NHL Playoffs 2020: Updated Bracket After Thursday's Results

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorSeptember 4, 2020

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko watches the puck during the third period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019. The Penguins won 8-6. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

The Tampa Bay Lightning will have to wait even longer to see who will join them in the NHL's conference finals round after the Philadelphia Flyers and Vancouver Canucks each forced a Game 7 in their respective second-round playoff series on Thursday.

The Lightning, who beat the Boston Bruins four games to one in the East semis, will play the winner of the Flyers vs. New York Islanders matchup after Philadelphia took Game 6 with a 5-4 double overtime win.

In the West, the Canucks topped the Vegas Golden Knights in a 4-0 Game 6 victory. The winner of that matchup will take on the victor in the Colorado Avalanche vs. Dallas Stars series.

Oddly enough, the Canucks, Avs and Flyers all have a chance to win their semis after finding themselves down 3-1 in their best-of-seven matchups.

We'll soon find out if each of them can finish the job, but for now, here's a look at the latest playoff bracket, recaps of Thursday's action and a look ahead at what's next on the playoff schedule.


NHL Bracket

Eastern Conference First Round

1. Philadelphia Flyers def. 8. Montreal Canadiens, 4-2

2. Tampa Bay Lightning def. 7. Columbus Blue Jackets, 4-1

6. New York Islanders def. 3. Washington Capitals, 4-1

4. Boston Bruins def. 5. Carolina Hurricanes, 4-1


Eastern Conference Semifinals

2. Tampa Bay Lightning def. 4. Boston Bruins, 4-1

6. New York Islanders tied with 1. Philadelphia Flyers, 3-3


Eastern Conference Finals

2. Tampa Bay Lightning vs. 6. New York Islanders or 1. Philadelphia Flyers


Western Conference First Round

1. Vegas Golden Knights def. 8. Chicago Blackhawks, 4-1

2. Colorado Avalanche def. 7. Arizona Coyotes, 4-1

3. Dallas Stars def. 6. Calgary Flames, 4-2

5. Vancouver Canucks def. 4. St. Louis Blues, 4-2


Western Conference Semifinals

1. Vegas Golden Knights tied with 5. Vancouver Canucks, 3-3

3. Dallas Stars tied with 2. Colorado Avalanche, 3-3


Western Conference Final

1. Vegas Golden Knights or 5. Vancouver Canucks vs. 2. Colorado Avalanche or 3. Dallas Stars


Stanley Cup Final

Eastern Conference winner vs. Western Conference winner



Flyers 5, Islanders 4 (2 OT)

Ivan Provorov scored the game-winner at 15:03 of the second overtime as the Flyers forced a series-deciding Game 7 in their second-round Eastern Conference playoff series with the Islanders.

Philadelphia Flyers @NHLFlyers

Provy in the clutch punches our ticket to Game 7. 👊 #AnytimeAnywhere | #PHIvsNYI https://t.co/Qoenvifhg6

Carter Hart made 49 saves for the Flyers, who have won all three of their playoff games versus the Islanders in overtime or double overtime.

Philadelphia opened the game with two goals off tallies from Kevin Hayes and James van Riemsdyk.

Philadelphia Flyers @NHLFlyers

These two goals aren’t even close to being the best thing about that first period. #AnytimeAnywhere | #PHIvsNYI https://t.co/qmxGIajwVK

The Islanders responded before the first intermission as Derick Brassard's goal cut the lead in half.

New York Islanders @NYIslanders

The pass from Brock. The redirect from Brassard. https://t.co/SRnzomU60G

The Isles then started the second on fire with goals from Matt Martin and Anders Lee in the first 3:06 of the period.

New York Islanders @NYIslanders

Martin with his fourth of the postseason! https://t.co/LyIOf2qwio

New York Islanders @NYIslanders

It's a POWER-PLAY GOAL! 🚨 https://t.co/Q8UxodKAoH

Ten minutes later, though, Michael Raffl knotted the game at three:

Philadelphia Flyers @NHLFlyers

slam dunk. #AnytimeAnywhere | #PHIvsNYI https://t.co/2uJuUrGOQg

It looked as though the game would stay that way heading into the final period, but the Isles' Mathew Barzal had other plans:

New York Islanders @NYIslanders

F I L T H Y https://t.co/BvkKuubE0m

The Islanders held the lead for much of the first half of the third period, but a turnover in their end culminated in disaster. Scott Laughton was unleashed on a breakaway and put home a goal to tie the game at four:

Philadelphia Flyers @NHLFlyers

Sarge forced OT. Now, who is gonna be the hero? #AnytimeAnywhere | #PHIvsNYI https://t.co/Lia9IdTdvm

Laughton scored the Game 5 OT winner and was one of the heroes again Thursday.

