Rangers, Blues, Oilers reach second round NHL playoffs

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Mats Zuccarello (L) of the New York Rangers celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Montreal Canadiens, in Game Six of the Eastern Conference first round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, in New York, on April 22, 2017

Mats Zuccarello scored two goals on Saturday to spark the New York Rangers over the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 and advance into the second round of the National Hockey League playoffs.

The Rangers took the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series 4-2 over the Canadiens and will next face either the Boston Bruins or Ottawa Senators.

In the Western Conference, St. Louis left wing Magnus Paajarvi scored the winning goal 9:42 into over-time in a 4-3 triumph over the Minnesota Wild that advanced the Blues into the second round.

St. Louis, seeking a first-ever Stanley Cup title, won the series over the Wild 4-1 and will next face Nashville, which shockingly swept top-seeded Chicago in round one.

In a late Western Conference game, the Edmonton Oilers punched their ticket to the next round with a 4-2 series win over the San Jose Sharks. They beat the Sharks 3-1 Saturday and will face the Anaheim Ducks in the second round.

At New York, Alexei Emelin scored for Montreal 6:19 into the first period but Zuccarello answered on a power-play goal 2:26 into the second period to equalize.

Norwegian right wing Zuccarello scored again with 6:29 remaining in the second period to put the Rangers in front.

"It was a real similar, tight-checking series," Rangers forward Derek Stepan said. "There were some timely goals by us and I also thought there were some timely saves by (goaltender Henrik Lundqvist). It was small details that probably were the difference."

Montreal could not manage an equalizer, even after pulling the goaltender in the dying seconds for an extra attacker. That led to Derek Stepan's goal into the empty net with 18 seconds remaining for the final nail in the Canadiens' coffin.

- Wild force overtime -

At Minnesota, the Wild trailed and were minutes from elimination in regulation time but netted two third-period goals to force over-time.

Minnesota's Mikko Koivu, a 32-year-old Finnish centre, scored a power-play goal when he batted the puck out of the air and into the net to pull the Wild within 3-2 with 9:22 remaining in the third.

Jason Zucker scored the equalizer with 5:01 to play, the US left wing faking past Blues goaltender Jake Allen and sliding the puck in around him.

St. Louis right wing Vladimir Tarasenko opened the scoring 7:16 into the first period and Swede Alexander Steen stretched the Blues' lead with his second goal of the series just 3:15 later.

Defenceman Ryan Suter pulled the Wild within 2-1 on a power-play goal with only 89 seconds remaining in the opening period, but Paul Stastny gave the Blues a 3-1 edge with 12:37 remaining in the third.

In San Jose, Anton Slepyshev and Leon Draisaitl scored second period breakaway goals and Connor McDavid had an empty netter to give Edmonton a 3-1 win.

Edmonton goaltender Cam Talbot stopped 27 shots.

Sharks' captain Patrick Marleau scored with just under eight minutes left in the third period, but the Sharks failed to get the equalizer.