Around the Rink – Saturday, October 30

There’s a whopping 14 games today, so these previews will be a little shorter than usual. All start times are Eastern (ET).

7:00 pm

Boston @ Ottawa

Check out this nugget: Tim Thomas is the first Bruins goalie to go 5-0 since Tiny Thompson did it in the 1937-38 season. Gotta love those old nicknames, right?

NY Islanders @ Philadelphia

The Islanders are turning some corners this season, but how about this one: if they beat the Flyers tonight, they’ll end a 10 game losing streak in Philly.

Nashville @ Detroit

This is a big one; the Predators are barely in the Central Division lead (5-1-3 in nine games) ahead of a highly competitive bunch of teams in the division including the Red Wings (5-2-1 in eight games).

NY Rangers @ Toronto

Both teams have been on hot streaks this season, but now they’re right about where they should be: in hockey purgatory.

Florida @ Montreal

The Canadiens are the top team in the NHL right now, which is surprising; the Panthers are in the cellar already, which is far from surprising. Naturally, Florida will probably do the NHL thing and surprise us by winning, then.

Pittsburgh @ Carolina

The Penguins are hoping to halt a three-game losing streak, but the best news is that they likely won’t start Marc-Andre Fleury (1-5) since it’s a back to back and they won’t play at their new home in the Consol Energy Center (2-4) since they’re about to begin a road trip.

8:00 pm

Atlanta @ St. Louis

Two of the league’s most improved teams appear in this one, with Ondrej Pavelec getting his first start since that scary collapse.

Buffalo @ Dallas

Two of the league’s worst defensive units play in front of two workhorse goalies (if Kari Lehtonen and Ryan Miller start) in one of those “something has to give” games.

Chicago @ Minnesota

The Blackhawks are struggling right now, but they’ve been strong in Minnesota lately (3-0-1 in their last four games).

9:00 pm

Tampa Bay @ Phoenix

It’s a clash of non-traditional markets and disparate styles in this one, as the high-powered Lightning take on the defense-first Coyotes.

Columbus @ Colorado

The Blue Jackets will try to start the season 4-0 on the road for the first time in franchise history while the Avalanche open a four game homestand. Should be an interesting one.

10:00 pm

Washington @ Calgary

Both teams have identical records: 6-4-0 in 10 games for 12 points. The Flames are on fire while the Capitals are struggling, making this one intriguing.

10:30 pm

New Jersey @ Los Angeles

Ilya Kovalchuk travels to Los Angeles for the first time since he decided to stick with the Devils instead of the Kings. As Rudy Kelly points out, though, it’s hard to argue with the $22 million extra he’ll make to stay in Newark … but will that stop him from being booed?

Anaheim @ San Jose

It’s a good old Battle of California, as the struggling Sharks (4-3-1) host the near-awful Ducks (4-6-1).

WATCH LIVE: Game 2 of Islanders – Lightning, Penguins – Capitals

Washington Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie (77) starts to celebrate his goal against Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray (30) and Kris Letang (58) during the second period of Game 1 in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinals Thursday, April 28, 2016 in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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The Stanley Cup playoffs continue with two games on Saturday. You can catch tonight’s games via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.

Can Sidney Crosby and the Penguins even things up against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals? Will the Lightning avoid dropping both games at home against the Islanders? We’ll find out on NBC.

NY Islanders at Tampa Bay (3:00 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 2 will be on NBC. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

Pittsburgh at Washington (8:00 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 2 will also be on NBC. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

Some reading to get you pumped up:

– The Penguins are keeping chatty Marc-Andre Fleury from speaking to the media(reportedly).

Tom Wilson received a fine, not a suspension, for that knee-to-knee hit.

T.J. Oshie was the difference-maker for Washington in Game 1.

– Don’t expect Steven Stamkos to face red-hot John Tavares anytime soon (or at all, maybe).

Read about the Isles’ Game 1 win

With Eaves injured, Nichushkin will play for Stars in Game 2

Dallas Stars right wing Valeri Nichushkin (43) takes control of the puck in front of St. Louis Blues center Jori Lehtera (12) during the third period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 3-0. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Patrick Eaves won’t be able to play for the Dallas Stars against the St. Louis Blues in their upcoming Game 2.