The two teams would enter overtime tied at four, and it stayed that way in the second overtime largely because Hart made an incredible save to preserve his team's postseason life:

Philadelphia Flyers @NHLFlyers

hart stopping. #AnytimeAnywhere | #PHIvsNYI https://t.co/RyC86Hr7nL

In the second overtime, the Flyers were inches away from winning midway through the period:

Philadelphia Flyers @NHLFlyers

Inches away from Game 7. Let's get there. 8:16 remains in 2OT. #AnytimeAnywhere | #PHIvsNYI https://t.co/0WNqF7MQe1

That didn't matter, though, as Provorov sent the Flyers home happy with his game-winner.


Canucks 4, Golden Knights 0

The legend of Thatcher Demko continued on Thursday as the backup Canucks goalie engineered a 48-save shutout in a 4-0 win over the Golden Knights.

Demko took over for an injured Jacob Markstrom before Game 5 and made 42 saves in a 2-1 win. The Golden Knights outshot the Canucks 43-17 in that game and lost, and they outshot Vancouver 48-23 in Game 6 and lost.

That's because Demko has morphed into a combination of Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy. 

A litany of stats showcase how well the rookie has performed. Three of them are below:

StatsCentre @StatsCentre

Giving an outstanding performance in helping the @Canucks stay ahead before breaking out to a 4-0 lead in the 3rd period, Thatcher Demko denied all 48 Golden Knights shots in Gm6 tonight. With it, he posted the most on this list of shutout save totals that didn't require overtime https://t.co/bRjrwOTLQd

NHL Public Relations @PR_NHL

Thatcher Demko joined Jacques Plante (Game 6 of 1953 SF) and Steve Shields (Game 6 of 1997 CQF) as the third rookie goaltender in NHL history to post a shutout that evidently helped his team force a #Game7. #NHLStats #StanleyCup https://t.co/8jImx6pJKu

Israel Fehr @israelfehr

Thatcher Demko's playoff Goals Saved Above Average: 7.19 Jordan Binnington's playoff Goals Saved Above Average: -9.06 (Stick tap @NatStatTrick.)

The Canucks relied heavily on Demko in the first two periods as they could only muster one goal, a score from Jake Virtanen 2:50 into the first period:

Vancouver #Canucks @Canucks

Of the 18 combined shots in the 1st period, this is the only one that found the back of the net 🔥 It's 1-0 #Canucks after 20. https://t.co/0ltYCgKvnO

Demko did his part on the other end:

Vancouver #Canucks @Canucks

Thatcher Demko: sharp early ❌🚨❌ https://t.co/so7PRHIEfg

Quinn Hughes and J.T. Miller combined to make it 2-0 when the former player did the heavy lifting before finding his teammate for a nifty goal:

Vancouver #Canucks @Canucks

19 shots, 19 saves. Demko, so hot right now. https://t.co/tKVjUyPdrn

Hughes later took care of business himself by letting this shot fly for the third goal of the game:

Vancouver #Canucks @Canucks

Quinn Hughes deserves two 🍎🍏 for this set-up. WOW. https://t.co/q34fnFanms

With that goal, Hughes overtook a fellow rookie defenseman in Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche for the all-time record for most playoff points by a first-year blue-liner:

Vancouver #Canucks @Canucks

Absolutely wired it. 🚀🚨 https://t.co/iiiTi8b71g

Bo Horvat closed the scoring with an empty-netter for his 10th goal of the playoffs.


What's Next?

The Stars and Avalanche will play their Game 7 matchup on Friday at 4 p.m. ET. USA Network will be the television home for that one.

The Knights and Canucks have a quick turnaround and will also play Friday. Their game will be at 9 p.m. ET, with NBC Sports Network televising the game.

The Islanders and Flyers will finish their series on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on NBC.