The Calgary Flames were the first team eliminated from the post-season on Wednesday as the Anaheim Ducks removed all their curses over the last few years in moving into the second round.
St. Louis had a chance to join the Ducks in the second round but could not beat Devan Dubnyk while Craig Anderson brought the Senators to the verge of the second round in taking a 3-1 lead over Boston.
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WASHINGTON 5 TORONTO 4
The Washington Capitals are having trouble putting away the Toronto Maple Leafs. Even when the Capitals strike for four first period goals like on Wednesday, there is still a doubt in their fan’s eyes on whether or not they are able to hang on.
The Capitals grabbed a quick 2-0 lead over Toronto in Game 4, the same as in Game 3 and when the Leafs cut the lead in half, the same as on Monday, Tom Wilson fired a couple of goals (unlike Monday) to give the Capitals a commanding 4-1 lead after the first.
T.J. Oshie and Alex Ovechkin scored to open the first period with Zach Hyman replying for Toronto before the performance by Wilson seemingly put the game out of reach in the first.
But James van Riemsdyk scored on the power play in the second and when Auston Matthews scored with eight minutes to go in the third, the game was all of a sudden in doubt.
But Oshie popped in his second of the game just 59 seconds later that provided the Capitals with the cushion they would need as Tyler Bozak scored with 26.5 seconds to go to make it a one goal game yet again.
That was all the scoring there would be as the series returns to Washington on Friday tied at two games apiece.
Nicklas Backstrom, Mitch Marner and William Nylander each had a pair of assists in the contest.
Braden Holtby stopped 30-of-34 shots for the win while Frederik Andersen managed to give up five goals on 27 shots in taking the loss.
Leo Komarov and Nikita Zaitsev led the way with seven and six hits respectively.
OTTAWA 1 BOSTON 0
Craig Anderson made 22 saves as he shut out the Boston Bruins 1-0 to give the Senators a 3-1 series lead with Game 5 back in Ottawa Friday where the Sens will have a chance to win the best-of-seven divisional semi-final.
Bobby Ryan scored the winning goal for the second game in a row as he found the back of the net at the 5:49 mark of the third for the lone goal of the game.
He scored the overtime winner on Monday and it was his third of the series. Ryan had only 13 goals in the regular season but has made up for his poor performance in the 82 game schedule with timely playoff goals.
Tuukka Rask stopped 26 shots but the one he let in from the stick of Ryan proved to be enough.
Tom Pyatt suffered an upper body injury in the first period and did not return.
Derick Brassard and Erik Karlsson drew the assists on the Ryan goal. Karlsson has five helpers in the playoffs as he has at least one point in all four games.
Zdeno Chara had five hits in the game as did Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
MINNESOTA 2 ST. LOUIS 0
Devan Dubnyk stopped all 28 shots as the Minnesota Wild staved off elimination with a 2-0 win over St. Louis to cut the Blues lead to three games to one in the best-of-seven series.
Charlie Coyle scored the winner in the first period on an unassisted effort and Martin Hanzal scored the insurance goal in the second to give the Wild the 2-0 win and send the series back to Minnesota.
Jake Allen played well once again as he stopped 26 shots but a poor clearing pass in the first wound up on the stick of Coyle who buried it into the net before Allen was able to get back.
Jason Zucker had six shots on goal while Patrik Berglund led both teams with five hits.
ANAHEIM 3 CALGARY 1
Being up 4-1 with a minute to go in the second period during Game 3 and losing took its toll on the Flames as they became the first team to be eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs as they dropped a 3-1 decision to Anaheim.
The Ducks swept the best-of-seven series and now await the winner of the Edmonton-San Jose series.
The Ducks moved on to the second round after struggling for years under Bruce Boudreau who would have a great regular season and have his team fall apart early in the post-season. The same thing is happening in Minnesota this season as the Wild had a great regular season but are down 3-1 despite the win on Wednesday.
The Ducks struck twice early in the first period to take the Calgary crowd right out of the game. Patrick Eaves with his first at the 5:38 mark and Nate Thompson just 68 seconds later gave Anaheim a 2-0 lead heading into the second.
Sean Monahan scored on the power play in the second period to cut the Ducks lead in half. Monahan scored in each game as he was one of the few Flames to do damage offensively in the series.
But Ryan Getzlaf iced the game in the third with just seven ticks of the clock left in the game to give the Ducks entry into the second round and send the Flames off to the golf course.
John Gibson was back in goal for Anaheim and he was spectacular as he stopped 36 saves for his third win of the series. Gibson started all four games but Jonathan Bernier got credited with the win in Game 3 after Gibson was pulled trailing 4-1. The Ducks came back to win 5-4 in overtime as Bernier stopped all 16 shots directed his way. Coach Randy Carlyle went back to the well with Gibson who certainly did not disappoint.
Brian Elliott stopped two of three shots in the first before he was taken out after giving up a weak goal to Eaves. Elliott is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and you have to wonder if this is the end of the line for him in Calgary. Chad Johnson stopped 20-of-21 shots but was saddled with the loss in the Saddledome.
Dougie Hamilton had seven shots on goal to lead both teams.