BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 31: Jochen Hecht #55 of the Buffalo Sabres looks to shoot in front of Milan Lucic #17 of the Boston Bruins on March 31, 2013 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

Rivalry Night on NBCSN: Bruins host Sabres days after tragedy

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Tonight the Boston Bruins will host the Buffalo Sabres at 7:30 p.m. ET at the TD Garden. The game will be on NBCSN and can be watched online.

It’s impossible to pretend that this is just another game and in equal measure, it is hard to judge a sporting event as important for Boston just days after the Boston Marathon bombings.

All the same, when the Bruins and Sabres play tonight, they will be trying to bring some joy to a wounded city by doing what they know best.

“In some sense, you feel a bit helpless as far as what you can do after the fact as far as action,” Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference told the Boston Globe. “We’ll do our job and make sure we’re there when people need us and think of anything possible we can do to help.”

“That is why we play: To entertain and bring joy to people’s lives,” Patrice Bergeron added in a CSN New England report.

Bergeron hasn’t played since April 2, but he is very likely to return on Wednesday.

The Bruins will be facing a Sabres team that needs every point they can get. Buffalo got some help on Tuesday when the Philadelphia Flyers beat the eighth place New York Rangers. However, the Sabres are still four points out of a playoff spot with just five games left in their schedule to the Rangers’ six.

Boston can secure its playoff spot by getting at least one point in this contest. They are also in a battle with Montreal for the Northeast Division title.

That’s not what’s on their minds though.

“We represent the city of Boston and we want to make sure we represent them well,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien on Tuesday. He later added, “We don’t expect tomorrow to be the day that everything’s going to be okay. But you’ve got to start somewhere and tomorrow’s a great time for us to go out there and play our hearts out for all the right reasons.”

Probable goaltenders: BOS – Tuukka Rask (17-8-4, 1.99 GAA, .929 SV%) | BUF – Ryan Miller (14-17-5, 2.84 GAA, .913 SV%)

Top scorers: BOS – Brad Marchand (16-17-33, 38 GP) | BUF – Thomas Vanek (16-18-34, 33 GP)

Notable Injuries:
Boston – Forwards: Bergeron (concussion – probable), Marchand (concussion), Marc Savard (concussion)
Buffalo – Forwards: Ville Leino (upper body) Defensemen: Tyler Myers (leg), Alexander Sulzer (lower body)

Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination with OT win

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The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.

Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.

With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.

It was a thrilling, sometimes nasty contest, from Sidney Crosby shaking off an Alex Ovechkin slash, to Evgeni Malkin delivering a hit some thought was over the line and plenty of typical playoff skirmishes.

Ultimately, Matt Murray played another strong game and Patric Hornqvist scored the overtime-winner to put the Capitals in a tough spot.

The Penguins lost their previous eight playoff overtime games, so maybe it was just a matter of time before such a game went their way?

Then again, the history between the two teams is a little different:

If the Capitals want to advance beyond the second round for the first time in the Ovechkin era, they’ll need to accomplish quite the feat against arguably the hottest team in the NHL.

Sidney Crosby looks hurt (and furious) after Alex Ovechkin slash

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NBCSN screen
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Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.

An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.

After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.

You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.

Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.

Dirty or not? Evgeni Malkin’s hit on Daniel Winnik

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Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.

Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.

Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.

Blues aim to raise money for victims of Fort McMurray fires

An evacuee puts gas in his car on his way out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, as a wildfire burns in the background Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The raging wildfire emptied Canada's main oil sands city, destroying entire neighborhoods of Fort McMurray, where officials warned Wednesday that all efforts to suppress the fire have failed.  (Jason Franson /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP
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Fires devastated the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, and the St. Louis Blues are doing their part to help those who were affected.

Here’s what the team is doing to raise money during Game 4 against the Dallas Stars:

Proceeds raised through the team’s 50/50 raffle and the Blues for Kids silent auction will benefit families who have been misplaced by the fires.

Blues forward Scottie Upshall shared his thoughts with the Associated Press regarding several family members being among those evacuated from the area.

“It’s been a great city, a city that’s survived for many years through some tough times and for me, growing up there doesn’t seem too long ago,” Upshall said. “Places that probably aren’t standing anymore will be really, really tough to take. But as long as everyone’s OK, that’s the main thing.”

Other people from around the hockey world weighed in on the scary scene, including Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, who told the Ottawa Citizen that “it hurts a lot.”

People shared some scary sights from the evacuation.