This article contains opinion. All stats current as of April 18.
I’m sure I don’t sit alone with this comment, but my bracket is officially busted.
The Tampa Bay Lightning, winners of 62 games in the regular season, were basically swept of their skates, and swept out of the playoffs, by a Columbus team that barely made the postseason.
The Blue Jackets won their first playoff series in franchise history against the best team in the league, and they did it in the minimum of four games.
Going all in at the end of the season seemed to help the Jackets and coach John Tortorella when it really mattered.
The Lightning managed to score only eight goals in the series against Columbus’ netminder Sergei Bobrovsky.
The final score of game four was 7-4 after the Blue Jackets managed to score three empty net goals.
The Lightning put out a somber statement on Twitter following the game, saying in part “this isn’t the ending we imagined, and certainly not the one we wanted.”
Game four brought the best out of Columbus, and they were the first team to push into the second round.
Elsewhere in an Eastern Conference game four was a make-it-or-break-it moment for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who hoped to rescue their season, down 3-0 to the New York Islanders.
Jake Guentzel scored quickly in the first period, but it was a deja vu moment when the Islanders’ Jordan Eberle scored moments after the Penguins got the first goal.
In the last three games of the series, the Penguins would find themselves down to the Islanders and end up losing each game regardless of having scored the first goal.
New York swept the Penguins and, therefore, became the second team to claim a spot for the second round.
Over in the Western Conference, there wasn’t much in terms of scoring in game four played by the Winnipeg Jets and St. Louis Blues, but sometimes the low-scoring affairs create a more intense atmosphere.
Prior to the loss in game four, Blues goaltender Jake Binnington had never lost back-to-back games. Regardless of that, the game remained scoreless until the third period.
The first goal of the game came from St. Louis’ Vladimir Tarasenko on a power play goal. Later in the period, Mark Scheifele evened the score for the Jets, and Kyle Connor scored the game-winning goal in overtime. The series is now headed back to Winnipeg with a series tied 2-2 and neither team having yet won a game at home.
Moving back out East, Boston bounced back from its game three loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, scoring six goals against its playoff rival. They scored two goals each period, taking an early lead scoring the first two in the first seven minutes of the period.
David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand helped the Bruins claim victory in Scotiabank Arena, and now, they head back to Boston with a rising momentum and a tied series, but the back-and-forth games could result in this series going all the way.
Back in the wild West, where the Dallas Stars bounced back hard after the Nashville Predators won two games in a row. They managed to put four goals past Pekka Rinne and forced Nashville to make a goalie change to Juuse Saros in the first period.
Three of the four goals scored were power play goals, and Ben Bishop and the Stars nearly shut them out. But Roman Josi managed to sneak one past Bishop early in the third.
The final score was 5-1 Dallas, making this the third series that’s even at 2.
After a Calgary win in game one, the Colorado Avalanche have managed to go on a three-game winning streak against the Flames, but that’s not to say Calgary wasn’t putting up a fight in its game four loss.
The Flames scored a goal in the second and added another in the third, but when it looked like they had the win in the bag, Colorado scored two in the third and the game winner in OT.
The Avalanche now head back to Calgary to see if it can make game 5 its fourth and final win.
After the Sharks win in game one, they’ve had a tough time trying to get to that second win in an attempt to beat Vegas – the Golden Knights are also on a three-game winning streak.
The Knights made NHL history with their ability to score within the first 90 seconds in four consecutive postseason periods.
Marc-Andre Fleury recorded his eighth career playoff shutout.
Their star power is shining brightly in Vegas as they take a 3-1 lead against the Sharks.
More series could come to an end before the weekend ends, and that means we’re getting ever closer to the second round.