With the best record in the regular season, Tampa Bay is the first team to bow out
The NHL Playoffs have been going on the last handful of days and they’ve been intriguing and a rollercoaster of emotions – at least for some teams.
Only two teams have advanced to the next round, the New York Islanders and the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Islanders entered the playoffs as the second seed in the Metropolitan bracket. NY faced off against the third seed, Pittsburg Penguins.
Despite the success the Penguins have had in the playoffs in recent years, they were still unable to muster its way through round one. They were swept in the first round and never really gave much of a fight beyond game 1 of the playoffs. Goalie for the Islanders, Robin Lehner, played a large role in taking down the Penguins. He leads goalies in the playoffs with a save percentage of 95.6 percent.
How about the Blue Jackets? The Tampa Bay Lightning ended the regular season tying the NHL record for the most wins. With a record of 62-16-4 and 128 points, it looked like Tampa Bay had a real shot of winning the whole thing.
No one by any means saw a Columbus sweep coming and much like the Penguins-Islanders series, the Lightning didn’t pose much of a threat. Game 4 was the Tampa Bay’s only chance of coming back in the series, instead of showing urgency, they fell short 3-7.
NHL’s leading scorer Nikita Kucherov was suspended game 3 after a dirty hit against a defenseless Blue Jacket’s player. Regardless, the Lightning don’t have much of an excuse for being swept after putting up a record-breaking year.
Last year’s Stanley Cup champions, Las Vegas Golden Knights, are one game shy of defeating the San Jose Sharks. It would be an impressive feat if they were able to repeat being just two years as a franchise.
A large reason for their early success in the playoffs has been the Golden Knight’s domination on offense. They have the top three points leaders in the playoffs thus far. The three players leading the league are Forward Mark Stone (10 points), forward Max Pacioretty (10 points) and center Paul Stastny (8 points).
The Boston Bruins-Toronto Maple Leafs series has been phenomenal. It has been action packed and things between the two sides have been edgy. Toronto leads the series 2-1 and will play again Wednesday night in Boston.
A lot of the games have been a dominant performance by one team and then followed up by a dominant performance from the opposing team. A large majority of the series will likely go to game 6 or 7 based off what has been going on to this point.
It has only been one week and playoffs have been incredible. Round two of the playoffs will pickup next week after the fallout of round one.
Header photo courtesy of the Associated Press.