Hurricanes 1, Devils 0
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Ron Francis scored a power-play goal in the second period and the Carolina Hurricanes ended 16 years of playoff frustration, eliminating the two-time defending Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Devils in their first-round series. Francis, who played for Hartford when the Whalers-Hurricanes won their only series in 1986, put Carolina ahead in Game 6 on a second-period power play, and unlikely hero Kevin Weekes made 32 saves as Carolina advanced to the second round for only the second time. The series win was only the second in franchise history, and it snapped a streak of nine straight series losses. The only other series the franchise won was a three-game sweep of Quebec. The victory also avenged a first-round loss last season to New Jersey, which also won that series in six games. This was an embarrassing exit for the Devils, who won the Stanley Cup in 2000 and came within a game of repeating last season, losing in Game 7 to Colorado. Goaltenders Arturs Irbe and Kevin Weekes were the difference in the series. Irbe stopped 64 of 66 shots in posting 2-1 wins in the opening two games of the series. After Irbe faltered in Games 3 and 4 in New Jersey, Carolina coach Paul Maurice made the gutsy decision to go to Weekes, a 27-year-old who had never started an NHL playoff game. Weekes was phenomenal, stopping 72 of 74 shots in the final two games.
Red Wings 6, Canucks 4
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Nicklas Lidstrom and Brett Hull scored shorthanded goals 30 seconds apart in the second period as the Detroit Red Wings eliminated the Canucks. Vancouver had rallied from an early 2-0 deficit in the first period and was on the power play looking for its first lead since Game 2. But Detroit's Kris Draper snared the puck and went hard to the net on a shorthanded rush. He was stopped, but he collided with goalie Peter Skudra and Lidstrom wired home the loose puck with the goalie still lying on the ice. The Canucks argued vehemently, but to no avail, and by the time they settled down, Chris Chelios had sprung Hull on a shorthanded breakaway. Hull patiently waited for Skudra to go down and snapped in his first goal of the series from a sharp angle for a 4-2 Detroit lead. Hull, who had been playing solid defense throughout the series, added the eventual game-winner on a power play late in the second period as the Red Wings completed their comeback from a 2-0 series deficit and avoided a Game 7 back home in Detroit on Monday.
Canadiens 2, Bruins 1
BOSTON -- The Montreal Canadiens paid back the Boston Bruins the best way possible. Feisty forward Bill Lindsay scored his first playoff goal in almost six years, and Jose Theodore stopped 43 shots as Montreal beat Boston to take a 3-2 lead in their first-round playoff series. Montreal moved within a game of advancing to the second round on the day that Canadiens forward Richard Zednik was released from the hospital -- and Bruins defenseman Kyle McLaren had a disciplinary hearing with the NHL for the hit that put him there. Boston, which finished the regular season with the best record in the Eastern Conference, needs a win Monday in Game 6 in Montreal to force a deciding seventh game. Oleg Petrov also scored for the Canadiens, who took just 13 shots as they opened a 2-0 lead in the first period and guarded it for the rest of the game. Lindsay had five goals and 140 penalty minutes in the regular season for Montreal and Florida, which waived him a month ago. Byron Dafoe stopped just 11 shots for Boston.
Kings 3, Avalanche 1
LOS ANGELES -- Felix Potvin made sure the Los Angeles got to a Game 7 against Colorado -- again. Potvin made 23 saves as the Kings evened the first-round series at three games apiece, with the deciding contest set for Monday in Denver. The win mirrored the Kings' playoff comeback of last year, when they also fell behind Colorado 3-1 in their second round series before winning two straight. The Avalanche then won the deciding game 5-1. In Saturday's Game 6, the Avalanche played without Peter Forsberg, a late scratch because of a leg injury sustained in the previous game. Jason Allison scored just 1:21 into Game 6, his third goal of the series, and Brad Chartrand gave Los Angeles a 2-0 lead at the 6:44 mark with the first playoff goal of his career. Brian Smolinski built the Kings' advantage to 3-0 at 6:19 of the second period with his second goal of the series, as the Kings scored three times on their first 10 shots against Patrick Roy. Roy finished with 17 saves.
-- Associated Press