Djurgården kept its playoff hopes alive with a Game 5 win over Luleå while Färjestad eliminated Brynäs and Skellefteå took a one-game lead in its series with Linköping.
Djurgården is starting to look like the team that reached the Elitserien finals last year but it might be too late for DIF to repeat the feat.
Djurgården struggled back from the brink of elimination in its series against Luleå, winning the last two games to close the gap to 3-2. The latest win came March 16 as Djurgården shut out Luleå 2-0 behind a 26-save performance from goalie Mark Owuya. Tim Eriksson and Daniel Brodin scored for DIF.
Kristoffer Ottosson put Djurgården back on the road March 14 as he scored twice to lead DIF to a 4-2 win. Luleå built a 2-0 lead on goals by Cam Abbott and Karl Fabricius, but DIF rallied starting the second period as Ottosson and Tjärnqvist scored to tie the game. Daniel Widing put DIF on top in the third period before Ottosson sealed the win.
Luleå looked as though it would sweep right into the semifinals. The No. 4 seed in the playoffs won the first three games of the series, taking the first two by 2-1 scores before putting DIF on the edge of elimination with a 3-1 win March 12.
No. 2 Färjestad became the first team to book its place in the semifinals as it eliminated Brynas 4-3 on March 16 in Game 5 of its series. Markus Paulsson scored the game-winning goal with 24 seconds left to play in regulation.
The Wolfpack opened the series with a 7-3 win March 8 and took Game 2 by a 3-2 score. Brynäs won Game 3 March 12 before Färjestad came back to win Game 4 on March 14 and set the table for the series win.
Färjestad is in the semifinals for the 11th time in the last 12 years. It had a streak of 10 consecutive semifinal appearances broken last year.
Skelleftea took a 3-2 lead in its series against Linköping after claiming a 3-1 win March 16 at home. Mikko Lehtonen, Erik Forsell and Hared Yagos all scored for SAIK.
by Chipp Reid
Mathias Tjärnqvist of Djurgården celebrates after he scored a goal in DIF's 4-2 victory over Luleå in the Elitserien playoffs. Bildbyrån photo