While Game 5 contests like tonight’s don’t always decide a series, teams who take 3-2 series leads move onto the next round almost 80 percent of the time. Sure, both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins have fought off series deficits in the first round, but each squad would love a little breathing room.
Tampa Bay @ Boston (Versus) – 8 p.m. ET; Series tied 2-2
Generally speaking, the Lightning have been the steadier of the two squads, with only Game 3’s effort being a bit disappointing. On the other hand, Boston has been borderline schizophrenic in this series. They flopped badly in Game 1, won a wild Game 2, played their typical defensively suffocating style in Game 3 and then went from way up to way down in game 4. No doubt about it, the Bruins will kick themselves even harder for squandering a 3-0 first period in Game 4 if they lose again in Game 5.
The biggest question for Tampa Bay is net. Will they go with the guy who brought them to the Eastern Conference finals yet finds himself faltering a bit at the moment (Dwayne Roloson) or the backup who didn’t allow a goal in relief duty in Game 4 (Mike Smith)? Lightning coach Guy Boucher is being coy about which goalie will start, but if I had to guess, I’d say he picks Roloson. We’ll find out soon enough, though.
Here are a few more stories to chew on as Game 5 approaches:
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.