Puck Drop: NHL Playoff Recap

We’re only in the second round and the NHL playoffs have already been crazy, y’all.

The biggest surprise (out of many) of round one was the four game sweep of the top-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Columbus managed to keep Nikita Kucherov, who led the league with 128 regular season points, at bay with just two assists throughout the entire series (though he was suspended for Game 3 following a hard hit on Markus Nutivaara).

Also surprising was the early exit of the reigning champion Washington Capitals. The Caps lost a tight seven-game series to the Carolina Hurricanes, who advanced to round two of the playoffs for the first time since 2009. The Pittsburgh Penguins were also knocked out earlier than expected, with perennial playmaker Sidney Crosby notching just one point (an assist).

Here’s the rundown of who’s left standing, and where we’re currently at in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Eastern Conference

Boston Bruins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (series tied 1-1)

This series has been a treat for lovers of old-school hockey, and there’s still plenty to look forward to before these two teams wrap up their series.

Two overtime games have been split between Boston and Columbus in a matchup that’s proving to be gritty and physical (see Zdeno Chara’s nasty hit on Riley Nash in Game 2). Game One saw Boston coming away with a 3-2 victory, while the Blue Jackets came out on top in Game Two with a hard-earned 3-2 double OT win.

The tiebreaker is set for Tuesday night, and you know I’ll be tuned in.

Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Islanders (Carolina leads 2-0)

Things are not looking too sunny for the Isles right about now.

After beating the Capitals in seven games, the Hurricanes showed up in Brooklyn ready to play. They squeaked out a 1-0 win in Game 1, thanks to an overtime goal by Jordan Staal. Game 2 looked to be a challenge for the Canes, who lost some players due to injury for the first two periods. In the third period, however, Warren Foegele and Nino Niederreiter netted a goal each within 48 seconds to seal the deal for Carolina.

Game 3 of the series will take place in Carolina on Wednesday night.

Western Conference

St. Louis Blues vs. Dallas Stars (St. Louis leads 2-1)

The Gateway City might have been dragged for “St. Louis style food” earlier this year, but they’re certainly not messing around in the second round of playoffs against the Dallas Stars.

After a shockingly routine shutdown of the Winnipeg Jets (who made it to the conference finals last season) in Round One, the Blues are still clicking against Dallas. They started with a win in Game 1 before dropping Game 2 with a 4-2 loss. Game 3 went to the Blues with a score of 4-3, and featured a wild third period featuring last-minute heroics from forward Pat Maroon.

Game 4 will be held on Wednesday night (at 9:30PM eastern).

San Jose Sharks vs. Colorado Avalanche (series tied 1-1)

After beating last year’s conference champion Golden Knights in 7 games, the Sharks are all tied up with the Avs in Round 2.

Game 1 of the series went to San Jose with a final score of 5-2. It was a full-squad effort with no player scoring more than one point, but it got the job done. Colorado came back to take Game 2 with a score of 4-3. This victory was earned largely on the back of blueliner Tyson Barrie, who finished the game with a goal and two assists.

Game 3 is set to take place on Tuesday night in Denver.

Media source: CBS Sports

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