Tonight’s two games are only a half-hour apart, so I thought it would be prudent to discuss them together here. Let’s take a look at what’s at stake in each match.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Montreal Canadiens 7:00 PM ET (Versus, CBC)
Series tied 1-1
When Sidney Crosby was an awkward little Nova Scotia native, his favorite team was the Montreal Canadiens. Surely adulthood and bushels of cash will numb most of the emotions sports writers want to superimpose on him in this game, but that doesn’t change the fact that the atmosphere will be electric tonight. Game 3’s and 5’s can often be pivotal in a playoff series, so expect a good one. Can Jaroslav Halak stand tall once again? Will he need to?
San Jose Sharks at Detroit Red Wings 7:30 PM ET (TSN, CSN California, FS Detroit)
Sharks lead series 2-0
The Sharks must be satisfied after defending their home ice, but they’ve coughed up a 2-0 series lead before. Someone, somewhere is just waiting to write some kind of “The two Joes turn into average Joes at The Joe”-type headline. Bank on it.
It’ll be interesting to see if the wave of complaints (many justified) about officiating will play a role in this game. Will the whistles go the Red Wings way with all of that criticism and home ice advantage on their side? Should be an interesting one to watch, as Detroit needs to get back in this series.
It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.
To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:
The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)
That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:
They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.
Cheap shot on a superstar, a little uncalled goalie interference and presto – Blue Jackets win!
The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.
That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:
Coach Bylsma: Feel like after Jack's goal, the game changed for us. #gamechanger