The Blues and Capitals have already been eliminated in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, while the Avalanche and Bruins are awaiting their next opponents.
In case there are other things you need to focus on other than the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the LA Kings not participating in them, don’t worry about it.
For the rest of the playoffs, we will be doing a quick recap here every week that will bring you everything you need to know to stay up the date.
Two teams have already been eliminated, and several more are on the brink. Here’s how the first round of the playoffs has been playing out across the NHL.
Colorado Avalanche VS St. Louis Blues
Ryan O’Reilly‘s bold prediction that his St. Louis Blues would upset the Presidents’ Trophy champion Colorado Avalanche in the first round didn’t age well. The Avalanche finished off the sweep with a 5-2 win on Sunday night. Colorado outscored St. Louis 20-7 in the series.
The Avs will march on without Nazem Kadri, though. Kadri was given an eight-game ban for this headshot on Justin Faulk in Game 2, the third time in the last four years that Kadri has been suspended during the playoffs.
Having already sat out the last two games of this series, Kadri is appealing the length of the suspension.
Vegas Golden Knights VS Minnesota Wild
Since the Minnesota Wild managed to pull out a 1-0 overtime win in Game 1, this series has belonged to the Vegas Golden Knights.
After tying things up with a 3-1 win in Game 2, the Golden Knights went into Minnesota and outscored the Wild 9-2 over the course of Games 3 and 4 to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. Marc-Andre Fleury has continued his outstanding year into the postseason and made 35 saves to pick up his 16th career playoff shutout in Saturday’s 4-0 Game 4 victory, good for third all-time in NHL history.
Unless Minnesota has a stunning comeback in them, it looks like we’re on track for that long-awaited second-round series between Colorado and Vegas. The Knights have a chance to close things out in Game 5 in Vegas on Monday night.
Carolina Hurricanes VS Nashville Predators
Things have suddenly gotten interesting in this series.
The Carolina Hurricanes were heavy favorites over the Nashville Predators, and after the Hurricanes jumped out to a 2-0 lead, it looked like this might be a short series.
But then the Predators responded with back-to-back double-overtime wins on home ice.
We’ve got a best-of-three now. Game 5 goes Tuesday back in Raleigh.
Florida Panthers VS Tampa Bay Lightning
It feels like everyone who isn’t a Tampa Bay Lightning fan is cheering for the Florida Panthers in this series, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, things aren’t going too well for the Cats. They lost a heartbreaker in a wildly entertaining Game 1 on a late Brayden Point breakaway goal.
Down 2-0 in the series heading to Tampa, the Panthers rallied from a 5-3 deficit in the third period of Game 3 and won on a Ryan Lomberg overtime goal to get back into the series.
The Bolts responded with a 6-2 victory in Game 4, though, and now have a 3-1 stranglehold on the Panthers in the series. The defending champs can wrap this up in Game 5 in Sunrise on Monday night. With Sergei Bobrovsky or Chris Driedger getting the job done in this series, it sounds like there’s a chance the Panthers will turn to Spencer Knight in net to try to save their season.
Pittsburgh Penguins VS New York Islanders
Jeff Carter seems to be fitting in well with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
After scoring nine goals in 14 regular-season games with the Penguins, he’s scored three in his first four playoff games against the New York Islanders, too. Getting the chance to play for a contender again seems to have reinvigorated him.
After splitting the first four games of the series, the Penguins and Islanders will play Game 5 in Pittsburgh on Monday.
Washington Capitals VS Boston Bruins
The Blues weren’t the only recent Stanley Cup champion to make an early exit from this postseason.
After a Game 1 overtime win over the Boston Bruins, the Washington Capitals lost four in a row, their season coming to an end with Sunday’s 3-1 loss in Game 5 on home ice.
The Caps have been knocked in the first round in three straight years since winning their Cup. They’ve made the playoffs in 13 of the 16 seasons they’ve had Alex Ovechkin and somehow have lost in the first or second round every time but 2018.
Now the focus shifts to Ovechkin’s future. The 13-year contract he signed with Washington back in 2008 is finally up, and he can become an unrestricted free agent this summer. It’s very difficult to imagine Ovi chasing down the NHL’s all-time goal record in any other uniform.
Toronto Maple Leafs VS Montreal Canadiens
It was hard to imagine a worse start to the postseason for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
First, they lost Game 1 on a sick shorthanded goal by Paul Byron with under eight minutes to play in the third period.
The bigger story, though, was the scary injury that captain John Tavares suffered when he took an inadvertent knee to the head from Corey Perry in the first period after being knocked to the ice by Ben Chiarot.
Tavares was stretchered off the ice and taken to the hospital. He was diagnosed with a concussion as well as a sprained MCL.
The knee injury will take at least two weeks to recover from, meaning he’d miss the remainder of this series even if he weren’t also concussed. But no matter how deep the Maple Leafs end up going in these playoffs, it wouldn’t be surprising if we don’t see Tavares again this season after taking a blow like that. All the best to him in his recovery.
The Leafs bounced back in a big way with a 5-1 win in Game 2 to even up the series. It will now shift to Montreal for Games 3 and 4, played on back-to-back nights Monday and Tuesday.
Edmonton Oilers VS Winnipeg Jets
The Edmonton Oilers dropped the first two games of this series at home to the Winnipeg Jets, scoring just one goal in the process. But it looked like they had things back on track in Game 3 on Sunday.
After being held off the scoresheet in the first two games, Leon Draisaitl (two goals, one assist) and Connor McDavid (three assists) combined for six points in Game 3. The Oilers had a 4-1 lead with less than nine minutes to go in the third period. It looked like they were about to be back in this series.
Until the Jets staged a frantic comeback, capped by Nikolaj Ehlers‘ overtime winner, his second goal; his first game in nearly a month.
After this gut-wrenching collapse, the Oilers are now tasked with becoming the fifth team in NHL history and the first since the 2014 Kings to come back from a 3-0 series deficit. Game 4 goes Monday night in Winnipeg.