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From the Branches: Time to go home

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Three teams were eliminated yesterday, and two more could be today.

Columbus Blue Jackets v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Five Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

It’s elimination game time in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, with virtually every game on the schedule being win-or-go-home for someone. The Lightning ended the Blue Jackets’ postseason yesterday afternoon on a Brayden Point overtime goal (we’re all crying tears of sympathy on Columbus’s behalf, right? Yeah, didn’t think so. I’m sending Point a fruit basket). The Bruins beat the Hurricanes in five games, because sometimes wickedness triumphs in this world and we are powerless to stop it. Over in Edmonton, Nazem Kadri and the Avalanche stomped the Coyotes 7-1 and sent them packing—two of those goals were Naz’s, whose mittens are still nifty in blue and burgundy:

Today, both of the games on the schedule are elimination games; the Stars will try to keep the Flames from forcing a Game 7, and the Capitals will try to stay alive with a 3-1 series deficit against the Islanders (please, Caps, pull off the comeback and save us from the John Tavares takes this offseason). This is the best part of any playoff round—when any given win or loss means crushing someone’s dreams. It’s good hockey! Gotta crush some dreams to make an omelet, or whatever.

Today’s Games:

New York Islanders @ Washington Capitals (Islanders lead series 3-1) 8pm ET, NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS, NBCSWA, MSG, MSG+

Dallas Stars @ Calgary Flames (Stars lead series 3-2) 10:30pm ET, NBCSN, CBC, SN, SN360, TVAS, FS-SW

Today’s Links:

WEEI’s Hill: Family medical emergency led to Tuukka Rask’s exit from the bubble - Stanley Cup of Chowder
Based on conversations he had with Rask yesterday.

Down Goes Brown: Ranking the 25 most painful first-round losses of the cap era

Thompson 'too tired to count' saves in 1933 six-OT playoff marathon
Legendary hockey reporter Stan Fischler writes a weekly scrapbook for NHL.com. Fischler, known as "The Hockey Maven," shares his humor and insight with readers each Wednesday. Once a month, he will let a picture from his vast collection do the talking in his "Picture is Worth 100 Words" feature.

Brayden Point exacts revenge for last season’s playoff collapse as Lightning eliminate Blue Jackets 5-4 in Game 5 - Raw Charge
This time, talent wins out as Columbus is held to just one win.

Recap: Bruins eliminate Canes, advance to second round! - Stanley Cup of Chowder
The B’s power play sends Carolina home.

Avalanche become fourth team to eliminate opponent with second 7-1 victory over Arizona - Mile High Hockey
Three games into the Colorado Avalanche’s first round series, the Arizona Coyotes looked like they had signs of life following their pick-up of a 4-2 win.

I had always wondered exactly how the mic packs were affixed to players’ uniforms, and now I know!