The 2013 NHL playoffs have provided hockey fans with some truly memorable moments, and we are only halfway through the second round.
As of May 21, 20 games have gone into overtime, and there were an NHL-record 17 games that needed bonus hockey in the first round.
The majority of the series played have been competitive, which is great for everyone. Five of the eight opening-round matchups went six or seven games, and five of the eight teams that made the conference semifinals upset a higher-seeded opponent in Round 1.
Let's look at a complete timeline of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs thus far.
April 30: OT Heroics and a Goalie Gaffe Highlight Opening Day of 2013 Playoffs
The Minnesota Wild had to make a goalie switch before Game 1 of their first-round series with the Chicago Blackhawks when Niklas Backstrom picked up an injury in warm-ups. Backup netminder Josh Harding started in net and gave the team one of its best goaltending performances of the season.
Unfortunately for Harding and the Wild, they lost in overtime when Bryan Bickell scored to give Chicago a 1-0 series lead.
Goaltending was also the main story in Game 1 of the Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues' first-round series. After playing magnificently in regulation, Kings netminder Jonathan Quick cost his team the game when he tried to play the puck behind his net in overtime and turned it over to Blues forward Alexander Steen, who scored on an open net. It was a frustrating start to the Kings' Stanley Cup defense.
May 2: Huge Hit Sparks Suspension Debate, Red Wings Almost Blow Big Lead
The Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens were the last teams to start their first-round series, and it didn't take long for controversy to erupt.
In the second period, Senators defenseman Eric Gryba got a major penalty for interference and an ejection for a scary hit on Canadiens center Lars Eller, who had to be stretchered off the ice and taken to a hospital.
A fierce debate on whether the hit from Gryba was clean dominated NHL discussions after that game, and the league ended up suspending the Ottawa blueliner for two games.
Out west, the Detroit Red Wings appeared to have Game 2 of their series with the Anaheim Ducks wrapped up with a 4-1 lead in the third period. But the Ducks fought back to force overtime, where the Red Wings would earn a much-needed split in Anaheim thanks to the first playoff goal of rookie forward Damien Brunner's career.
May 3: Sidney Crosby Returns to Penguins in Losing Effort
Sidney Crosby's return to the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup after missing 13 games with a broken jaw was a success from an individual standpoint, as the world's best player scored two goals in the first period. To protect his jaw from further injury, No. 87 wore a special helmet with a protective shield.
Dana Heinze @RealDanaHeinze
#87 Crosby Helmet. http://t.co/sliZTprV0o5/3/2013, 9:09:36 PM
However, it was the New York Islanders who would steal the show with a 4-3 comeback victory to shock Penguins fans at Consol Energy Center and even the series.
May 5: Senators and Canadiens Line Brawl Ends One-Sided Affair
The Montreal Canadiens embarrassed themselves with some of their antics in the third period of Game 3 in Ottawa by firing pucks at opposing players from behind, slashing players for no reason and intentionally elbowing guys in the head.
The result of these classless actions was a full-scale line brawl at the end of the game in which the Senators won each individual fight. To make matters even more comical, Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean called a timeout with 17 seconds left with his team up 6-1, which Montreal bench boss Michel Therrien was not too happy about, via Dave Stubbs of The Montreal Gazette:
Dave Stubbs @Dave_Stubbs
#Habs Therrien: "As far as I'm concerned, it was classless" talking about timeout5/6/2013, 2:17:16 AM
May 7: Sharks Complete Sweep of Canucks, Islanders Put Scare into Penguins
The San Jose Sharks became the only team to reach the second round with a sweep when they beat the Vancouver Canucks in overtime of Game 4 at HP Pavilion. The Sharks were led by their top forwards against the Canucks with Logan Couture, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski combining for 27 points.
The Islanders evened their series versus the Penguins at two games apiece with a 6-4 victory at Nassau Coliseum. Pittsburgh's starting goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury, let in a few soft goals and sparked a goalie controversy with his third poor performance in four games against New York.
May 8: Overtime Thrillers Provide Hockey Fans with Great Excitement
Three of the four matchups on the schedule for May 8 went into overtime, including a thriller in Toronto between the Leafs and the Boston Bruins. After falling behind 2-0 in the first period, the Bruins battled back to tie the game. The two teams went to overtime after regulation ended with a 3-3 score, where Boston forward David Krejci completed a hat trick to win the game and give the Bruins a commanding 3-1 series lead.
The Kings took a 3-2 series lead with a goal from defenseman Slava Voynov in overtime to beat the Blues on the road in Game 5, while the Ducks also earned a 3-2 advantage with an overtime victory over the Red Wings thanks to a goal from a Nick Bonino.
May 9: Penguins Bench Star Goalie, Two Teams Clinch Second-Round Berths
Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma started veteran backup Tomas Vokoun in net for Game 5 of his team's series with the Islanders after Fleury gave up 14 goals in three games after a shutout in Game 1. Vokoun responded with a shutout (the first of his playoff career) to help the Penguins take a 3-2 series lead.
The Senators and Blackhawks also secured a berth into the second round with victories in their Game 5s. Ottawa's series win was the team's first since it reached the 2007 Stanley Cup Final, and Chicago's victory ended its streak of two consecutive first-round exits.
Bucci Mane @Buccigross
Senators outscore Canadiens 13-0 in 3rd period/OT- largest shutout disparity for 3rd period/OT in single series in Playoff history #elias5/10/2013, 2:18:39 AM
May 10: Kings' Stanley Cup Defense Continues, Red Wings Force a Game 7 in OT
The Kings eliminated the Blues from the playoffs with their fourth straight win of the series to become the first defending Stanley Cup champion to reach the second round since the 2009 Detroit Red Wings.
