward for eliminating the Los Angeles Kings in Game 6 on Monday was a chance to take a breather before the second round. Rick Sadowski reports that the Sharks were glad to get the break.