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Lightning Round: Three more NHL teams officially qualify for the playoffs

The Orlando Solar Bears have been eliminated from the Kelly Cup Playoffs

Pittsburgh Penguins v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The 2021-22 regular season is slowly coming to an end. The last games of the regular season are scheduled for April 29, while the playoffs are expected to start three days later — on May 2. The Tampa Bay Lightning have officially clinched their playoff berth last Thursday, beating the Anaheim Ducks, but several other teams are still in the hunt. After Saturday night, the total number of teams who already secured their postseason spot has been increased to 10.

The Boston Bruins will made their sixth consecutive playoff appearance after beating the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday afternoon, thanks to two quick goals at the beginning of the first period by Trent Frederic and Erik Haula. As of today, the Carolina Hurricanes are their potential playoff opponent. The Canes currently lead their season series 3-0-0 this year.

In a game where both teams could qualify for the playoffs, the St. Louis Blues defeated the Minnesota Wild for their tenth playoff appearance in the last 11 years. The Blues have also won eight consecutive game, jumping to the second place in the Central Division. The Blues will likely face the Wild in the first round of the playoffs, who will have to wait until tonight to qualify for the playoffs.

The Calgary Flames destroyed the Arizona Coyotes 9-1 yesterday, advancing to the playoffs for the first time since 2020. In their last three playoff appearances Calgary didn’t make past the first round. The Nashville Predators are their most likely first-round opponent.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have been officially eliminated from playoff contention on the three-year anniversary of upsetting the Lightning in the first-round of playoffs in 2019.

The Colorado Avalanche have officially won the Central Division after defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 7-4 yesterday.

Lightning Links

The Tampa Bay Lightning surged back to win over the Winnipeg Jets 7-4 on Saturday night after trailing 4-2 by the middle of the second period. Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov led the Bolts with four points each in this game [Raw Charge]

Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman each posted four points as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Winnipeg Jets, 7-4, in a rollicking game on Saturday night. Kucherov scored twice while Hedman had four helpers. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Alex Killorn, Nick Paul, and Mikhail Sergachev also scored for the Lightning while Brian Elliott made 14 saves on 18 shots.

That was the 17th career four-point game for Nikita Kucherov, who is tied with Steven Stamkos for the most in the Lightning’s history.

After this victory, the Lightning reached a 100-point mark for the seventh time in a franchise history and the fifth time under Jon Cooper.

The Syracuse Crunch bounced back from the loss on Friday night, beating the Toronto Marlies on Saturday. Charles Hudon recorded a hat-trick in this game.

The Orlando Solar Bears have been officially eliminated from the Kelly Cup Playoffs after losing to the Jacksonville Icemen in the season finale.