This has been a beautiful first week of the playoffs. Tonight we have three games and all of them will break 1-1 ties. Every single one of these games could be pivotal (although Game 5’s tend to be bigger). Let’s take a look at the three games we have to look forward to.
(1) Washington Capitals vs. (8) Montreal Canadiens 7:00 PM EDT (TSN, CSN Mid-Atlantic)
Game 2 was, by my estimation, insane. Scott Gomez fought Tom Poti. The Canadiens began the game 4-1 only for the Capitals to tie it up by going 4-1 right back at them (then Backstrom scored the OT GWG, obviously). Both Andrei Kostitsyn and Nicklas Backstrom scored a hat trick and Jose Theodore went 0-for-2. Just a weird, weird game. If the switch to Montreal can maintain the oddness, it could be an awful lot of fun.
(3) Buffalo Sabres vs. (6) Boston Bruins 7:00 PM EDT (Versus, CBC, MSG, NESN)
Perhaps the Boston Bruins transmitted their injury bug to the Buffalo Sabres. Buffalo will be without their best goal scorer, Thomas Vanek, for at least tonight’s game. Drew Stafford’s return might soothe the pain (slightly), but they need Vanek back. The one bit of good news: the Bruins aren’t very good at home with a 18-17-6 record in Boston. Should be interesting to watch.
(3) Vancouver Canucks vs. (6) Los Angeles Kings 10:00 PM EDT (Versus, CBC, FS West)
The Kings haven’t hosted a playoff game since 2001-02 so … yeah, this should be a pretty big deal. The best part of it for Los Angeles fans is that their team has at least a reasonable chance; after all, they were able to come back from an 0-2 deficit to take Game 2. Will the Kings do well in their “Back in Black” Gretzky-era knock-offs? We’ll have to wait and see.
Mike Ribeiro isn’t playing in Game 3 for the Nashville Predators against the San Jose Sharks, and it doesn’t appear to be for health reasons.
Well, his production hasn’t been very healthy.
The polarizing playmaker has only mustered a single assist and zero goals in nine playoff games; Ribeiro hasn’t scored a point against the Sharks so far.
Ribeiro isn’t exactly known for his offensive acumen, either, so there’s not much motivation to keep him in the lineup if he isn’t producing offense. Ultimately, it’s easy to see why he’s a healthy scratch.
Pontus Aberg looks to make his NHL debut via this big playoff game while Craig Smith is believed to play.
It should be interesting to see how Nashville responds to this challenge.
The Nashville Predators hope to get back in their series now that the San Jose Sharks are visiting “Smashville.” Meanwhile, the Dallas Stars and Blues jostle for a 2-1 lead in St. Louis.
You can keep up with Game 3 of the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders (which is in progress) right here and on NBCSN.
Game 3 of Sharks – Predators is on USA Network and can be streamed via the link below.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Finally, Game 3 of Stars – Blues airs on NBCSN. Keep an eye out for notes if there’s overlap with Bolts – Isles (which would bump it temporarily to NHL Network), but either way, you can stream the action below.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Jonathan Drouin‘s strong playoff play has been a big story for the Tampa Bay Lightning, but his health is in question after taking a huge hit on Tuesday.
As you can see from the video above, Drouin was shaken up by an enormous check from New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey. It’s believed that Drouin went to “The Quiet Room” to see if he suffered a concussion; PHT will pass along whatever information becomes available.
(NHL teams aren’t exactly forthcoming with this information.)
The Islanders actually ended up with a power play from the fallout, as Hickey’s hit didn’t earn a penalty. The general reaction is that it wasn’t a dirty hit, yet some might disagree with that sentiment.
Update: Drouin didn’t come out during the beginning of the third period. He did, however, return midway through the final frame.
The NHL named the three finalists for the 2016 Foundation Player Award on Tuesday: Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano, New York Islanders forward Matt Martin and Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban.
The awarded is handed to “an NHL player who applies the core values of hockey — commitment, perseverance and teamwork — to enrich the lives of people in his community.”
The winner gets to hand $25K to the charity of his choice.