Speaking of the Red Wings, they forced a Game 7 in their series against the Ducks when captain Henrik Zetterberg sent Joe Louis Arena into a frenzy with an overtime-winning goal.
May 12: Two Teams Force Game 7, Red Wings Complete Upset
The Leafs and Rangers forced Game 7s with brilliant performances from their goaltenders. Toronto's James Reimer allowed just one goal with 29 saves to beat the Bruins in Game 6, while Henrik Lundqvist carried New York to a 1-0 victory over the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden.
The Red Wings became the second team seeded seventh or lower to reach the second round when they defeated the Ducks 3-2 in Game 7 on the road.
May 13: A Comeback for the Ages Highlights Great Night of Game 7s
The Bruins made history in their Game 7 against the Leafs by overcoming a 4-1 third-period deficit, including two goals in the final two minutes.
In overtime, Boston forward Patrice Bergeron, who also scored the tying goal in regulation, scored on a rebound to send the Bruins to the second round for the fourth time in the last five years.
ESPN Stats & Info provided some great stats on Boston's legendary comeback:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Via @EliasSports Bruins are 1st team in NHL history to win a Game 7 after trailing by 3 goals in the third period.5/14/2013, 2:31:58 AM
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Bruins: tied for most Game 7 overtime wins with Red Wings (4)5/14/2013, 2:18:00 AM
The other game on the night was a Game 7 between the Rangers and Capitals, which New York won 5-0 with a dominating performance. Lundqvist became the first goaltender in over a decade to pitch back-to-back shutouts in a Game 6 and Game 7, via ESPN Stats & Info:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Via @EliasSports Henrik Lundqvist: 1st goalie to post shutouts in Game 6 and 7 of playoff series since Dominik Hasek for Red Wings in 20025/14/2013, 2:40:23 AM
Here is a great graphic of some notable first-round stats, via TSN:
Mike Kelly @MikeKellyNHL
Your Round 1 stats.... http://t.co/P01BSbIob85/15/2013, 12:18:38 AM
May 16: More OT Magic in Boston, Kings Complete Remarkable Comeback
The Bruins improved their overtime record in this year's playoffs to 3-0 with a 3-2 victory over the Rangers to take the series opener. Brad Marchand scored the game-winner for Boston, which was his first goal of the postseason and just his second in the last 15 playoff games.
The story of the game was the impressive performances of the Bruins' three rookie defensemen (Torey Krug, Dougie Hamilton and Matt Bartkowski). Krug's first career NHL goal tied things up at 2-2 in the third period.
Jeremy Lundblad @JLundbladESPN
Torey Krug (5'9") is the shortest defenseman to score a goal for the Bruins in 27 years (Mike O'Connell)5/17/2013, 2:17:39 AM
The other game on the schedule featured the Kings and Sharks in Game 2 of their second-round series. Facing a 3-2 deficit with less than three minutes left in the final period, Los Angeles scored two goals (one from Dustin Brown and Trevor Lewis) to shock San Jose and take a 2-0 series lead.
May 18: Red Wings Even Series With Blackhawks, Sharks Avoid 0-3 Deficit
The Red Wings dominated the Blackhawks in Game 2 with a 4-1 win to become the first team to beat Chicago at the United Center in this year's playoffs.
In the late game, the Sharks defeated the Kings in overtime with a goal from superstar center Logan Couture. San Jose improved to 20-2-5 at home this year (including the postseason) with a Game 3 victory.
May 19: Bruins Dominate Rangers, Ottawa and Pittsburgh Play First 2OT Game
A third-period surge from Boston resulted in a 5-2 win over the Rangers in Sunday's Game 2 at TD Garden. It was one of the worst playoff performances of Lundqvist's career.
Arthur Staple @StapeNewsday
Last time Lundqvist allowed 5 goals in a playoff game: Apr. 26, 2009, G6 of ECQ vs. Caps.5/19/2013, 9:42:23 PM
Dan Rosen @drosennhl
Before Game 2, Lundqvist had gone 151 straight games without allowing five goals or more. The last time was a 5-2 loss at Anaheim on 3/9/11.5/20/2013, 3:40:42 PM
The second matchup of the day was Game 3 of the Penguins and Senators' second-round series. This was the first game of the 2013 playoffs to reach double overtime, where Colin Greening scored for Ottawa.
Stat via Ian Mendes of Sportsnet:
Ian Mendes @ian_mendes
Sens players to score a goal in each of the first 3 games of a playoff series: Havlat (2006 vs TB), Alfredsson (2007 vs BUF) & now Greening.5/21/2013, 7:03:20 PM
May 20: Detroit Rattles Chicago with Impressive Victory
The only game on Monday's schedule was Game 3 of the Red Wings and Blackhawks' second-round series. Detroit earned an impressive 3-1 victory over Chicago, which is now trailing in a series for the first time in this year's playoffs.
After Blackhawks star winger Patrick Kane scored on a breakaway in the third period to make the score 2-1 Detroit, the Red Wings extended their lead shortly after with a beautiful shot from Pavel Datsyuk. Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard stopped a late third-period surge from Chicago to pick up his sixth win of the playoffs with a 39-save performance.
The Blackhawks have now lost six of their last seven playoff games to the Red Wings.
Nicholas Goss is an NHL Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. Nick was a credentialed reporter at the 2011 Stanley Cup Final and 2012 NHL playoffs, and he is also a credentialed writer at the 2013 NHL playoffs in Boston.
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