And then there were four.
Each division had one team still alive in the postseason entering the Stanley Cup semifinals. The semifinal squads included the reigning Stanley Cup champions (Tampa Bay Lightning), the team that tied for the best regular-season record (Vegas Golden Knights), one of the best defensive groups (New York Islanders) and the team that had the worst record out of any playoff team (Montreal Canadiens).
That’s right, the Canadiens are still around. After upsetting the Toronto Maple Leafs and sweeping the Winnipeg Jets, the Canadiens took on the Golden Knights, who knocked off the Colorado Avalanche in the second round by winning four straight games. Montreal is the only team that was not a part of last year’s conference finals in the bubble, as Vegas made it to the Western Conference Final before falling to the Dallas Stars.
The Lightning and Islanders met in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Final, where the Lightning beat the Isles 4-2 en route to their Stanley Cup win. The Islanders knocked off the Boston Bruins 4-2 in the second round, while the Lightning beat the Carolina Hurricanes in five games.
Here is the schedule for the semifinals of the 2021 NHL playoffs:
New York Islanders vs. Tampa Bay Lightning -- livestream for series
Lightning win series 4-3
Game 1: Sunday, June 13 -- Islanders 2, Lightning 1
Game 2: Tuesday, June 15 -- Lightning 4, Islanders 2
Game 3: Thursday, June 17 -- Lightning 2, Islanders 1
Game 4: Saturday, June 19 -- Islanders 3, Lightning 2
Game 5: Monday, June 21 -- Lightning 8, Islanders 0
Game 6: Wednesday, June 23 -- Islanders 3, Lightning 2 (OT)
Game 7: Friday, June 25 -- Lightning 1, Islanders 0
Montreal Canadiens vs. Vegas Golden Knights -- livestream for series
Canadiens win series 4-2
Game 1: Monday, June 14 -- Golden Knights 4, Canadiens 1
Game 2: Wednesday, June 16 -- Canadiens 3, Golden Knights 2
Game 3: Friday, June 18 -- Canadiens 3, Golden Knights 2 (OT)
Game 4: Sunday, June 20 -- Golden Knights 2, Canadiens 1 (OT)
Game 5: Tuesday, June 22 -- Canadiens 4, Golden Knights 1
Game 6: Thursday, June 24 -- Canadiens 3, Golden Knights 2 (OT)