As the Toronto Maple Leafs find a way to lose another first-round series against the Montreal Canadiens, here’s what we know. The following former UND hockey players are moving on to the second-round Stanley Cup Playoffs. By the end of tomorrow night, we’ll know if assistant coach Dave Hakstol’s Toronto Maples Leafs are moving on to the second round or going home. The rest has been solidified.
Here’s what we know.
Jets vs. Oilers
The Winnipeg Jets defeated the Edmonton Oilers in quick fashion 4-0. Contributing to the Jets series victory were two former UND defensemen Derek Forbort, and Tucker Poolman. As I mentioned earlier this month, the Jets lineup includes many former US college hockey players.
During the series against the Oilers former UND defenseman Poolman recorded (1g-1a—2pts), he was also a plus-four.
Also, during the series against the Oilers, former UND defenseman Forbort was held scoreless. The Jets await the winner of the Leafs and Canadiens series.
Bruins vs. Capitals
The Boston Bruins eliminated the Washington Capitals four games to one. Playing a major role for the Capitals in defeat, former UND All-American forward T.J. Oshie. The former Warroad High Star scored (1g-3a—4pts), he was also a minus-two. Oshie was one of the bright spots for the Capitals, they spent a majority of the series chasing the Bruins. Oshie finished tied with Alex Ovechkin for the Capitals scoring lead during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Was this Oshie’s last game in a Capitals uniform? Some have speculated that he could be a candidate for the expansion team the Seattle Kraken. Oshie has said that he wants to remain a Capital.
“I signed an eight-year deal here because this is where I wanted to spend the rest of my career and retire here,” Oshie told NBC Sports.
Penguins vs. Islanders
The New York Islanders defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins four games to two. Islander forwards, former UND hockey players Brock Nelson and Travis Zajac played a significant role in the series against the Penguins.
Since Joining the Islanders at the trade deadline, Zajac has been scratched nine times. He also hadn’t played in a game since May 8, 2021, but when Islanders forward Oliver Wahlstrom was unable to go in game six, Zajac entered the lineup. In his first game back, he assisted on the Islanders fourth goal.
Nelson had a prolific role in the Islanders series victory over the Penguins. In the series-clinching game, Nelson had two goals and an assist. In six games against the Penguins, Nelson had (3g-3a—6pts). You can see Nelson’s contribution in game six against the Penguins in the embedded video below.
The Islanders second round opponent, the Boston Bruins. Last night, the Islanders lost the series-opening game 5-2 to the Bruins. In game one against the Bruins, Nelson didn’t record any points and was a minus-two. Also, in game one against the Bruins, Zajac played 16:13 minutes, but didn’t record any points.
It was a night to remember at @tdgarden.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) May 30, 2021
Panthers vs. Lightning
The defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning prevailed in their first-round series against the Florida Panthers four games to two.
Former UND defenseman Matt Kiersted did not play in any games for the Panthers.
Hurricanes vs. Predators
The Nashville Predators were eliminated by the Carolina Hurricanes four games to two. Former UND forward Rocco Grimaldi did not play in any of the games for the Predators. Down the stretch, Grimaldi was a healthy scratch.
Rocco Grimaldi sat for the Carolina series as well. Many times, we’ve seen Grimaldi and his Energizer Bunny-like work ethic spark the team when they needed a little extra motivation. It was a bit of a head-scratcher to see the player tied for the fourth-most goals on the team sit in a playoff series where Nashville needed all the goals it could get. Perhaps Grimaldi could be of more use to another team.
Speculation time: has Grimaldi’s time in Nashville come to an end? Will he end up in Seattle as a member of the Kraken? Only time will tell.
Avalanche vs. Blues
The Colorado Avalanche destroyed the St. Louis Blues. In their four-game series against the Blues, the Avalanche outscored them 20-6.
Former UND forward Tyson Jost had (1g-1a—2pts), and was a plus-one. In four games against the Blues, Jost averaged 14:16 minutes of ice time.
As expected, former UND forward Austin Poganski did not dress in any games for the Blues.
With the series win against the Blues, Jost and the Avalanche move on to the second round and will face the Golden Knights. According to the hockey pundits, the Avalanche are heavily favored to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup. I think we should let the playoff unfold first. There’s a good chance an eastern team could win the Stanley Cup.
Golden Knights vs. Wild
The Las Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Minnesota Wild four games to three. It was a hard-fought series for the Wild, but in the end, the Golden Knights depth wore down the Wild. The Wild have not advanced past the first round since the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs and are becoming hockey’s version of the pinnacle of mediocrity. A reoccurring joke.
Former UND All-American Forward Zach Parise was a healthy scratch in three of the final four regular-season games for the Wild. He also sat out the first three games of the series against the Golden Knights. When oft-injured forward Marcus Johansson went down in game three, Parise was inserted in the lineup and made an immediate impact. In the final four games of the series, Parise scored (2g-1a—3pts). Parise ended the playoffs tied for the points lead with seven other Wild players.
Was this Parise’s final game for the Wild? Only time will tell.
“I think that conversation is going to be for a different day,” Parise said. “We’ll see where it goes. I don’t know. I don’t know. We’ll have to figure that out in the coming summer what’s going to happen, but I really don’t have an answer on that right now.
“I mean, I’ve got four years left in my deal. That’s, I guess, not really up to me at the time. But right now, just disappointed in the outcome of the game.”
Former UND forward Luke Johnson was on the Wilds roster but didn’t make an appearance during the 2021 playoffs.