The last time we saw Eaves, he was leaving the ice by gliding on one foot after being hit by a teammate’s shot. He needed help to the locker room and was seen on crutches according to Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News.

The bad news is that Eaves cannot go. The good news is that the Stars can replace him with a player who boasts considerable offensive skill, as Valeri Nichushkin will take Eaves’ place.

Nichushkin wasn’t very effective in five postseason games so far, failing to score a point and only managed three shots on goal.

Still, if the frenetic pace of Game 1 carries on through this series, Nichushkin could very well make an impact.

Update: the Stars have other options at forward after making recalls:

Sheary’s in for Penguins in Game 2; Kunitz is a game-time decision

Pittsburgh Penguins' Conor Sheary (43) is greeted by teammates Brian Dumoulin (8) and Chris Kunitz (14) after scoring his first NHL goal, in the first period of the Penguins' hockey game against the Boston Bruins, Friday, Dec. 18, 2015, in Pittsburgh. Bruins' Brad Marchand is at lower right. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
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Both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals might look a little different in Game 2 on Saturday after that blistering Game 1.

As the team down 1-0, it’s not too surprising that the Penguins boast the more significant lineup questions, although they lean toward health concerns rather than performance tweaks.

Conor Sheary was able to return during Game 1 after Tom Wilson‘s controversial knee-to-knee hit, and he appears to be in for tonight’s contest as well. Chris Kunitz isn’t quite a guarantee, as he’s currently labeled a game-time decision.

For what it’s worth, Kunitz himself believes he’ll be in. Whether he plays on Saturday or not, it sounds like Kunitz is taking extra safety measures going forward.

The Penguins stayed vague with Marc-Andre Fleury, merely claiming that he’s making “progress.”

Generally speaking, Matt Murray has been playing well for the Penguins. Of course, the scrutiny will rise if Pittsburgh loses Game 2 on Saturday.

The Capitals are also considering a tweak. CSN Mid-Atlantic reports that Barry Trotz is pondering replacing Dmitry Orlov with Taylor Chorney.

“They told me to be prepared as if I’m going to be playing,” Chorney said. “We’ll just see how it goes.”

As you may notice, Chorney isn’t the only one in wait-and-see mode heading into Game 2, which you can watch on NBC.

Hitchcock, Blues know they need to slow down the Stars … but can they?

The puck shot by Dallas Stars left wing Antoine Roussel crosses the goal line as St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott (1) and defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (19) attempt the stop during the second period of Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinals, Friday, April 29, 2016, in Dallas. The Stars won 2-1. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
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The Dallas Stars only beat the St. Louis Blues by one goal (2-1) in Game 1, but the feeling is that the score was deceptively close.

Blame it on fatigue from that epic series against the Chicago Blackhawks or not; the Blues looked out of rhythm and out of breath against the hard-charging Stars.

At least they’re not in denial about that, though.

“We’re not going to beat anybody giving up 40 shots on goal,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after their Game 1 loss on Friday. “We’re not going to beat anybody giving up the scoring chances we did today.”

Hitchcock added “we’ve got to find the energy to play our game, and we’ve got to find it quickly in the next 48 hours.”

Allowing 40 shots on goal might not be that common for the Blues, yet they leaned heavily on Brian Elliott against the Blackhawks in that series.

Just look at the SOG comparison in that series and in Game 1 vs. Dallas:

Game 1: Blues – 18 SOG, Blackhawks – 35
Game 2: Blues – 31, Blackhawks – 29
Game 3: Blues – 36, Blackhawks – 46
Game 4: Blues – 20, Blackhawks – 42
Game 5: Blues – 46, Blackhawks – 35
Game 6: Blues – 28, Blachawks – 36
Game 7: Blues – 26, Blackhawks – 33

Game 1: Blues – 32, Stars – 42

Such shot comparisons make you wonder if Game 1 provided evidence of a rest advantage or if this might just be the state of affairs for the Blues (at least against two electric offenses).

One area to watch is the transition game. The Stars seemed to tear through the neutral zone while the Blues sometimes struggled to get things going.

“They’re a team that wants to play real fast up the ice and through the neutral zone,” Jay Bouwmeester said, via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Yeah, we didn’t do a very good job of slowing them down. A lot of their chances were off the rush. That’s what you want to take away from them.”

File that under “easier said than done.”