Thursday presented a sort of staggered schedule for the NHL, with one Game 4 and two Game 5s on the slate.

After the Capitals got utterly demolished in their first game in Raleigh, they came out with a better performance in a tight Game 4, but still wound up on the losing end. The Hurricanes opened with a goal just seconds into the first period and had a raucous crowd behind them all night, and Petr Mrazek came up big to help them take a 2-1 win. As a result, the Canes head back to Washington with the series all knotted up.

The Blues managed to defeat the Jets in stunning fashion, erasing a two-goal deficit in the third period and scoring the winner with just 15 seconds remaining in regulation. The home team has yet to win a game in this series, but the Blues will have a chance to close out the series in St. Louis this weekend.

The Sharks, meanwhile, found themselves in the unenviable position of being down 3-1, but came through with the opportunity to save their season at home. Martin Jones finally looked solid in net as the Sharks powered their way to a 5-2 win in San Jose to force the series back to Vegas.

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NHL schedule for Thursday, April 18

Sharks send series back to Las Vegas

With their backs against the wall, the Sharks put together a very solid performance Thursday night to stay alive and send the series back to Vegas for Game 6. The Sharks put five goals on the scoreboard and, more importantly, got a rebound performance from Martin Jones in net during the 5-2 win. 

Jones had a massive save in the third period that helped the Sharks keep a one-goal lead. With the Golden Knights pushing, the goaltender went ahead and did this:

Tomas Hertl had two goals in the win.

Blues win just before the buzzer!

Holy smokes, what a finish in Winnipeg -- and not the kind the hometown fans wanted. The Blues scored three unanswered goals in the third period to mount a comeback win, forcing the Jets to the brink of elimination. The Blues tied the game with about six minutes remaining when Brayden Schenn scored this goal as the net was being dislodged.

The play was reviewed but the goal was upheld. According to the rulebook, it appeared to be the right call. 

Then, with just 15 seconds on the clock, Tyler Bozak delivered a saucer pass to the middle of the ice and Jaden Schwartz swatted it into the Winnipeg net for the winner.

Schwartz certainly picked a great spot to score his first goal of the series.

Sharks turn the tables

After getting scored on in the first 90 second in each of the past three games, the Sharks turned the tables on the Golden Knights and put up a quick goal against Vegas in Game 5. It was Tomas Hertl who scored just 1:16 into Thursday's game in San Jose, giving the Sharks a big boost in front of their home crowd in a must-win elimination game. 

The Sharks doubled down when Logan Couture buried a rebound on the doorstep later in the first period. 

Winnipeg doubles up in the 1st

Deadline addition Kevin Hayes is coming up big. A hard drive to the net helped Winnipeg double their lead to 2-0 in a tight Game 5.

Carolina holds on with Mrazek magic

Game 4 brought a thrilling finish in Carolina as Washington pushed to tie the game at 2-2. Unfortunately for the Caps, Petr Mrazek stood tall and was able to shut the door, even with some pretty good scoring chances. None of those chances were as threatening as this one: 

Thanks to Mrazek's strong finish, the Canes take two straight on home ice and head back to Washington with the series all evened up at 2-2. 

Something to keep an eye on: T.J. Oshie left Thursday's game late in the third period after this play:

Oshie was in a significant amount of pain after the collision and it looked to be an upper-body issue -- possibly a shoulder or collarbone injury. 

12 seconds in ...

Who would have thought that Winnipeg would be able to beat Carolina's start? Adam Lowry needed only 12 seconds to get the Jets on the board -- setting a franchise record for the fastest goal to start a playoff game. 

The Blues might not want to make a habit of leaving guys their own zip code in front of the net.

Carolina taking advantage

After the Hurricanes' quick start, Alex Ovechkin tallied a power play goal ... and you can probably guess where it came from. After the goal, Ovechkin had a little extra for the Carolina crowd, which booed him out of the gate following his fight with Andrei Svechnikov in Game 3. 

But the Hurricanes reclaimed the lead in the final minute of the period when they were able to take advantage of a bad change by the Capitals and execute some nice puck movement to spring Teuvo Teravainen.

Not exactly sure what Brooks Orpik was thinking there, but woof. Canes lead 2-1 after two. 

17 seconds in ...

... and Carolina has the lead. After a dominant Game 3, the Hurricanes are off to another strong start at home, and once again it's Warren Foegele. That's the rookie's third goal in the past two games and it gives the Canes an important early lead in what some might call a "must-win" game.