Chicago and Ottawa booked their places in the second round of the NHL playoffs by completing 4-1 series victories over Minnesota and Montreal respectively on Thursday.
Chicago’s Marian Hossa scored twice as the Blackhawks beat the Minnesota Wild 5-1, while Craig Anderson made 33 saves to help the Ottawa Senators thrash the Montreal Canadiens 6-1.
Also on Thursday, Pittsburgh goalie Tomas Vokoun was unpassable as the Penguins beat the New York Islanders 4-0 to go 3-2 up in their series.
Chicago reached the second round of the post-season for the first time since their championship run in 2010 and will face either the San Jose Sharks or Detroit, if the Red Wings get past Anaheim.
The way the Blackhawks have dominated, anything less than a trip to the Stanley Cup finals would be a disappointment for them.
They got off to a record start and captured the Presidents’ Trophy for finishing with more points than any other team.
Ottawa’s Cory Conacher scored twice to lead the Senators to a comfortable win over Montreal and into the second round of playoffs for the first time in six years.
The victory gives Ottawa time to rest and heal their bruises from the physical series before the conference semi-finals begin next week.
Zack Smith, Kyle Turris, Daniel Alfredsson and Erik Condra also scored for the Senators, who were the underdogs for the series as No. 7 seeds, but were bolstered by the return of top players on defense Erik Karlsson and Jared Cowan.
P.K. Subban scored for injury-struck Montreal.
Pittsburgh goaltender Tomas Vokoun stopped 31 shots in his first playoff start in six years to lead the Penguins to victory over the Islanders.
Sidney Crosby, Tyler Kennedy and Douglas Murray scored during a seven-minute stretch in the second period, while Kris Letang added a power-play goal in the third as Pittsburgh moved a step closer to advancing to the second round.
Game 6 is today in New York.
Evgeni Nabokov made 23 saves for the Islanders, but also gave up breakaway goals to Crosby and Kennedy, before botching a lazy wrist-shot from Murray.
Vokoun was thrust into the lineup after Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma benched Marc-Andre Fleury.