While Tuesday brought a pair of eliminations in the NHL playoffs, Wednesday's action made series closer—for the most part.
The Boston Bruins beat the Toronto Maple Leafs to even their series at two, as did the Dallas Stars against the Nashville Predators. However, the Calgary Flames lost to the Colorado Avalanche in overtime, giving Colorado a 3-1 lead over the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins were the first two teams eliminated from the postseason when they were respectively swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Islanders on Tuesday.
There are three series tied at two and another one that's at 2-1, so we could be set for several Game 7s in the opening round.
Remaining 1st-Round Schedule
Thursday, April 18
Game 4: Washington at Carolina, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Game 5: St. Louis at Winnipeg, 8:30 p.m., USA Network
Game 5: Vegas at San Jose, 10 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Friday, April 19
Game 5: Toronto at Boston, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Game 5: Colorado at Calgary, 10 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Saturday, April 20
Game 5: Dallas at Nashville, 3 p.m., NBC
Game 6: Winnipeg at St. Louis, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Game 5: Carolina at Washington, 8 p.m., NBC
Sunday, April 21
Game 6: Boston at Toronto, TBD
Game 6: San Jose at Vegas*
Game 6: Calgary at Colorado*
Monday, April 22
Game 6: Nashville at Dallas, TBD
Game 6: Washington at Carolina*
Game 7: St. Louis at Winnipeg*
Tuesday, April 23
Game 7: Toronto at Boston*
Game 7: Vegas at San Jose*
Game 7: Colorado at Calgary*
Wednesday, April 24
Game 7: Carolina at Washington*
Game 7: Dallas at Nashville*
Thursday could bring with it the third elimination of this season's NHL playoffs, as the Vegas Golden Knights hold a 3-1 lead over the San Jose Sharks entering Game 5 in San Jose.
The Golden Knights, who reached the Stanley Cup Final in the franchise's first season last year, have got off to another strong start this postseason. After dropping the series opener at SAP Center, Vegas has responded with three straight wins, outscoring the Sharks 16-6 in those victories.
Vegas' offense is clicking, with the Golden Knights having scored at least five goals in each of their past three games. But they are not thinking about their advantage entering the potential final game of the series.
"We need to forget about this [Game 4] win," Vegas left wing Max Pacioretty said, according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com). "We are going into the next game knowing that from the start, they are going to give it their all, so we need to be ready for that, and we need to match their intensity next game."
The St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets will play a crucial Game 5 in Winnipeg after splitting the first four games of the series. The Blues took the first two games in Winnipeg, but the Jets bounced back to win two in St. Louis, including an overtime victory in Game 4.
"Every game has been a battle," Winnipeg center Mark Scheifele said, according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com). "St. Louis has made us work for every inch, and we know that's going to happen again in Game 5 going back home. We've got to be prepared. We've got to get our rest and be ready to battle."
In Thursday's first matchup, the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals will look to extend their series lead against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Capitals won the first two games at home, but they lost at Carolina in Game 3 on Monday.
Although Washington has a 2-1 lead, Carolina has proved to be a worthy competitor, taking the Caps to overtime in Game 2 and winning Game 3 5-0.
"You're obviously going to have your ups and downs through the playoffs, highs and lows, but overall you've just got to make sure you manage the game and make sure you do the right things at the right time," Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom said, per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com). "As this group maybe proved last year, we kept calm. If anything happens—you score a goal or you let in a goal—you've got to keep calm."