The NHL Playoffs Just Gave Us an Astonishing First in Major North American Sports History

April 25, 2019

Something happened Wednesday night that's never happened before in any major professional sport on this continent.

The Carolina Hurricanes tied Game 7 in the third period and won the series with a goal in the second overtime to stun the Washington Capitals, 4-3, and eliminate the defending Stanley Cup champions from the NHL playoffs.

That means all four of the NHL's regular-season division winners failed to advance out of the first round of the postseason. 

It's the first time in major North American pro sports history (NHL/NBA/MLB/NFL) that every division winner lost its opening playoff series or game. 

The Hurricanes beating the Capitals comes after the Columbus Blue Jackets swept the Presidents' Trophy-winning (best regular-season record) Tampa Bay Lightning, the Colorado Avalanche closed out the Western Conference top seed Calgary Flames in five games and the Nashville Predators lost to the Dallas Stars in six games.

Welcome to the wild-card Stanley Cup playoffs.