We have arrived at the first game that could see teams eliminated from these playoffs. The Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals are both on the bubble. Trying to knock them out are the Las Vegas Golden Knights and the New York Islanders and become the first teams to advance to the semi-finals.
Starting the playoffs series again was the Dallas Stars and the Calgary Flames. The Stars were looking to even up the series after getting shutout in game three, and they certainly started off well. For the first time in the series Dallas scored the first goal as Joel Pavelski put a powerplay marker past Cam Talbot to make it 1-0 after one. The Flames would tie it in period two with a powerplay of their own as Johnny Gaudreau would shovel the puck home on a scramble to make it 1-1. Pavelski would double dip though to give the Stars the lead back at 2-1. Another Flames powerplay would result in Sam Bennett tying the game up at 2-2. Bennett would then put the Flames up with his second goal of the game making it 3-2. Dallas would tie the game up before the period ended as Denis Gurianov pinned a powerplay one-timer past Talbot to make it 3-3 after two.
Shorthanded phenom Tobias Rieder would put home his third shorthanded goal of these playoffs to give Calgary a 4-3 lead. Then in the dying seconds period three would result in goal three for Pavelski as his hat-trick goal would send the game to overtime at 4-4. This would prove clutch as Alexander Radulov would deflect a John Klingberg shot and give Dallas a 5-4 win with Anton Khudobin getting his first win of the playoffs. This also makes it a tied series and we have a really good one going here.
The first game of these playoffs where a team could be eliminated as the Vegas Golden Knights try to knock off the Chicago Blackhawks. Vegas decided to go back with Robin Lehner against his old team, and he does have two wins against them these playoffs. Things didn’t start off well for him as Drake Caggiula would open the scoring for the Blackhawks for an early 1-0 lead. Shea Theodore would tie the game at 1-1 as he fired a shot past Corey Crawford. Matthew Highmore would restore the Hawks lead less than a minute later to make it 2-1 after one.
There was only one more goal this game and it came in the third period. Hawks forward Alex DeBrincat would get an insurance marker just 11 seconds to go in the game to make the final 3-1 Blackhawks. Now the series will continue at 3-1 Knights as they suffer their first loss of this post season.
The rematch of last years playoffs continues. The Tampa Bay Lightning are so far flipping the script on the Columbus Blue Jackets after last year where the Jackets swept the Presidents trophy winning Bolts. After a scoreless first the Bolts would draw first blood as Barclay Goodrow would score just 16 seconds into the frame for a 1-0 Tampa lead. The Jackets would respond in kind as Cam Atkinson would beat Andrei Vasilevskiy to make it 1-1.
The second wouldn’t finish without a leader and Yanni Gourde was happy to oblige. Gourde beat Joonis Korpisalo for the eventual game winner as Tampa would take game four by a score of 2-1. This gives the Bolts a commanding 3-1 series lead and puts Columbus on the bubble for elimination.
I don’t think anyone was prepared for the game that these two teams were about to have. Arguably the most heated game of these playoffs saw the Colorado Avalanche dominate the Arizona Coyotes. First on the scoreboard was Matt Nieto as he made it an early 1-0 Avs lead. Then Nazem Kadri would score two poweplay goals to make it 3-0 Colorado after one period of play.
The second period wasn’t kind on the Coyotes either. Even though they stsrted the period with a powerplay goal by Jakob Chychrun to make it 3-1, it was all downhill from there. Darcy Kuemper was pulled after Joonas Donskoi made it 4-1 after two. Antii Raantta was unable to make any difference as the Avs picked up where they left off. First Cale Makar made the defence look like pylons as he easily made it 5-1. Matt Calvert would then add to the lead to make it 6-1. Finally the bleeding would stop as Mikko Rantanen would put home a powerplay marker to make it a 7-1 final! Things got ugly as some dirty hits and scrums ensued which will make for a great game five with the Avs up 3-1.
Another Bruins vs Hurricanes game, another goalie change. James Reimer gets the start for the Canes in game four which means there’s been a different goalie duel in every game this series. The switch looked good early as Justin Williams gave the Hurricanes an early 1-0 lead after one. In the second period Jordan Martinook would make it 2-0 with just a period to go.
That’s when everything just went wrong for Carolina. The Bruins got on the board as Jake DeBrusk would capitalise on a gaff from Reimer to cut the lead to 2-1. Then Connor Clifton would tie the game at 2-2 shortly after. The goals didn’t stop as Brad Marchand would give Boston the lead making it 3-2. DeBrusk would get another goal as the Bruins were now up 4-2 and had a 15-0 shot lead in the third. Teuvo Teravainen would put the Canes back within one as he beat Jaroslav Halak on a weird bounce. It wasn’t enough though as the Bruins would win 4-3 and take a 3-1 series lead.
One of the great surprise series of these playoffs has to be the St. Louis Blues against the Vancouver Canucks. Two of the three games have gone to overtime and the Blues would go back to Jake Allen to start the game. It would be a powerplay goal by Ryan O’Reilly that would break the ice in game four making it 1-0 Blues after one.
Vancouver would tie the game 40 seconds into the second period as J.T. Miller would pot his fourth goal of these playoffs to make it 1-1. O’Reilly would double dip though to retake the Blues lead after two at 2-1. Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo would bury a powerplay marker past Jacob Markstrom to make it a 3-1 St. Louis final. This ties the series up at 2-2 and Allen picks up back-to-back wins.
Who’s ready for more playoffs history to be made? Of all the series this one has been a goalie duel as Carter Hart and Carey Price have a shutout each in just three games played. Montreal and Philadelphia have combined for nine goals in those three games and the trend would continue.
Michael Raffl would open the scoring for the Flyers in the first as he beat Price to make it 1-0 after one. The only other goal of the game was scored by Phileppe Myers in the second period to make it a 2-0 Flyers win. This makes Carter Hart the first rookie goalie to record back-to-back playoff shutouts since 1945! This all after he was pulled in game two after allowing four goals. Now he’s put his Flyers in a great spot with a 3-1 series lead.
The final game four of these playoffs was also a potential elimination game. The New York Islanders could knock off the Washington Capitals in a sweep with a win here. The way they started they looked like they’d do it. Jean-Gabriel Pageau would deflect an early goal past Brayden Hotlby for a 1-0 Isles lead. Then Mathew Barzal would add to the lead to make it 2-0 after one.
Washington would strike back early in the second period as Evgeny Kuznetsov would beat his countryman Semyon Varlamov to make it a 2-1 game. Then the captain Alexander Ovechkin would tie the game on the powerplay to make it 2-2 after two. Ovie would strike again as he’s make it 3-2 Caps in the third. This would prove to be the game winner as Washington survives another day with the series now 3-1.
There concludes another game in the NHL playoffs. Six teams are on the bubble for game five so we could see a lot of hand shakes coming up. Who’s gonna survive, and’s who’ll be eliminated? Let us know in th ecomments below.