In a day jam-packed with Game 7s, Carolina, Tampa Bay, and Edmonton all advanced while Boston, Toronto, and Los Angeles will all hit the golf course. Let's run down the three games that were played.
Hurricanes 3, Bruins 2 (Hurricanes win series 4-3)
After being acquired from the Blue Jackets, Max Domi scored two goals in 19 games with the Hurricanes. He finished the regular season cold with just a single point (one of the goals) in his final five games. During the first six games of the series, he had just two assists and was averaging between 8 to 12 minutes per game. Not exactly a player that stood out until Game 7.
In Game 7s, unexpected heroes can emerge. Domi was Carolina's savior in Game 7, scoring a pair of goals and adding an assist with a plus-3 and three shots. He played just 12:55 in this game and has seen almost no power-play time during the playoffs. Yet his deployment with Vincent Trocheck and Teuvo Teravainen at even strength seems favorable when it comes to picking up points.
The Hurricanes will now face the winner of the Rangers/Penguins series, with Game 7 to be played tonight.
Is this a captain simply thanking his teammates for the season, or is there something more to this? Patrice Bergeron's contract is set to expire, so the most significant offseason question for the Bruins is what he decides with his future. A Bergeron loss would have a huge ripple effect on the Bruins from long-time wingers Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak all the way down the lineup because the captain will be so difficult to replace. If Bergeron returns, he definitely has some mileage left, even at age 36.
Lightning 2, Maple Leafs 1 (Lightning win series 4-3)
If you're a diehard Leafs fan waiting for a playoff series win, let alone a Stanley Cup, the wait will last at least one more season. If there's any solace for Leafs fans, it's that they seemed to match the Lightning punch for punch in this series, and they may have even been the better team. These were two evenly-matched teams that went to a Game 7, even though it will seem like another missed opportunity for the Leafs. Even though the Lightning are widely considered to be weary from two Stanley Cup runs, they are still the two-time defending champions and not an ideal matchup for the Leafs. I'm sure you'll be able to find hundreds of op