Never before has the NHL – or among other pro sport leagues in North America – seen all of the division winners knocked out in the first round of the postseason. That changed Wednesday.
The Carolina Hurricanes, who finished as the first wild-card in the regular season, were able to finish off the Washington Capitals with a 4-3 OT victory Wednesday, and with that win, they were able to emerge as the fourth and final wild-card team to advance to the second round.
Columbus has perhaps had the best series these playoffs so far, as they were able to claw back from a 3-0 Game 1 deficit against the top-seeded and Stanley Cup favorite Tampa Bay Lightning to win 4-3 and then win the next three games of the series for the sweep.
After falling 4-0 to the Calgary Flames in Game 1, the Avalanche were able to storm back and win four straight to take the series in five games. Calgary was the first Canadian team to be eliminated from the postseason, and there are no more Canadian teams moving on to next round.
Lastly, Dallas was up for a battle against the Nashville Predators, but in a back and forth series, they eventually went up 3-2 and were able to win Game 6 with a thrilling 2-1 overtime victory.
Columbus will face the Boston Bruins and the Stars will face the St. Louis Blues in the second round starting Thursday, while the Hurricanes will open their series against the Islanders and the Avalanche will face the San Jose Sharks starting Friday.
MORE CAPITALS NEWS:
Ovi to Willy: Game 7 goal may be goal of the playoffs
Do it for T.J.: Ryan Kerrigan chugs beer like Oshie
Caps History: A look back at every Washington Game 7