Now we come to the real elimination territory. In this instalment of the NHL playoffs we could have six teams eliminated in five games which is well over half the field. Who lives to play another day, and who books their ticket to the semi-finals? Time to find the winners and losers of game five.
Once again starting the new game stretch is the Dallas Stars and the Calgary Flames. The Stars tied the series in an overtime thriller as they scored the game tying goal with 11 seconds to go. Now looking to take their first lead of the series as they’d open the scoring shorthanded. Jamie Benn would draw first blood and put the Stars up 1-0 early. Calgary would tie the game late in the frame however as Mikael Backlund would beat Anton Khudobin to make it 1-1 after one.
The second period would be scoreless so it came down to the third to decide who’d take the series lead. There was indeed one goal scored in the frame and it came from John Klingberg just a minute into the period to make it a 2-1 Dallas final. This would give Dallas their first series lead at 3-2 and they can close out the series in six.
The first elimination game of the game fives this stretch was the Vegas Golden Knights and the Chicago Blackhawks. Chicago fought hard and stayed alive in game four off a 48 save performance from Corey Crawford who’d look to do the same in game five. Things were looking very promising for the Hawks as Jonathan Toews would give them a 1-0 lead less than a minute into the period. Then Just a minute later Alex DeBrincat would beat his old teammate Robin Lehner to make it 2-0 Chicago. Vegas would settle down and get one back late in the period as Max Pacioretty would get the Knights within one to end the first at 2-1.
Then less than a minute into the second Mark Stone would tie the game at 2-2. The tie was short lived as Patrick Kane would restore the Hawks lead with a goal to make it 3-2. However a Vegas powerplay would get the game tied again off the stick of Alec Martinez to make it 3-3 after two. The final goal came early in the third as Alex Tuch would give Vegas a 4-3 lead and eventual game winner. With that the Vegas Golden Knights would be the first team to advance to the second round of the 2020 NHL playoffs with a 4-1 series win.
The next elimination game would be out east where the Tampa Bay Lightning looked to exorcise the demons of last year in the Columbus Blue Jackets. They could do it with a win here and they got off to a good start. Tyler Johnson would open the score for the Bolts to make it 1-0 early. This quickly turned into 2-0 as Blake Coleman would add to the lead a minute later. The Jackets captain Nick Foligno would bring them within a goal as he’d make it 2-1 after one. The second period was all Jackets as Kevin Stenlund would tie the game on the powerplay making it 2-2. Then before the frame ended Alexander Wennberg would give Columbus the lead at 3-2 after two.
Tampa would come roaring back in the third period though. After Oliver Bjorkstrand beat Andrei Vasilevskiy to make it 4-2, the comeback was on. First was Kevin Shattenkirk who’d cut the deficit to 4-3. Then Anthony Cirelli would tie the game at 4-4 to send it to another overtime. Guess lighting does strike twice because the hero of game one Brayden Point would get the winner here as well. Off a sloppy turnover the Lighning forwar beat Joonis Korpisalo to end the game 5-4 and the series 4-1.
Yet another elimination game as the Boston Bruins could eliminate the Carolina Hurricanes with a win here. Carolina continuing to rotate the goalies as Petr Mrazek would get the start again, and much like game four they got off to a good start. The only goal in the first period came from Hayden Fleury as his shot beat Jaroslav Halak to make it 1-0 Canes after one.
That’s where the good news ended for Carolina though as that’s the only goal they’d score. Boston on the other hand scored two in the second, and that was all they needed. First one came from David Krejci to make it 1-1. Then in the dying seconds Patrice Bergeron would score a powerplay marker to make it 2-1 Bruins. With that the series was done at 4-1 and the Boston Bruins repeat last years meeting with the Hurricenes by beating them handily.
Yes you’re reading that right it’s not a typo from game four. It was do or die for the Arizona Coyotes and the Colorado Avalanche turned the die aspect into a slaughter. The first two Avs goals came on the powerplay as Nazem Kadri and Samuel Girard made it 2-0 Avs. Then Kadri would double dip and score his second of the period to make it 3-0 Colorado after one.
Colorado was far from done there as they’d pick up right where they left off in the second period. Superstar Nathan MacKinnon would score two goals less than a minute apart to make it 5-0 Avalanche. Things went from bad to worse for Arizona as Nikita Zadorov would make it 6-0 after two. Arizona would get one goal from Clayton Keller to make it 6-1. J.T. Compher would then cap off the game with the converted touchdown to make it a 7-1 final. In rather emphatic fashion Colorado would take the series 4-1.
Another bottom seed team looking to stay alive in these playoffs was the Montreal Canadiens. Standing in their way were the Philadelphia Flyers who just shut them out in back-to-back games. Things started well for Montreal though as Joel Armia would finally score on Carter Hart shorthanded to make it 1-0 Habs after one. The second really opened up as Jakub Voracek would score back-to-back powerplay goals to vault the Flyers to a 2-1 lead. Armia would tie the game with his second to make it 2-2. Then Brendan Gallagher would get his first of the series on the powerplay to make it 3-2 Habs after two.
After Montreal had a goal called back the deadly Flyers would stike again to give Philly a 3-3 tie courtesy of Joel Farabee. About 30 seconds later Nick Suzuki would re-take the Canadiens lead to make it 4-3. Carey Price shut the door as Philip Danault would put home the empty netter to end the game 5-3 Montreal. With that win the Canadiens stay alive to force game six with the series at 3-2 Philly.
The other series where no winner could be crowned yet was the St. Louis Blues and the Vancouver Canucks. Both teams have taken the “away” games this series so this trend favours Vancouver. It seemed that way at the beginning as Tyler Motte got arguably the goal of the playoffs shorthanded to make it 1-0 Canucks. The Blues would answer though as Brayden Schenn would tie the game at 1-1. Then Ryan O’Reilly would give the Blues the lead before the periods end giving St. Louis a 2-1 lead after one.
A blues powerplay in the second would give them a two-goal lead as Zach Sanford would make it 3-1 on the powerplay. J.T. Miller would cut into the lead with a Canuck goal to make it 3-2. Then Jake Virtanen would beat Jake Allen with a sharp angle goal to tie the game at 3-3. Tyler Motte would strike again before the end of the second to make it 4-3 Vancouver. Thanks to the heroics of Canucks goalie Jacob Marksrom they held on to win the game 4-3 and take a 3-2 series lead.
The final game five of these playoffs was the Washington Capitals trying to stay alive against the New York Islanders. They did it in game four but despite the return of Nick Backstrom the Capitals were flat as year old soda. Anthony Beauvillier would get a powerplay goal to make it 1-0 Isles after one. Beauvillier would strike once more in the second beating Brayden Holtby to make it 2-0 New York after two.
The desperation of the Caps died as their chances did and the Islanders didn’t stop in the third. Two empty net goals from Nick Leddy and Josh Bailey would end the game at 4-0 and the Capitals with it. Semyon Varlamov picked up the shutout as the Islanders win the series 4-1.
Only three series remain! Which of the remaining teams are going to win? Who could pull off the comeback? Let us know in the comments below.