SILVER SPRING, Md.– With the Carolina Hurricanes’ win over the Washington Capitals Wednesday night, some of the best hockey teams are out of the running going into Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Many believed the best teams were going to win in each series, but not this time. Only three of the better seeded teams in Round 1 advanced to the second round, with each having Home Ice for Round 2.
All the teams who led their division were defeated by lower teams in the same conference.
Many expected the Tampa Bay Lightning (who earned the President’s Trophy this year for having the best record in the NHL) to be one of the more dominant teams this playoff season,, what with 12 more wins than the second team in their division. But the President’s Trophy winner ended their season over a week ago, swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets, the lowest seed in the Eastern Conference coming into the playoffs.
The Pittsburgh Penguins were also defeated in just four games in the first round by the New York Islanders, unable to come up with more opportunities to score during the four game series. Since the 2015-2016 season, the Penguins always made it to the second round, and in two of those seasons, they brought home the Stanley Cup.
In the Western Conference, all four teams moving onto the second round had worse records than any of those from the Eastern Conference. The Western Conference teams were able to bounce back from their so-so regular season to move onto the next step of bringing the Stanley Cup back to their cities.
Neither team that made it to the Stanley Cup Finals advanced to Round 2. Both the Washington Capitals and the Vegas Golden Knights were eliminated in Game 7 of their respective series. The Capitals, reigning Stanley Cup winners, lost in double overtime against the Carolina Hurricanes in a crucial Game 7. There were so many missed passes and opportunities for the Capitals, fans started to wonder how it took so long for the Canes to finally end the torture and move on.
Despite a 3-0 lead during the early part of the third period of Game 7, the Golden Knights, who started their organization just last year and have made the playoffs both seasons, were defeated after giving up four goals in the third period to the San Jose Sharks. The Knights had the game in the bag before they collapsed and were forced to catch up from goal after goal after goal.
If this crazy finale is just the end of Round 1, who knows what’s going to happen during Round 2?
Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs begins on Thursday with the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Boston Bruins at 7:00 p.m. and at 9:30 p.m. with the Dallas Stars and the St. Louis Blues.