Playoffs tonight: What do they do for an encore in Game 5?

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After a thrilling Game 4, the Bruins and Blackhawks are back in Chicago to see what they can do to top the excitement from Wednesday night.

Game 5: Chicago Blackhawks host Boston Bruins (8 p.m. ET — NBC/Live Extra)
Series tied 2-2

Game 4 left all of us feeling giddy about what a fun up-and-down game that was. At the end of the night, Bruins fans were left feeling bummed out after seeing Chicago win it in overtime 6-5, but it’s set things up so the end of the series is a best-of-three and winning tonight is of the utmost concern.

For the Bruins, coach Claude Julien insists they don’t panic in big moments and considering how they’ve handled being down in big games already, you have to believe them. That said, a small change could be on the way to their lineup tonight with Carl Soderberg getting a spin on the fourth line at practice yesterday. If he slots in, Kaspars Daugavins could be the odd man out.

Making a small move like that could help a little bit, but after losing Game 4, Bruins players insisted that tightening up their defense and eliminating turnovers would do them a world of good.

For Chicago, you’d like to think they’ve got momentum on their side after such a thrilling victory, but the questions about Corey Crawford’s glove hand will persist. They’ll have some other things to work through in tonight’s Game 5 as well.

For one, Nick Leddy was buried on the bench in Game 4 for poor play but figures to get back out there tonight. As for Marian Hossa, he didn’t practice yesterday but that’s not an indication that he’s hurt again and expects to be back at it tonight.

One thing to watch for: How Jonathan Toews and Zdeno Chara battle each other. While you have to expect Joel Quenneville to do his part to keep his captain away from their captain, Toews didn’t shy away from engaging Chara.

CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty says it’s a mistake for Toews to “poke the bear” but Chara was on the ice for five goals against on Wednesday. Maybe just poke him a little then?

WATCH LIVE: Pittsburgh Penguins at Ottawa Senators – Game 6

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Last night, the Nashville Predators demoralized the Ducks and advanced to their first-ever Stanley Cup Final. Will we learn their opponent tonight or on Thursday?

That’s up to how the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators perform in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Will Sidney Crosby and the Penguins follow that 7-0 rout with a close-out performance, or will Erik Karlsson and the Senators avenge that embarrassing loss to send this series to a decisive Game 7?

Find out on NBCSN at tonight. You can also watch the game online and via the NBC Sports App.

Here’s what you need to know:

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators (Pens lead 3-2)

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream online here)

Check out the highlights from Pittsburgh’s 7-0 win in Game 5

Related:

Pens redefining defense by committee

Four things the Pens need to do to eliminate the Sens

Swedish League champ sees another sign in NHL

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It’s an offseason of change for SHL champion HV71.

In the days following the league title, HV71 saw No. 1 goalie Linus Soderstrom sign his ELC with the Isles and d-man Andreas Borgman — the league’s rookie of the year — ink with the Leafs.

Earlier today, HV71 winger Filip Sandberg signed a two-year deal with San Jose. Shortly after that, Columbus announced it inked Sandberg’s running mate up front, Kevin Stenlund, to a three-year, entry-level deal.

Stenlund, 20, was the Blue Jackets’ second-round pick (58th overall) at the 2015 draft. He’s coming off a good year, setting career highs in goals, assists, points and games played during the regular season, then adding 10 points in 16 playoff appearances.

And he might have a chance to build on that campaign.

Per the Dispatch, the Blue Jackets expect Stenlund to play next year in Sweden, rather than try to make the move overseas. It’s possible the Isles could make the same decision with Soderstrom — meaning it’s not all bad for HV71.

 

Oilers re-sign Pakarinen for one year

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The Edmonton Oilers have given winger Iiro Pakarinen a one-year contract extension.

From the release:

Pakarinen just finished his third season with the Oilers organization, appearing in 14 regular season games in 2016-17, posting four points (2 goals, 2 assists).  The 25 year old forward missed 53 games due to an injury suffered during the pre-season. He appeared in one playoff game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Oilers brought Pakarinen over from Finland in 2014. Since then, he’s split his North American career between the AHL and NHL while drawing praise for his versatility and hard-nosed style.

Per CapFriendly, Pakarinen’s cap hit will be $750,000 in 2017-18. It’s a one-way deal.

Market heating up for prized Czech d-man Rutta

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Coming off an impressive performance for the Czech Republic at the World Hockey Championship, Jan Rutta is now being courted by a number of NHL clubs.

Per The Athletic, the Blackhawks are in contention for securing Rutta’s services. That comes on the heels of earlier reports from TSN’s Darren Dreger, who said there are “multiple” offers for the 26-year-old, including ones from Edmonton and Calgary.

“He’s a steady defenseman with size, and he had a strong finish of the season,” an NHL scout told The Athletic. “He was very good in the playoffs and played his best at the Worlds.”

Rutta, who was never drafted by an NHL club, has spent his professional career with Czech League outfit Pirati Chomutov. He’s blossomed into a talented offensive defenseman — finishing second among Czech League d-men with 32 points in 46 games this year — and, as mentioned above, has good size at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds.

Last week, Rutta’s agent — longtime Octagon Hockey representative Allan Walsh — tweeted that his client would make a decision on NHL offers soon.