By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor
Four teams are left in the quest for the Cup. Through two games in the Conference Finals, one team is halfway to earning a spot in the Stanley Cup Final, while the other series is even through two games.
The Boston Bruins have vaulted to a 2-0 series lead with a pair of wins at home on the wildcard Carolina Hurricanes. The San Jose Sharks took the first game of the Western Conference Final, but the St. Louis Blues bounced back in Game 2 to even the series.
Here is a closer look at the first two games of each series.
The Bruins wasted little time getting on the board in Game 1 with Steven Kampfer scoring his first playoff goal at 2:55 of the first period. Carolina really dictated play from there through the remainder of the first and throughout the second period. Just three seconds into a power play, Sebastian Aho scored on a deflection at 3:42 of the first period to tie the game quickly after Kampfer's goal.
Midway through the second, Greg McKegg scored his second of the playoffs to put Carolina in front.
But all of the momentum shifted Boston's way in Game 1 with multiple power plays in the third. Marcus Johansson tied the game at two with a power-play goal at 2:26. Back on the power play just 28 seconds later, Patrice Bergeron scored to give Boston the lead.
Carolina failed to find the equalizer and Charlie Coyle scored into an empty net with 2:13 to play, icing the game. To make matters worse, Boston struck again just 11 seconds later with Chris Wagner scoring on a breakaway to cap the 5-2 decision.
Game 2 was not nearly as close. Boston finally broke through for the first goal of the game at 15:22 with Matt Grzelcyk getting the goal. With 1:28 left in the period, Jake DeBrusk scored on a rebound on the power play to make it 2-0.
Connor Clifton scored his first NHL goal at 3:46 of the second and the rout was on from there. Grzelcyk added a second goal on the power play with 2:04 left in the second. David Backes scored 1:10 into the third to make it 5-0. Danton Heinen scored at 4:32 to make it 6-0. Carolina got a pair of goals from Justin Williams and Teuvo Teravainen late in the period, but the damage had been done in Boston and the Bruins were off to a 2-0 series lead.
The series now shifts back to Carolina for Game 3 on Tuesday night.
San Jose-St. Louis
The Western Conference Final started with a wild Game 1 that featured nine goals. San Jose got off to a good start with a goal by Logan Couture at 3:31. Joel Edmundson tied the game at 9:13, but San Jose answered back on the power play at 11:24 with Joe Pavelski batting in a rebound.
Kevin Labanc padded the lead at 7:41 of the second for San Jose, but St. Louis closed the gap with a goal by Ryan O'Reilly just 1:17 later. Again, the Sharks got some added insurance on a spectacular goal by Timo Meier at 10:24 to make it 4-2. Meier struck again at 17:34 of the second to make it 5-2.
Tyler Bozak pulled St. Louis closer with a goal at 13:01 of the third, but the Sharks iced the game with an empty-net goal by Couture with 2:21 remaining.
St. Louis got the first goal of Game 2 early with Jaden Schwartz scoring at 2:34. Vince Dunn added a goal at 4:16 of the second to give the Blues a 2-0 lead.
The Sharks turned things back in their favor quickly as Couture took over. Couture scored shorthanded at 4:55 to cut the lead to one, then tied the game 1:59 later.
Late in the second, the Blues regained the lead with a goal on the backhand by Robert Bortuzzo with 3:26 remaining in the second. The one-goal lead held up until late in the third when Oskar Sundqvist beat Martin Jones with 3:08 remaining. With the 4-2 win, the Blues were able to send the series back to St. Louis tied 1-1.
Game 3 of the Western Conference Final will be on Wednesday night.