The first set of elimination games take place tonight, as the field of Stanley Cup contenders could be whittled down to 14 depending on the outcomes of certain games.
The first of this games was a predictable sweep, as the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets could be shaking hands before the night is over. What wasn’t predictable was seeing the Lightning on the losing end of this series, as a loss tonight will cement them as the biggest chokers in NHL history. From a record setting, 62 win regular season, to getting swept out of the first round by the wild card Blue Jackets. That’s the reality the Lightning are staring at.
They’re not alone, as the Pittsburgh Penguins will look to defend home ice and avoid their first sweep since the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals. The New York Islanders have stifled Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and friends over the first three games of the series, and they’ll look to do it one more time and clinch their second playoff series victory since The Shawshank Redemption hit theaters. The games are as follows:
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Columbus Blue Jackets: Game 4, (CBJ leads 3-0) 7:00 PM EDT on CNBC
New York Islanders vs Pittsburgh Penguins: Game 4, (NYI leads 3-0) 7:30 PM EDT on NBCSN, MSG, and MSG+
A Lightning loss would ensure that the Rangers receive the 58th selection from Tampa Bay in June’s Entry Draft, closing the book the infamous Ryan McDonagh/J.T. Miller trade.
Enjoy the games, and hopefully you can keep your brooms in the closet for tonight.