The conference finals round of the NHL playoffs began on May 9. On Thursday, it could be half over.
The Boston Bruins will look to complete a sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference on Thursday night after notching victories in the first three games, two at home and one on the road.
The Hurricanes were coming off a second-round sweep of the New York Islanders, but that momentum hasn't carried over into this series.
If the Bruins lose their first game of the series Thursday, they will still have a good chance to end it quickly, as they are set to return home for Game 5 on Saturday night.
As for the Western Conference Final, the San Jose Sharks took a 2-1 lead on Wednesday night with an overtime road victory over the St. Louis Blues. Unlike the East, though, this series could go deep before getting decided.
Conference Finals Scores, Standings
*If necessary. All times ET.
Game 1: Boston 5, Carolina 2
Game 2: Boston 6, Carolina 2
Game 3: Boston 2, Carolina 1
Game 4: Boston at Carolina, Thursday at 8 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Game 5: Carolina at Boston, Saturday at 7:15 p.m., NBC*
Game 6: Boston at Carolina, Monday at 8 p.m., NBC Sports Network*
Game 7: Carolina at Boston, Wednesday at 8 p.m., NBC Sports Network*
Game 1: San Jose 6, St. Louis 3
Game 2: St. Louis 4, San Jose 2
Game 3: San Jose 5, St. Louis 4 (OT)
Game 4: San Jose at St. Louis, Friday at 8 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Game 5: St. Louis at San Jose, Sunday at 3 p.m., NBC
Game 6: San Jose at St. Louis, Tuesday at 8 p.m., NBC Sports Network*
Game 7: St. Louis at San Jose, May 23 at 9 p.m., NBC Sports Network*
Boston Finishes the Series in Game 4
It took the Bruins seven games to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round and then six games to take down the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second round. The Eastern Conference Final will be much shorter.
In fact, Boston is going to advance to the Stanley Cup Final with a Game 4 win at Carolina on Thursday night. This will mark the Bruins' first trip to the NHL's showpiece event since 2013, when they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks.
"You have to embrace the position you're in, be humble about it, but you have to earn everything that you want to accomplish," Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara said, according to NHL.com's Dan Rosen. "You can't just rely on it just happening."
The Bruins have won six straight games since falling behind the Blue Jackets 2-1 in the second round. In that stretch, they have outscored their opponents 24-9, scoring four or more goals in four of those six games.
Don't expect Boston's momentum to slow now as it rolls into the Stanley Cup Final.
St. Louis Wins a 7-game Series
Game 3 was a heartbreaker for the Blues. The Sharks tied the game at four with 1:01 to go in the third period and won it 5:23 into overtime.
St. Louis was closing in on a 2-1 series lead. Now, it faces a 2-1 deficit.
"We've got to move on and get ready for Game 4," Blues coach Craig Berube said, according to NHL.com's Tim Campbell. "Really, that's all you can do. We played a solid hockey game, but we're on the losing end of it, and there's nothing we can do about what happened. We just have to move on."
The Blues have been too resilient this postseason to not come back. They beat the Winnipeg Jets in six games in the first round and the Dallas Stars in seven games in the second round. They are going to bounce back with a Game 4 win before going on to take the series.
San Jose has home-ice advantage for Games 5 and 7, but that should work out well for the Blues, who are 6-2 on the road this postseason.