With the Tampa Bay Lightning win yesterday, they are now the second of three teams to make the Conference Semifinals, the first being the Vegas Golden Knights the night before, and the Boston Bruins shortly after the Bolts win. The other five series have yet to be determined, though all of them have a team sitting on three wins.
This year, the playoffs are a little different, with each round being re-seeded instead of the standard bracket known in the NHL, NBA, and in tournaments like March Madness. As a result, there are more than two possible opponents the Lightning could face in the Second Round. I thought it would be a good idea to go through how it works so watching the out-of-town scoreboard is a little easier to understand.
Eastern Conference Seeding
Here is how the eight teams that made the First Round stacked up, with their original seeding before the Qualifying Round and Round Robin in parenthesis.
- Philadelphia Flyers (4)
- Tampa Bay Lightning (2)
- Washington Capitals (3)
- Boston Bruins (1)
- Carolina Hurricanes (6)
- New York Islanders (7)
- Columbus Blue Jackets (9)
- Montreal Canadiens (12)
Once the First Round is set, each of the top eight teams get their new seeding between 1-8. Now, for as long as the Flyers are in the playoffs, they will face the worst seed available to them that are left. Same goes for the Lightning, who get the second lowest ranked team, and so on and so forth. This essentially guarantees the Flyers and Lightning can’t play each other until the Eastern Conference Final.
Here’s Who’s Left
- PHI (leading 3-2 vs. MTL)
- TBL (winner 4-1 vs. CBJ)
- WSH (trailing 1-3 vs. NYI)
- BOS (winner 4-1 vs. CAR)
- NYI (leading 3-1 vs. WSH)
- MTL (trailing 2-3 vs. PHI)
If PHI Win
- PHI (1) play NYI (6) or BOS (4)
- TBL (2) plays the highest seed of NYI (6), BOS (4), or WSH (3)
If PHI Lose
- TBL (2) play MTL (8)
- BOS (4) plays the winner of WSH (3) or NYI (6)
I was hoping Philly would make things more simple, but they decided to blow their chance at a Game 5 win over Montreal. If they do win (and it’s very likely), Tampa Bay either gets Boston or Washington (if they can pull off their comeback).
So TL;DR, it’s probably Boston.
However the two remaining series play out, we’ll know latest by Sunday, August 23rd. Round 2 begins on Tuesday.
After last night, there are four series left unresolved. Two in the East (Tampa Bay, Boston) and two in the West (Vegas, Colorado).
Tampa Bay Lightning 5, Columbus Blue Jackets 4 (OT) — TBL WIN 4-1
WE DID IT! WE WON!! IN OVERTIME! BRAYDEN POINT!
Boston Bruins 2, Carolina Hurricanes 1 — BOS win 4-1
I’m not saying Zdeno Chara breaking the leg of Andrei Svechnikov had something to do with this series, but I’m not not saying it.
Colorado Avalanche 7, Arizona Coyotes 1 — COL win 4-1
So, Nazem Kadri might win the Conn Smythe? He has six goals and 11 points in eight games, putting him in the playoff lead in both categories. The Avs move on after dominating the Coyotes.
Montreal Canadiens 5, Philadelphia Flyers 3 — PHI leading 3-2
Jesperi Kotkaniemi got ejected from this game after a hit to the head on Joel Farabee. Despite Jakub Voracek scoring twice on the ensuing five minute power play, the Flyers couldn’t beat the Canadiens.
Vancouver Canucks 4, St. Louis Blues 3 — VAN leading 3-2
The Canucks took a 3-2 series lead off a two-goal performance from Tyler Motte. We could see an upset in this series on Friday (or Game 7 is on Sunday).
There are only two games on the docket today as Vegas and Tampa Bay, who both had Game 6’s scheduled today, are sitting pretty. New York and Washington are the last team to play a Game 5, they have a back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday if this game goes to the Capitals.
This marks the end of afternoon games as there will only need to be one game played in each Hub City per day. Teams will just alternate with the East game happening at prime-time and the West game happening a few hours after.
New York Islanders “@” Washington Capitals — Game 5 (NYI leads 3-1)
8pm ET, NBCSN, CBC, TVAS, SN, NBCSWA, MSG, MSG+
Who will win the series between New York and Washington?
This poll is closed
Who will win the series between Philadelphia and Montreal?
This poll is closed
Some quick highlights from Game 5 between Tampa and Columbus. First off, the Bolts really did out-play the Blue Jackets in all areas.
Overall numbers from #CBJvsTBL series (all 5v5)#TBLightning— Matthew Esteves (@mattestevesSBN) August 19, 2020
Shot Attempts: 374-255 (59%)
Scoring Chances: 153-108
HD Chances: 59-35
Vasilevskiy Sv% at 5v5: .943
Vasilevskiy Sv% overall: .932
Rick Peckham has called his last Bolts game for Fox Sports Sun, and his call on Brayden Point’s overtime winner was really special.
Kevin Shattenkirk was pointed out by the team after the game as having given a nice big speech before the team’s third period comeback and overtime winner.
Kevin Shattenkirk gave an emotional speech to #TBLightning during second intermission with his team down 3-2 and then got the comeback started by scoring in the third period.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) August 19, 2020
John Tortorella remains a massive baby. No offense.
#CBJ coach John Tortorella walks away from post-game media availability after two questions: “You know what guys? I’m not going to get into the touchy feely stuff and the moral victories and all that. You guys be safe."— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) August 19, 2020
Nazem Kadri scored two goals early in Colorado’s 7-1 win over the Coyotes, including this amazing breakaway.
Kadri is also making his way up the Avalanche all-time playoff leaderboards.
The Washington Capitals have signed junior phenom goalie Zachary Fucale to a one-year, two-way contract at the league minimum. Fucale was touted as the “Next Carey Price” when he was drafted by Montreal, but his career never progressed after his time with the Halifax Mooseheads in the QMJHL. He played in the Lightning organization for a bit last year, but never really made waves as the Syracuse Crunch and Orlando Solar Bears cycled through a bunch of goalies during the year. [NHL dot com]
Fucale, 25, posted a record of 10-8-4 with a 2.36 goals against average and a .928 save percentage in 24 games with the Orlando Solar Bears in the ECHL in 2019-20. The 6’2”, 187-pound goaltender also appeared in one game with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch, stopping 12 of the 15 shots he faced.