Tuesday saw the Vegas Golden Knights become the first team to advance to the Second Round, eliminating the Chicago Blackhawks in the process.
Heading in to the Wednesday’s games the Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lighting were hoping to do the same to the Montreal Canadiens, Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets respectively.
Meanwhile in the West the Colorado Avalanche were looking to follow in Vegas’ footsteps, which would in turn eliminate the Arizona Coyotes.
The Vancouver Canucks, who led the series 2-0, were looking to take the series lead after losing the last two games to the St. Louis Blues.
Columbus Blue Jackets v Tampa Bay Lightning
Brayden Point scored at 5:12 of overtime, helping the Tampa Bay Lightning defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4 in Game 5 to advance to the Second Round.
Columbus became the second team, the first in the East, to be eliminated.
The Bolts are 6-2-0 this postseason as the No.2 seed and avenged a four-game sweep by Columbus in the 2019 First Round. They will play the Montreal Canadiens or the next lowest remaining seed in the Eastern Conference Second Round.
Alexander Wennberg scored one and assisted one, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Nick Foligno and Kevin Stunland scored, and Joonas Korpisalo made 20 saves for the Blue Jackets, who lost by a goal on four occasions. At one point in Wednesday’s game they led 4-2.
Point took Nikita Kucherov‘s pass and scored on a backhand for his second overtime goal this season, his first coming in the five overtime thriller in Game 1. He has scored four goals against them this series.
Kucherov assisted on each of Tampa’s three unanswered goals to become the Lightning’s all-time playoff leader with 70pts, two more than Martin St. Louis.
Blake Coleman, Kevin Shattenkirk and Anthony Cirelli also scored, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 37 saves for Tampa, including 22 of 24 shots in the second period when Columbus scored twice and set its playoff record for shots in a single period.
Tampa Bay have played the entire postseason without captain Steven Stamkos (lower body). It’s unknown if he will be available for the second round.
Lightning win series 4-1 – Advance to Second Round
Blue Jackets – Eliminated
Carolina Hurricanes v Boston Bruins
David Pastrnak had two assists in his return to the lineup, as the Boston Bruins defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Series to advance to the Second Round and send Carolina packing.
The Czech was unfit to play the previous three games. As part of the NHL Return to Play Plan, a team isn’t permitted to disclose injury or illness information.
David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron both had a goal and an assist, whilst Jaroslav Halak made 23 saves for Boston.
Haydn Fleury scored, and Petr Mrazek made 25 saves for the Hurricanes, who have lost eight of their last nine games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs to the Bruins. They were outscored 17-5 in a four-game sweep by Boston in the 2019 Eastern Conference Final.
Four of the five games this series were decided by a single goal.
Krejci, who had eight points (3g, 5a) in the series, tied the game 1-1 with a power play goal after Fleury, who had two goals this postseason, shot from near the blue line, hitting the left post and the puck flew in.
Bergeron gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead on the power play with four seconds remaining in the second, shooting off Mrazek‘s left skate from below the goal line.
Boston, who won the Presidents’ Trophy this season with the best record in the NHL (44-14-12, .714pts%) won the series after losing all three of their round-robin games in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers.
Bruins win series 4-1 – Advance to Second Round
Canes – Eliminated
Montreal Canadiens v Philadelphia Flyers
Nick Suzuki scored the tie-breaking goal in the third period for the Montreal Canadiens in a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 5, denying Philly the chance to advance to the Second Round.
The Flyers lead the series 3-2. Game 6 is on Friday.
Joel Armia scored two goals, Brendan Gallagher, Nick Suzuki and Phillip Danault also netted, and Carey Price made 26 saves for the Habs, the No.8 seed.
Jakub Voracek scored two power play goals and had an assist for Philadelphia, the No.1 seed. Joel Farabee also scored, and Carter Hart made 28 saves.
Hart saw his shutout streak end at 122:53; he had shut out the Canadiens in Games 3 and 4.
Suzuki put the Canadiens ahead at 10:59 of the third period, scoring off a behind-the-back pass from Jonathan Drouin.
The goal came 22 seconds after Farabee tied the game for Philly with a power play goal at 10:37.
Joel Armia put Montreal 1-0 up at 2:53 of the first with a shorthanded goal, before Voracek scored twice on the power play after Canadiens forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi was assessed a major penalty and a game misconduct.
Armia tied the game at 10:12.
Gallagher put the Habs 3-2 up with a power play goal of his own at 11:30 of the second. Suzuki had a goal disallowed for offside with 5:29 remaining in the second after Philly’s head coach, Alain Vigneault challenged the play.
Danault finished Philadelphia off with an emptynetter 18 seconds from time.
Flyers v Canadiens – Friday, Aug. 21 (7pm ET – NBCSN, NBCSP, SN, TVAS, CBC)
Arizona Coyotes v Colorado Avalanche
Nathan MacKinnon had two goals and two assists, as the Colorado Avalanche eliminated the Arizona Coyotes with a 7-1 Game 5 win.
Nazem Kadri scored twice, J.T Compher had a goal an assist, Samuel Girard and Nikita Zadorov also scored, and Phillip Grubauer made 23 saves for the Avs, the No.2 seed in the West.
Andre Burakovsky and Mikko Rantanen registered two assists.
Colorado will play the second-lowest remaining seed in the second round.
Clayton Keller scored for Arizona, the No.7 seed, and Darcy Kuemper allowed six goals on 30 shots before being replaced at the start of the third period by Antti Raanta, who made five saves.
Coyotes forwards Conor Garland and Nick Schmaltz, and Colorado forward Vladislav Namestnikov were all ruled unfit to play.
Avalanche win series 4-1 – Advance to Second Round
Coyotes – Eliminated
Vancouver Canucks v St. Louis Blues
Tyler Motte scored two goals, helping the Vancouver Canucks put the St. Louis Blues on the brink of elimination with a 4-3 Game 5 victory.
J.T. Miller and Jake Virtanen each had a goal and an assist, and Jacob Markstrom made 36 saves for Vancouver, who trailed 3-1 before scoring three unanswered goals in 6:23 of the second period.
Ryan O’Reilly, Brayden Schenn and Zach Sanford scored, and Jake Allen made 26 saves for the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
Teams that win Game 5 to take the lead are 211-58 (78.4%) at going on to win a Stanley Cup best-of-7 Playoff series. Game 6 will be on Friday at 9:5pm ET.
Motte‘s go-ahead goal at 18:17 of the second came on a turnover, after Virtanen had tied the game 3-3 at 16:08.
Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler left the game with 1:29 remaining in the second period after his face was cut by Jordan Kyrou‘s skate.
Blues v Canucks – Friday, Aug. 21 (9:45pm ET – NBCSN, CBC, SN, FS-MW)