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Stanley Cup Playoffs Three Stars: Goodbye first round, we will always love you

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) greets Minnesota Wild goalie Ilya Bryzgalov (30) of Russia following Game 7 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series on Wednesday, April 30, 2014, in Denver. Minnesota won 5-4 to win the series
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Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) greets Minnesota Wild goalie Ilya Bryzgalov (30) of Russia following Game 7 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series on Wednesday, April 30, 2014, in Denver. Minnesota won 5-4 to win the series. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

No. 1 Star: Nino Niederreiter, Minnesota Wild

The Wild winger picked a hell of a time to figure out this whole "playoffs" thing. He scored his first postseason goal in the third period to tie up the game, and in overtime, he scored his second to give the Wild a 5-4 win and a 4-3 series win over the Colorado Avalanche

No. 2 Star: Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings

Kopitar had a point in every game of his team's series with the San Jose Sharks, and two points in the 5-1 win that closed out their historic comeback from down 0-3. He assisted on Dustin Brown's empty-net goal to seal the deal, and he scored one himself, which turned out to be the game-winner: 

No. 3 Star: Steve Mason, Philadelphia Flyers

He was beaten twice, and the losing goaltender in the New York Rangers' 2-1 Game 7 win, but anybody who watched this game knows the only reason it was this close is because Mason stood on his head. He was incredible, especially in the second period. He deserved a better fate.

Honorable mention: Mats Zuccarello's pass to Daniel Carcillo on the Rangers' first goal was pretty spiffy... Jared Spurgeon's late, game-tying goal is the stuff of high drama:

Did You Know? The first round of the playoffs were incredible. Absolutely incredible. That is all.

Dishonorable mention: The Avalanche had four leads versus the Wild... The San Jose Sharks. How could they let this happen? How? I don't know. They don't know. This gif from a heartbroken, world-weary Joe Thornton says it all. You can almost see his soul logging off.

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Joe Thornton is sad.

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