Five of six teams, including the No. 12-seeded Montreal Canadiens and Chicago Blackhawks, won their Stanley Cup Qualifiers series on Friday.
If not for an incredible comeback by the Toronto Maple Leafs, it would have been the second time in NHL history six postseason series ended on the same day; the first was April 12, 1986, in the Division Semifinals, the last time the League had best-of-5 series until this season.
But the Maple Leafs staged a late third-period comeback and defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 in overtime to win Game 4 and extend that series at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
The New York Islanders won their series when they defeated the Florida Panthers 5-1 in Game 4 in Toronto, the hub city for the Eastern Conference.
In the second Game 4 on Friday, the Arizona Coyotes won their first postseason series since 2012 with a 4-3 overtime win against the Nashville Predators at Rogers Place in Edmonton, the hub city for the Western Conference.
The Canadiens, who had the lowest points percentage (.500) of the 24 teams to make the postseason, then defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-0 in Game 4 in Toronto to advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Blackhawks, the lowest seed in the West, defeated the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 in Game 4 in Edmonton to win their first postseason series since winning the Stanley Cup in 2015.
In the final game of the day, the Vancouver Canucks scored 11 seconds into overtime for a 5-4 win that eliminated the Minnesota Wild in Edmonton. Christopher Tanev‘s goal, two seconds from the fastest OT goal in NHL history, gave the Canucks their first series win since the 2011 Western Conference Final.
The Carolina Hurricanes, who swept the New York Rangers, and Calgary Flames, who defeated the Winnipeg Jets in four games, had already advanced.
The six teams to win their Division Semifinal series on the same day in 1986 were the Canadiens, Oilers, Flames, Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals and Hartford Whalers.
The NHL went to the best-of-5 series format this season as part of its Return to Play Plan. The top 12 teams from each conference based on points percentage made the postseason, with the top four teams playing a round-robin to determine seeding for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The other teams are playing in eight best-of-5 series — four in each conference — with the winners advancing to the first round of the Playoffs.