All 4 division winners have been eliminated in the 1st round of the playoffs.
That’s right, you heard correctly. All four division winners were defeated by wild-card teams. It’s the first time in league history that every division winner has been eliminated in the opening round. In fact, only three of the top 10 teams in the league remain in the hunt for the Cup.
This is the first time in major North American pro sports history (NHL/NBA/MLB/NFL) that every division winner was eliminated in their opening series /game
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) April 25, 2019
The Atlantic division winners, the Tampa Bay Lightning, were swept in four games by the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Pacific’s Calgary Flames were the next, falling in five games to the Colorado Avalanche, followed by the Central’s Nashville Predators losing in six to the Dallas Stars. And last night, the Metropolitan winners and defending Stanley Cup-champion Washington Capitals lost in a double-overtime to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Columbus may be having the best series of these playoffs so far, as they were able to come back from a 3-0 Game 1 deficit against the top-seeded and Stanley Cup favorite Tampa Bay Lightning to win 4-3 and then win the next three games of the series for the sweep.
Columbus will face the Boston Bruins and the Stars will face the St. Louis Blues in the second round starting Thursday. The Hurricanes will open their series against the Islanders and the Avalanche will face the San Jose Sharks on Friday Friday.