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2011 NHL Playoffs: 1st Round Update, 4/25

Western Conference

Nashville Predators 4, Anaheim Ducks 2 -- The Nashville Predators took a great step forward, winning the first series in franchise history and advancing to the Western Conference Semifinals. Their proven formula of strong defense and an elite goaltender in Pekka Rinne proved too much for the Ducks to overcome. Nick Spaling scored two goals for the Predators, his first two goals of the postseason. Rinne outdueled Ray Emery in the clincher, stopping 25 of 27 shots. The Vezina Award finalist's breakout season will continue for at least another series.

Nashville wins the series, 4-2.

Chicago Blackhawks 4, Vancouver Canucks 3 (OT) -- The Blackhawks miracle comeback continued, as they defeated the Canucks for the third straight game and have fought their way back into this series. Rookie Ben Smith scored the game winning goal with four minutes left into overtime to force an unlikely Game Seven in Vancouver. High drama surrounded this game as Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo -- the victim of two straight blowouts -- was declared the backup to Cory Schneider to start the game. Luongo came into the game late in the third period and played well, but fell victim to the Smith goal amid chants of Lu-ongo at the United Center.

Series tied at 3-3.

Eastern Conference

Philadelphia Flyers 5, Buffalo Sabres 4 (OT) -- The Sabres failed to take advantage of their home crowd, surrendering an unlikely goal to Ville Leino 4:43 into the extra period, sending the series to a penultimate game in Philadelphia. The Flyers goalie carousel continued as Michael Leighton was pulled at the end of the first period after surrendering three goals of the first eight shots he faced, including two goals by Sabres forward Thomas Vanek who now has five goals in the series. Backup Brian Boucher saved the Flyers once again this series by stopping 24 25 shots he faced the remainder of the game. The two veteran goalies have been swapped in and out of the series, and yet the Flyers continue to survive. Sabres goalie Ryan Miller stopped 44 of 49 shots he faced, but couldn't stop the Leino rebound in overtime.

Series tied at 3-3.

Games To Watch Today

Pittsburgh Penguins at Tampa Bay Lightning, 7:00 p.m. EDT -- The Penguins were blown out on their home ice, but still maintain control of this series against a frustratingly inconsistent Lightning team that is loaded in offensive talent. Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis have been frustrated by the Penguins' physical play and the generally great goaltending of Marc-Andre Fleury. Momentum is on the side of the Penguins for now, but a Game Seven could be inevitable.

San Jose Sharks at Los Angeles Kings, 10:00 p.m. EDT -- Jonathan Quick made 51 saves to force a Game Six against the Sharks, and will need to steal two more games if the Kings want to advance against the heavily favored Sharks. This series has been hard-hitting, fast, and exciting. Hopefully,with any luck for hockey fans everywhere, the two teams can allow for a Game Seven.