The Columbus Blue Jackets have advanced to the Stanley Cup playoffs where they will take on the team they upset last season, the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Jackets were the eighth seed last season (and were the ninth seed this year) but they outplayed the Presidents’ Trophy winning, beating Tampa Bay four straight. The Lightning will now have the chance to redeem themselves from last season’s debacle.
As for the Maple Leafs, they have Monday’s lottery to look forward to. The winner picks first overall in the Draft and the chance to take Alexis Lafreniere.
There were three games in the NHL Sunday.
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WASHINGTON 2 BOSTON 1
The Washington Capitals secured the third seed in the East with a 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins. The Bruins, who finished the regular season easily atop of the Eastern Conference standings, lost all three games in the round-robin tournament and were relegated to fourth place where they will meet the Carolina Hurricanes in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Capitals got things started in the first period as T.J. Oshie scored with only 16 seconds remaining to give them a 1-0 lead heading into the intermission.
After a scoreless second period, Tom Wilson made it 2-0 for the Capitals early in the third. He outraced Charlie McAvoy and Joakim Nordstrom for the puck, moved from his backhand to his forehand and put the puck high over Tuukka Rask and into the net.
Holtby was terrific, making 30 saves in the Washington cage. He went 1-1-1 in the round-robin, giving up six goals on 80 shots.
Rask stopped 23 shots and took the loss, his second of the tournament after missing the opener as he was unfit to play. He had a 2.55 GAA and a .917 save percentage.
Martin Fehervary had seven hits while teammate Michal Kempny had six.
DALLAS 2 ST. LOUIS 1 (Shootout)
Denis Gurianov scored the only goal of the shootout to propel the Dallas Stars to a 2-1 win over St. Louis. The Stars finished third in the round-robin and will face Calgary while the Blues finished fourth and last after winning the Western Conference before the pause. St. Louis will play Vancouver in Round 1.
Robert Thomas gave St. Louis an early 1-0 lead when he scored at the 3:43 mark of the first on the Blues first shot.
That lead would hold up until the 19:29 mark of the third when Joe Pavelski scored his second of the tournament. That goal sent the game into overtime and eventually the shootout where Gurianov became the star.
Anton Khudobin stopped 22 shots and picked up the win.
Jake Allen was a stud in the St. Louis net as he made 37 saves in his first game since the pause.
Sammy Blais had a couple of minors, and was injured. He will be evaluated once again on Monday.
The Blues took a 1-0 lead in all three games of the round-robin and failed to win any.
COLUMBUS 3 TORONTO 0 (Columbus wins the series 3-2)
The Blue Jackets strategy paid off in spades on Sunday night as they scored early and then just shut the door, scoring a couple of late goals to shutout the Toronto Maple Leafs and win the best-of-five series 3-2. It was the only series of the eight that went the limit.
The Blue Jackets announced early on that Zach Werenski and Ryan Murray would play in Game 5. Werenski missed the last half of the third period in Game 4 as well as the overtime, while Murray sat out the whole game, but their presence on the blueline was huge Sunday.
Werenski was more than solid and opened the scoring with a shot that beat Frederik Andersen at the 6:29 mark of the first.
The second period was scoreless and Toronto’s hopes faded immensely when rookie Liam Foudy scored his first career goal in the NHL from a bad angle that somehow snuck past Andersen at 11:40 of the third.
While three goals leads have been the bane of both teams in this series, the Blue Jackets waited until 23 seconds were left in the game for Nick Foligno to score into the empty net.
Joonas Korpisalo picked up the start once again after being pulled in Game 3 and sitting on the bench for Game 4. Korpisalo kicked out all 33 shots for his second shutout of the series. He ended the series with a 2-1 record, giving up only five goals on 114 shots.
It was another tough ending for Andersen who has lost the pivotal game early in the post-season in all four seasons he has been a Maple Leaf. Andersen made 19 saves in taking the loss as he was 2-3 with a 1.84 GAA and a .936 save percentage. Unfortunately, it was good but not good enough.
The Maple Leafs put all their best forwards on the top line as Auston Matthews, John Tavares and Mitch Marner played together most of the contest. “The Money Line” had plenty of chances but were unable to beat Korpisalo.
Tyson Barrie suffered an injury halfway through the second period and did not return.
1 – By Many
1 – By Many
Shots on Goal
Auston Matthews – 6
Miro Heiskanen - 6
David Pastrnak – 6
Jamie Benn - 5
John Tavares - 5
Alex Ovechkin - 5
Martin Fehervary – 7
Michal Kempny – 6
Sammy Blais - 4