Chicago Blackhawks v Detroit Red Wings - Game Four

Playoffs tonight: Bruins and Red Wings look to finish things in Game 5


A pair of Game 5s take place tonight and we could see a pair of teams move on to the Conference finals should they earn victories tonight. Will Chicago and New York live to fight another day or will Boston and Detroit march onward?

We’ll find out tonight. Here come your previews:

Boston Bruins host New York Rangers (5:30 p.m. ET NBCSN/Live Extra)
Boston leads series 3-1

The Bruins tried to sweep out the Rangers as best they could in Game 4, but overtime heroics finally arrived for New York in the form of former Boston College star Chris Kreider. Now the Rangers will look to put a real scare into the Bruins and their faithful by extending the series for another day.

If there’s reason for the Rangers to breathe easier it’s that they finally found something working on their power play and scored once with the man advantage in Game 4. It was just one goal but for how miserable they’ve been on the power play, maybe getting one goal was what they needed to get right.

Big question for the Bruins tonight will be: How does Tuukka Rask bounce back? He wasn’t all that hot in Game 4 and it showed as the Rangers got a big jump out of being gifted their first goal of the game thanks to Rask falling down. He’ll need to lock it down tonight to help the B’s get back to the Conference finals and give Boston fans some time to relax a bit.

Chicago Blackhawks host Detroit Red Wings (8 p.m. ET NBC/Live Extra)
Detroit leads series 3-1

This is a spot the Chicago Blackhawks likely didn’t expect to be in this early in the playoffs but now we’ll find out what they’re made of. They’re down 3-1 to their hated rivals and now face the prospect of possibly being eliminated from the postseason on their own ice by them in the fifth game of the series.

That doesn’t sound right at all for everything this Chicago team has done, yet here we are. Who needs to step up for the ‘Hawks? Take your pick. Captain Jonathan Toews had a meltdown in Game 4’s 2-0 loss picking up three penalties and leading Chicago media to call him out for it. Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp have been similarly quiet as well and defenseman Brent Seabrook has seen his ice time cut way back thanks to performance.

If Chicago’s going to get back in this they have to find a way to shake up Jimmy Howard. The Red Wings goalie has been other-worldly in this series including his Game 4 shutout, the first time the Blackhawks were held without a goal in a game this season. Even when Detroit’s improved defense has faltered, Howard’s bailed them out in often spectacular ways.

If Chicago goes down without a fight tonight, expect there to be a lot of hard questions and big regrets coming all summer for the Presidents’ Trophy winners.

Video: Bruins allow sloppy goals


In many ways, Tuukka Rask has silenced his doubters. His .930 save percentage argues that he’s been at least as strong as he was during a great 2013 season.

Newly hired Colorado Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy can attest that even the best goalies have some cringe-inducing moments, so maybe that would be some solace for Rask after allowing this blooper goal by New York Rangers forward Carl Hagelin:

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

The Boston Bruins still have a 2-1 lead as the third period approaches, so we’ll see if this ends up being something that “haunts” the 26-year-old netminder.

Update: It’s not all Rask’s fault, but the Rangers’ first two goals were pretty ugly:

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

Bruins unlikely to change defense for Game 4


If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

That appears to be the Boston Bruins’ mantra on Thursday, as the club looks unlikely to make any changes on defense for tonight’s potential series-clinching game at MSG.

The Boston Globe reports that, while both Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden took the morning skate, neither are expected to draw into the lineup.

The pair haven’t dressed for a single contest against the Rangers — along with fellow blueliner Andrew Ference — but have been capably replaced by the trio of Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug.

It’s apparent that Seidenberg and Redden are close to returning, as both traveled with the team to New York and have been skating for days.

But with a commanding 3-0 series lead, there’s little pressure on the B’s to get either guy back in the lineup — in fact, with a sweep on the horzion, the Bruins are looking at the potential for a nice period of rest before the Eastern Conference finals begin.

Of course, the Bruins aren’t counting their chickens.

“That’s going to be our focus tonight: getting the job done,” Milan Lucic told CSNNE. “You need to focus on the little things, and what’s made us successful to this point. You can’t focus on the big picture right now.”

Playoffs Tonight: Bruins know series vs Rangers isn’t over

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 21: Derek Stepan #21 of the New York Rangers and Jaromir Jagr #68 of the Boston Bruins fight for the puck in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 21, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

We got a full night of NHL hockey ahead of us and the Boston Bruins might even secure a spot in the Eastern Conference finals.

