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Playoff Buzz: Setting up second round

Early looks at four upcoming series, with Western Conference games starting first @NHLdotcom

Welcome to the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoff Buzz, your daily look at the stories impacting the 2016-17 postseason. The playoffs continued Sunday with two games. writers covering the playoffs will be checking in throughout the day to give you latest news Here is the playoff news for Monday:

6:11 p.m.

The Edmonton Oilers may return to the line combinations they used later in the regular season when they begin the Western Conference Second Round against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday at Honda Center (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports).

According to correspondent Derek Van Diest, the Oilers used the combination of center Connor McDavid, right wing Leon Draisaitl and left wing Patrick Maroonor their brief practice on Monday at Rogers Place.

Oilers coach Todd McLellan told reporters Monday not to read too much into a practice that lasted less than half an hour but did acknowledge he may return to that combination.

Playing mostly with McDavid and Draisaitl, Maroon had 42 points (27 goals, 15 assists) in 81 games. Maroon was moved to the third line during the First Round against the San Jose Sharks.

Draisaitl was not prominent early against the Sharks but he was an impact player by the time Edmonton won the series in six games.

The 21-year-old had no points in the first four games but had two key assists in Edmonton's 4-3 overtime win in Game 5 and scored the first goal of the game in their 3-1 win in Game 6.

Draisaitl finished eighth in NHL scoring during the regular season with 77 points (29 goals, 48 assists) in 82 games

"We're glad to have him and Connor on our team because they're both game-changers," forward Patrick Maroon said.

5:09 p.m.
Senators getting used to dealing with adversity

It's been a season unlike any other for the Ottawa Senators. They watched goaltender Craig Anderson deal with his wife's fight against throat cancer. Forward Clarke MacArthur returned from an 18-month battle with concussion issues.

And then star defenseman Erik Karlsson said he's been playing since March 28 with two hairline fractures in his left heel. He said that after he played 29:53 in Game 6 against the Bruins, and averaged an NHL-high 30:23 in six first-round games.

"The injury has healed over time, but he's not 100 percent," general manager Pierre Dorion said Monday, according to correspondent Chris Stevenson. "He won't be 100 percent probably until next September. The ability to play through pain and be as dominant as he has not being 100 percent says a lot about him."


4:24 p.m.
Good injury news for Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins were able to get past the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round without a few key pieces. They could be getting some reinforcements when the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Washington Capitals starts Thursday (7:30 p.m.; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Correspondent Wes Crosby reported that forward Chris Kunitz and defenseman Chad Ruhwedel were full participants at practice and coach Mike Sullivan said they will be game-time decisions for Game 1.

Also, forward Carl Hagelin skated on his own and there's a hope he could return at some point during the second round. 


2:11 p.m.
NHL releases schedule for second round

What will the second round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs have in store after 18 of 42 first-round games (42.9 percent) required overtime, setting a record for any round in the history of the playoffs?

Here's a look at the second-round schedule, which begins with two Western Conference games Wednesday. The St. Louis Blues host the Nashville Predators (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports), and the Anaheim Ducks host the Edmonton Oilers (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

The spotlight shines on the Eastern Conference on Thursday when the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins play at the Washington Capitals (7:30 p.m.; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports), and the New York Rangers are at the Ottawa Senators (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Here's an in-depth look at the top storylines in each second round series:

Capitals-Penguins preview

Senators-Rangers preview

Blues-Predators preview

Ducks-Oilers preview


10:33 a.m.
Senators, Capitals move on to second round

The Ottawa Senators and Washington Capitals each advanced to the Eastern Conference Second Round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs with overtime wins Sunday. They joined the Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins as first-round winners. Here's a look at what happened Sunday:

Ottawa Senators 3, Boston Bruins 2 (OT)

The Senators advanced to the second round for the seventh time and first since 2013 after Clarke MacArthur scored a power-play goal at 6:30 of overtime of Game 6 in Boston. The Senators, who will play the Rangers in the second round, won all three games in Boston during the series and went 5-0-0 this season at TD Garden. The Senators set franchise records with their third overtime win and fourth overtime game in a single series, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Washington Capitals 2, Toronto Maple Leafs 1 (OT)

The Capitals won their third overtime game of the first round after Marcus Johansson scored his second goal of the game at 6:31 of overtime of Game 6 in Toronto. The Capitals, who advanced to the second round for a third straight season, will play the Penguins. The Capitals and Maple Leafs required overtime in five of their six games, matching the single-series NHL postseason record set by the Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens in the 1951 Stanley Cup Final (Toronto won the series 4-1), and the Phoenix Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks in the 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinals (Phoenix won 4-2).


Here are some things we learned on Day 13 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

The Capitals are resilient

Maybe in past seasons the strange bounce off the glass that led to Auston Matthews' goal 7:45 into the third period, which gave the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead, would have been enough to make the Capitals start thinking about playing a Game 7 on Tuesday. Instead, the Capitals dug in and pushed back. Their sustained pressure led to Johansson's tying goal with 7:19 remaining in the third period and his game-winner in overtime, wrapping up the series in six games and sending them on to face the Penguins in the second round.

The Maple Leafs have a bright future

Ten players experienced the playoffs for the first time, and against the best regular-season team in the League they played six one-goal games, five in overtime. After scoring 40 goals in the regular season, Matthews scored four in the first round. Each time he was first among rookies and tied for second in the NHL. He, and the Maple Leafs, are the real deal.


Fighting to win

Earlier in the series against the Bruins, Senators coach Guy Boucher talked about his team playing not to lose instead of playing to win. And though it looked like the Senators were back to that in the third period in Game 6, it was ironed out by the overtime. That was when a focused and feisty Senators team came out and overwhelmed the Bruins, tilting the ice and creating a scenario where they seemed destined to win. They did. If that's the way they attack the Rangers in the second round that too could be a long series.


Not enough

The Bruins were commended by many of the Senators on Sunday for the way they played in the wake of all the injuries they sustained during the past couple of weeks. To play without three of their top four defensemen? Many other teams would have been swept out of the playoffs. But the Bruins weren't, and in making it to six games they proved their fight, even if they didn't have enough to combat the Senators in the end.

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