Playoffs Round Up: Carolina advances to conference final

The Hurricanes swept the New York Islanders. Hate to say I told you so!

I have to brag for a second. Last week I told you the Carolina Hurricanes would sweep the New York Islanders in four games. This weekend, that all came true. My favorite storyline outside of the San Jose Sharks’ has been the rise of the Carolina Hurricanes. They are such a fun team to watch. Who would have thought at the beginning of the season that the ‘Canes would be the first team to advance to a conference final? Let’s be real: none of us saw them even making the playoffs.

Eastern Conference

Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Islanders

The New York Islanders had a great run themselves. After losing their star player, John Tavares, the team rebuilt themselves and made the Pittsburgh Penguins their first victim during round one. After sweeping the Pens, things looked good for the Isles. That is, until the Carolina Hurricanes said, “Hold my celly.”

The last time we spoke, the ‘Canes were up 2-0 in the series. Game 3 took place in Raleigh and the home team put on a show, winning 5-2. The first period ended in a 1-1 tie. The second ended in a 2-2 tie. Things looked even and the Isles were certainly still in the race — that is until period three. Justin Williams, Teuvo Teravainen (his second of the night) and Sebastian Aho scored three unanswered goals to give them the win.

The ‘Canes had a chance to end it all in Game 4 on home ice. Matthew Barzal struck first, but Aho tied it up shortly thereafter. The second period brought another three unanswered goals show for the home crowd. The Canes went into period three up 4-1. Andrei Svechnikov scored a fifth for the Canes, though the Isles attempted a return with a late goal from Brock Nelson.

The Canes will face whoever comes out on top between the Boston Bruins and Columbus Blue Jackets. What a bunch of jerks.

Boston Bruins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

I left you last with a 1-1 game split between the Boston Bruins and Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets took the series lead in Game 3 on Tuesday. The Boston Bruins didn’t look in their top form and Columbus pounced on the opportunity. They opened up scoring late, thanks to a goal from Boone Jenner. Matt Duchene then gave them the 2-0 advantage. The Bruins didn’t go down easily, though. Jake DeBrusk scored late, but that was the only good thing the B’s had going for them.

The Bruins came back in Game 4 to tie the series. The 4-1 win saw 39 stops from netminder Tuukka Rask. David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron gave the B’s an early 2-0 lead. A controversial goal that bounced off the upper netting lead to Columbus getting on the board before the second period. Sean Kuraly and Patrice Bergeron (again) helped secure the win in the third period.

Saturday’s game was a wild one between these two teams. The game ended 4-3, with Boston taking the series lead. David Krejci had the first goal of the game, followed by Brad Marchand giving them a 2-0 early in the second period. Seth Jones found the net, lighting up the Columbus offense. Pastrnak said “No way,” and responded with a goal of his own. This is where things got wild. Ryan Dzingel and Dean Kukan each scored a goal within a few minutes to tie the game up. It was Pastrnak again who put them back in their place. The game ended with the B’s gaining the advantage.

The Bruins have the chance to finish the series today at 4 p.m. PT.

Western Conference

St. Louis Blues vs. Dallas Stars

The only game to cover in the Western Conference now continues to be split. Last we spoke, these teams held a game apiece. Now, the series sits at 3-3. Game 3 ended 4-3 in favor of the Blues. Jaden Schwartz opened up scoring within the first two minutes. The Stars’ Alexander Radulov tied it up before the period closed. The second period brought a 2-1 lead for St. Louis, thanks to Tyler Bozak. The Stars and Blues each scored two goals in the third period. Andrew Cogliano of Anaheim Ducks fame probably thought he would be sitting out the playoffs this year, but he got traded to the Stars and instead got a round two playoff goal. The other Stars goal was scored by Tyler Seguin, while Alex Pietrangelo and Patrick Maroon finished it off for the Blues.

The Stars came back in Game 4 with a 4-2 win. I tell ya, these games have been neck-and-neck. Vladimir Tarasenko opened up scoring for St. Louis, but by the end of the first period, Jason Dickinson and Jason Spezza brought the score to 2-1 in favor of Dallas. John Klingberg and Roope Hintz made it 4-1 at the end of the second period, but Robert Thomas got St. Louis on the board one last time before the final buzzer.

St. Louis wasn’t going to let Dallas have the series lead for long. Though this game had a controversial goal where goalie Ben Bishop got hit, laid on the ice in pain and St. Louis scored while he was down. Bishop attempted to stay in the game, but was removed. It was later found out that he underwent an X-ray, but no further news as been stated about his current status. The Blues won that one 4-1. As we know, you can’t blame one call on a whole game, but it was evident that the goal Bishop was injured on counting shifted the Stars’ momentum.

The Stars will have revenge on their minds as they play a deciding Game 7 on Tuesday at 5 p.m. PT.