Tonight's playoff games

Let’s take a look at tonight’s games.

Montreal Canadiens at Washington Capitals 7:00 PM ET (Versus, TSN, CSN Mid-Atlantic)

Capitals lead series 3-1

It’s funny to think that the last time the series was in Washington, the Caps needed a desperate surge to tie the series in overtime. Perhaps without the pressure of pleasing their rabid fan base, the Capitals took care of business in Montreal and it might just be a matter of time before the Canadiens are out of the playoffs.

Boston Bruins at Buffalo Sabres 7:00 PM ET (CBC, NESN, MSG)

Bruins lead series 3-1

In two days, the Eastern Conference’s second and third seeds could be goners. Pretty mind blowing when we (along with many others) chronicled the conference’s lower seed races with our tongues planted firmly in our cheeks. Is it unfair to say that the series changed completely when Thomas Vanek was injured?

Los Angeles Kings at Vancouver Canucks 10:00 PM ET (CBC, FS West)

Series tied 2-2

It’s been a hotly contested series between the gritty, veteran Canucks and the young, tough Kings so far. Who’s going to take what is normally a pivotal Game 5? It should be absolutely fascinating to watch.

Detroit Red Wings at Phoenix Coyotes 10:00 PM ET (Versus, TSN, FS Detroit, FS Phoenix)

Series tied 2-2

This see-saw series keeps people guessing. Just when it looked like the Coyotes were going to take control of the series, Detroit dominated them in a Game 4 at Joe Louis Arena. Just when it seemed like Ilya Bryzgalov would outclass rookie Jimmy Howard, the tide turned. There’s no guarantee that the Coyotes will play another playoff game at home, so expect their fans to be in a frenzy.

Sens demote former first-rounder Puempel

Matt Puempel
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Looks like Matt Puempel won’t be making the leap after all.

Puempel, the subject of Ottawa’s “looking to make the leap” profile during our Team of the Day series, has been sent down to AHL Binghamton one day prior to the Sens’ opener against Buffalo.

Puempel, taken by Ottawa in the first round (24th overall) at the ’11 draft, made his big-league debut last season and looked as though he’d stick around — only to suffer a high ankle sprain after 13 games, and miss the rest of the season.

The 22-year-old came into this year’s camp looking to secure a full-time position at the big league level, but was beaten out by Shane Prince for the final forward spot on the roster.

To be fair, contract status probably played a role. Prince would’ve had to clear waivers to get down to Bingo, whereas Puempel didn’t.

A former 30-goal scorer in the American League, Puempel is expected to get another look with Ottawa this season.

Report: Torres won’t appeal 41-game suspension


Sounds like Raffi Torres is accepting his punishment.

Per Sportsnet, Torres won’t appeal his 41-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The report comes just days after the NHL’s Department of Player Safety levied one of the longest disciplinary rulings in league history, citing both the severity of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ lengthy history of suspensions, fines and warnings.

There was some thought, however, that Torres would try to challenge the ruling.


He does have a history of success in that department. In 2012,Torres successfully appealed his suspension for a headshot on Chicago’s Marian Hossa, and had his punishment reduced from 25 games to 21.

Torres also isn’t considered a “repeat offender” under the current collective bargaining agreement, as his last suspension came in 2013.

Of course, part of that clean record is due to the fact he hasn’t played much. Torres has largely been sidelined by injury for the last two seasons, missing all of last year with knee problems.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman delved further into the repeat offender thing in his latest 30 Thoughts column:

If you read the relevant sections of the CBA, the league takes the position that the repeat offender status is only applicable to fines. Repeaters are fined on a per-game basis, non-repeaters on a per-day basis. (The former is more expensive, because there are fewer games than days in an NHL season.) However, if you go to Section 18.2, among the factors taken into account are, “the status of the offender and, specifically, whether the Player has a history of being subject to Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct.”

So, in the NHL’s view, a player’s history is relevant, even if longer than 18 months ago.

Should the report prove accurate and Torres doesn’t appeal, he will be eligible to return to action on Jan. 14, when the Sharks take on the Oilers.