Tuesday’s Stanley Cup Playoff games made a shocking feat a reality for two teams; the Columbus Blue Jackets completed a series sweep over Presidents’ Trophy winners, the Tampa Lightning. Meanwhile the New York Islanders achieved the same feat over the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena.
How things stood after Game 3
➜ Columbus lead Tampa 3-0
➜ Islanders lead Pittsburgh 3-0
➜ St. Louis lead Winnipeg 2-1
➜ Vegas lead San Jose 2-1
Tampa Bay Lightning v Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets won a Stanley Cup Playoff series for the first time when they defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-3 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round, and swept the series 4-0.
The hosts are the first team to sweep a Presidents’ Trophy winner in the the first round. It’s the third time a Presidents’ Trophy winner has been swept (Detroit Red Wings, 1995 Cup Final and Calgary Flames, 1988 Smythe Division Final). Tampa tied the NHL record with 62 wins in the regular season.
Pierre-Luc Dubois had a goal and two assists, Alexandre Texier scored twice, and Seth Jones, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Artemi Panarin and Matt Duchene also netted for Columbus, who will play the Boston Bruins or Toronto Maple Leafs in the second round. The Leafs lead the best-of-7 series 2-1 with Game 4 at Toronto on Wednesday, April 17 (7pm – NBCSN).
Texier, playing just his sixth NHL game (fourth in the playoffs), scored his first playoff goal whilst on the power play at 2:26 of the first for a 1-0 lead. He added his second in the third period with an emptynetter.
Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves for the Blue Jackets, who were 5-for-10 on the power play in the series and 5-for-6 on the penalty kill.
Steven Stamkos scored one and assisted one, Cedric Paquette and Brayden Point also scored, Nikita Kucherov had two assists, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 18 saves for the Bolts, who outshot Columbus 33-25.
Lightning – Eliminated
Blue Jackets – Advance to Round 2 – Play winner of Boston Bruins & Toronto Maple Leafs (TBD)
New York Islanders v Pittsburgh Penguins
The New York Islanders advanced to the Eastern Conference Second Round with a 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4, sweeping a Playoff series for the first since 1983 (Stanley Cup Final vs Edmonton Oilers).
Jordan Eberle scored for the fourth successive game, Brock Nelson scored his third goal of the playoffs, and Robin Lehner made 32 saves for New York, who will play the winner of the series between the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes.
Eberle became the third player in the last seven years to score in each of his first four postseason games. He joins Sean Monahan (Calgary Flames, 2017) and Patrick Marleau (San Jose Sharks, 2013).
Jake Guentzel scored for the hosts, who were swept for the first time since the 2013 Eastern Conference Final (vs Boston Bruins). Matt Murray made 23 saves for the Pens, who were outscored 14-6 in the series and 10-3 in the final three games.
Sid Crosby had an assist on the goal for his first point of the playoffs, after having 100 points (35g, 65a) in the regular season. His previous playoff low was four points (2g, 2a) in five games against the NY Rangers in 2015.
With his assist, Crosby passed Steve Yzerman for 10th on the NHL’s all-time playoff points list with 186pts (66g, 120a) in 164 games.
Pittsburgh lost a sixth straight game in the playoffs, including Games 5 and 6 of the 2018 Eastern Conference round against the Washington Capitals, who were coached by Islanders head coach, Barry Trotz.
Islanders – Advance to Round 2 – Play winner of Washington Capitals & Carolina Hurricanes (TBD)
Penguins – Eliminated
Winnipeg Jets v St Louis Blues
Kyle Connor scored 6:02 into overtime to give the Winnipeg Jets a much needed 2-1 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 4, to tie up their series 2-2.
Vladimir Tarasenko opened the scoring for the Blues on the power play 35 seconds into the third period, before Mark Scheifele tied the game 1-1 on a redirection of a Connor centering pass.
Jordan Binnington made 37 saves for the hosts, and Connor Hellebuyck made 31 for the visitors, who outshot St. Louis 39-32.
Game 5 will be on Thursday (8:30pm – USA)
Blues v Jets – Thursday, April 18 (8:30pm – USA)
San Jose Sharks v Vegas Golden Knights
Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves and Max Pacioretty had four points to help lift the Vegas Golden Knights to a 5-0 shutout victory over the San Jose Sharks in Game 4, taking a 3-1 lead in their best-of-7 series.
It was Fleury‘s 15th Stanley Cup Playoff shutout, tying Chris Osgood and Clint Benedict for fourth in NHL history. It was also the goalie’s 78th NHL playoff win, passing Mike Vernon for seventh place.
Pacioretty had two goals and two assists for Vegas, who are one win away from eliminating the Sharks for the second time in as many seasons. Pacioretty and Mark Stone, who had two assists, are tied for the NHL lead with 10pts.
Shea Theodore, who also had an assist, Alex Tuch and Jonathan Marchessault scored their first goals of the postseason, and Nate Schmidt and Reilly Smith both registered two assists for the Knights, who scored in the first 90 seconds, becoming the first team in NHL history to score in the first minute and a half of four consecutive periods.
It was the 10th time in 18 games that the Golden Knights found the back of the net in the first five minutes against the Sharks.
San Jose lost their third consecutive game and have been outscored 16-6 in that period. Goalie Martin Jones was pulled for the second time in three games after allowing two goals on seven shots, Aaron Dell made 17 saves in relief.
Just like the previous three games the penalty minutes racked up, however this time it was predominantly Sharks in the box. As the game went on San Jose grew more and more irritated at their lack of goals, spending a total of 38 minutes in the box, compared to Vegas’ eight.
Game 5 is at San Jose on Thursday, April 18 (10pm – NBCSN).
Knights v Sharks – Thursday, April 19 (10pm – NBCSN)
ALL TIMES U.S. EASTERN