PHT Morning Skate: Bruins, Sharks seek series wins

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If your idea of a perfect Saturday is to spend all day watching playoff hockey, you’re in luck. Four games, including two possible elimination games, get started at 3:00 p.m. ET and carry you deep into the night.

Today’s action is bookended by possible elimination games when the Boston Bruins host the Detroit Red Wings in Game 5 in Boston and the San Jose Sharks hosting the Los Angeles Kings. The home teams there have 3-1 series leads and would love to get done now to rest up. In the Bruins’ case, they’d like to not give the Montreal Canadiens more time to rest up.

Game 5: Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings [Boston leads series 3-1] (3:00 p.m. ET — NBC)

The Bruins would love to not copy what they did last season when they were up 3-1 in a series in the first round. In other words, they want to close the door on the Red Wings and not allow a team with their experience any room for hope.

Henrik Zetterberg’s return in Game 4 provided a lift for Detroit and it nearly carried them to victory. But close is only good in horseshoes and hand grenades and the Bruins took the game in overtime. The Bruins get another crack at Jonas Gustavsson who gets the start once again for Detroit as Jimmy Howard is out with the flu. Either he’s got a really nasty bug or he’s dealing with something a bit more serious than the flu to be ruled out a day in advance.

The Bruins’ top line of David Krejci-Milan Lucic-Jarome Iginla was a force in Game 4. Look for more of the same with the Bruins getting last change at home.

Game 5: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets [Series tied 2-2] (7:00 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

What to say about the Penguins? They played a brilliant Game 4 in Columbus and looked poised to head home up 3-1… And then the final minutes of the game happened and it all went to heck for the Pens and Marc-Andre Fleury. His misplay that led to the game-tying goal and Nick Foligno’s knuckling shot from 50-feet out helped all the ill feelings about the Pens netminder come roaring back.

Now with the game back in Pittsburgh, the Pens and Fleury could stand to have a lights-out game if for no other reason than to keep the fans from revolting.

One upside for the Blue Jackets is they may get defenseman Fedor Tyutin back in the lineup and that will go a ways to helping out Sergei Bobrovsky in goal. Bob could stand to have some more help defensively and he’s yet to really steal a game in this series. Having that as well as Sidney Crosby’s goal drought hanging over things helps make this Game 5 fascinating.

Game 5: Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild [Series tied 2-2] (9:30 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

Is it possible the Avs losing Tyson Barrie was the injury that broke the Avs’ back? Colorado hasn’t been the same team since he’s gone out and Game 4 summed things up pretty clearly that they need help getting outshot 32-12.

Even in spite of that, the Avs aren’t getting blown out by the Wild, but that’s mostly thanks to Vezina Trophy finalist Semyon Varlamov. If there was any doubt that Varlamov was the team MVP during the regular season, he’s answered that in the playoffs as he’s needed to be brilliant to keep the Wild at bay.

Minnesota is hoping the success they have had to this point will help them steal a game in Denver. The home team has won each game in the series. Zach Parise leads the Wild in points with five but has yet to score a goal. Get the feeling he’s due?

Game 5: San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings [San Jose leads series 3-1] (10:00 p.m. ET — CNBC)

The fact the Sharks earned a split in Los Angeles is big news and now that they’re back home with a chance to wrap up the series, you have to like their chances.

San Jose looked like world beaters in taking out Jonathan Quick and the Kings in Games 1 and 2. With the way Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski have piled up points with ease, you’d never know the Kings were also one of the better teams in the league this season. The fact the Sharks are also doing it with their depth players is also impressive. Matt Nieto is third in points and Tomas Hertl’s return to action has spurred them on.

That said, the Kings’ effort in Game 4 was impressive enough to make more than a few pundits wonder if maybe this series has more juice in it. Justin Williams’ strong play was reminiscent of his effort during the Kings’ Stanley Cup run and you know Quick is capable of stealing games. The Sharks would very much enjoy putting that talk to bed tonight.