Please keep in mind that all of tonight’s games can be watched online in addition to the channels listed below.

New York Rangers host Boston Bruins (7:00 p.m. ET, CNBC)
Boston leads series 3-0

No one understands better than the Boston Bruins that a series isn’t over until it’s over.

“It would be nice,” David Krejci told the Boston Globe when asked about the possibility of avoiding a Game 5. “But we know and we learned as a team that the last one is the hardest from past years and even in the last series. We’ve just got to get ready for tomorrow and play just like it’s Game 1.”

The Bruins have managed to get by without defensemen Dennis Seidenberg, Wade Redden, and Andrew Ference thanks in part to the rise of young and relatively inexperienced blueliners like Matt Bartkowski. Bartkowski’s success in particular has to be gratifying to Bruins fans, given that he was linked to Boston’s ultimately failed bid to acquire Jarome Iginla.

The New York Rangers might need boost from their depth blueliners as well. Marc Staal has only played once since March 5 due to his eye injury and now they might be forced to continue without defenseman Anton Stralman.

Needless to say, the Rangers situation looks bleak, but right now, they just have to focus on getting one win.

Detroit Red Wings host Chicago Blackhawks (8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
Detroit leads series 2-1

Chicago hasn’t lost three games in a row since the season started, but the Blackhawks are in danger of doing so now. That speaks to how consistently good they’ve been, but it also highlights just how little adversity they’ve faced this year.

They’ve come from behind in games and won close contests, but they got ahead of the league so quickly that many of those impressive victories were achieved in low pressure situations. Still, that doesn’t mean they’ll buckle under the pressure.

“Just because we haven’t faced a whole lot of adversity this year doesn’t mean we’ve never faced it in our lives before,” Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith argued, according to Chicago Sun-Times writer Mark Lazerus. “Let’s face it: Winning in the playoffs isn’t easy. It’s not always going to go your way.”

Perhaps the biggest x-factor in this game is Chicago captain Jonathan Toews. He called Chicago’s 3-1 loss on Monday a slap in the face.

He hasn’t scored a goal in the playoffs and this is the kind of situation that the Blackhawks look to their captain to step up.

Los Angeles hosts San Jose (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
Series tied at 2-2

The Sharks and Kings had two of the NHL’s best home records in the regular season and neither team has lost a game in their arena during the 2013 playoffs. That’s good news for Los Angeles, even if they have squandered a 2-0 series lead.

If Sharks captain Joe Thornton manages to replicate his success in from Game 4 on Tuesday, then San Jose might break that trend and earn its third consecutive win tonight.

“That was vintage Joe Thornton right there,” Logan Couture told CSN Bay Area after the Sharks’ 2-1 win. “Unbelievable. Creating turnovers, making passes, skating like a young guy. He was flying, and I know me personally, it got me going. We need Joe to play like that for the rest of the playoffs.”

Whatever happens, it’s likely that this game will come down to the final minutes of action. The last three contests in this series have been determined by just one goal and even Game 1 was a close 2-0 affair.

AHL Bruins blow 3-0 series lead against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

Michael Leighton #49 of the Philadelphia Flyers stops Trent Whitfield #42 of the Boston Bruins in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at the Wachovia Center on May 12, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
(May 11, 2010 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

The Pittsburgh Penguins earned a 7-3 victory against Ottawa tonight, but it was their AHL-affiliates that made history.

Boston’s farm team, the Providence Bruins, took a 3-0 series lead against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the Eastern Conference semifinals. However, the Penguins earned four straight wins including a 5-0 victory on Wednesday to become just the third team in the league’s 77-year history to overcome that kind of a deficit, according to

Of course, this will no doubt bring up memories of Boston’s collapse from a 3-0 series lead against the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2010 NHL Eastern Conference semifinals.

In fact, 35-year-old forward Trent Whitfield has now had the misfortune of being on the wrong end of history twice, as The Hockey Writers’ Wayne Whittaker pointed out.

Of course, the Boston Bruins bounced back from their humiliation and won the Stanley Cup in 2011. Perhaps that will comfort Providence as they reflect on this series.

It’s also worth adding that Providence was without defenseman Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug for most of this series. Bartkowski played in five postseason contests with Providence, but didn’t play at all against the Penguins. Krug participated in the first two games before also being summoned by Boston.

Meanwhile, Boston has a 3-0 lead on the New York Rangers going into Game 4 on Thursday.