The NHL qualifying round is almost over thanks to five teams punching their tickets to the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on what was dubbed "Elimination Friday." That name came from six Game 4 matchups, where one team was facing elimination from the qualifiers, and five of those teams with series leads were able to move on.
The one team with a series lead who'll have to play a Game 5 -- the Columbus Blue Jackets -- lost in the most thrilling game of the day, to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Columbus led 3-0 and had dominated for the first 56-plus minutes of the game, but the Leafs found some magic, playing in the Eastern Conference bubble in their home arena, and came up with three goals in the final four minutes of the game -- all with goalie Frederik Andersen pulled to send the game into overtime, before Auston Matthews won it, to give the Maple Leafs at least one more game in their season.
The day kicked off in Toronto, with the New York Islanders making short work of the Florida Panthers in a 5-1 win, in the most lopsided game of the day. Three of the games, including Columbus-Toronto, went to overtime. The Arizona Coyotes eliminated the Nashville Predators with an overtime winner from Brad Richardson, and Christopher Tanev lifted the Vancouver Canucks over the Minnesota Wild just 11 seconds into the extra frame to end a high scoring back-and-forth game.
The other two games on the schedule involved teams with aging three-time Stanley Cup-winning stars and both No. 12 seeds knocking out the No. 5 seeds. In the West, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane led the underdog Chicago Blackhawks past the high-powered Edmonton Oilers. Over in the East, the Montreal Canadiens, who had the lowest points percentage of the 24-teams in the bubbles, eliminated Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins, who had the most points of any team entering the Stanley Cup qualifiers.
Relive all of the action of the thrilling Game 4s below.
Friday's Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule:
- Game 4: Islanders 5, Panthers 1 | Islanders win series, 3-1
- Game 4: Coyotes 4, Predators 3 (OT) | Coyotes win series, 3-1
- Game 4: Canadiens 2, Penguins 0 | Canadiens win series, 3-1
- Game 4: Blackhawks 3, Oilers 2 | Blackhawks win series, 3-1
- Game 4: Maple Leafs 4, Blue Jackets 3 (OT) | Series tied, 2-2
- Game 4: Canucks 5, Wild 4 (OT) | Canucks win Series, 3-1