Video: Breaking down Bruins’ critical comeback win in Game 4

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With captain Henrik Zetterberg back in the lineup, the Detroit Red Wings initially seemed poised to tie their first round series against Boston on Thursday. However, Detroit’s 2-0 lead evaporated en route to the Bruins’ 3-2 overtime victory.

Boston now has a 3-1 series lead with Game 5 scheduled for Saturday (3:00 p.m. ET, NBC).

NBCSN broke down Boston’s come-from-behind win and looked ahead to tomorrow’s contest. You can view that video below:

Related:

Monster redux: Gustavsson to start again for Detroit in Game 5

Lucic doesn’t want a repeat of last season’s first round against Wings

Marchand was so relieved Boston won, he ‘kissed’ Iginla

Bruins scratch out OT win, push Red Wings to brink

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The Boston Bruins fought back from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 in OT in Game 4 on Thursday, pushing the Detroit Red Wings to the brink of elimination with a 3-1 series score.

Niklas Kronwall and Pavel Datsyuk combined for one-goal, one-assist nights to give the Red Wings a lead that Boston was able to scrape away. Torey Krug’s power-play goal in the middle frame helped the Bruins enter the third period down a manageable 2-1. Carl Soderberg’s nice play set up a Milan Lucic tying goal that sent the game into overtime.

The Bruins pressed the Red Wings repeatedly in the overtime period, generating a 12-3 shot advantage in that time. It was a weird one that beat Jonas Gustavsson in a surprise start, as a Dougie Hamilton shot took a weird bounce and the goal was credited to Jarome Iginla (his first goal of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs).

Comic relief?

For those who don’t appreciate the pesky style of Brad Marchand, he had some tough luck on Thursday. At least one of the shots probably missed the net because of Jimmy Howard/bounces off of other players’ sticks, yet this montage will still be pretty sweet for Marchand haters:

The Bruins can probably laugh that off thanks to their eventual win, though.

Looking forward

Boston is now looking like a serious force in winning three straight games, including both contests at Joe Louis Arena. They have some serious incentive to finish this series off in Boston in Game 5, as the Montreal Canadiens are already awaiting their second-round opponent after sweeping the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Meanwhile, the Red Wings find themselves one game away from another first-round exit despite showing some fight on Thursday night. The bad news (they’ve been surprisingly mortal in “Hockeytown”) is softened a bit by the good: they’ve been formidable on the road this season. They took Game 1 in Boston and went 21-15-5 in away games during the regular season.

It won’t be easy, but the Red Wings have been doing things the hard way this season.

WATCH LIVE: Boston Bruins at Detroit Red Wings (Game 4)

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As of this writing, it’s unclear if Henrik Zetterberg will be able to play for the Detroit Red Wings in Game 4 on Thursday.

That’s an uncertainty, but what is clear is that this is a big one, especially for Detroit. The perennial playoff team looks to tie the series 2-2, as the alternative involves going down 3-1 against the Bruins with the series shifting to Boston for Game 5.

You can find the game on NBCSN and also via the live stream link below:

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Thursday’s other games include the Colorado Avalanche at the Minnesota Wild in Game 4, which can be found on CNBC and streamed here. The final contest of the night involves the San Jose Sharks attempting to sweep the Kings in Los Angeles, which airs on NBCSN and via this stream link.

Bruins dominate Red Wings, take 2-1 series lead

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The Boston Bruins are really starting to look like the team that easily topped the Eastern Conference and grabbed the Presidents’ Trophy in the process.

After Jimmy Howard shut them out to give the Detroit Red Wings a Game 1 win, the Bruins have been dominant in swinging the series back to a 2-1 lead in their favor. After winning 4-1 in Game 2, the B’s actually were even more impressive as the series shifted to Detroit in Game 3 on Tuesday, winning by what might have been a forgiving 3-0 score.

Maybe some of it has to do with the Red Wings’ exhausting run to even clinch a playoff spot. They’ve only been able to score two goals in the series so far: Pavel Datsyuk’s game-winner in Game 1 and a Luke Glendenning tally in the second period of Game 2.

Long story short, things have been pretty lopsided since that Datsyuk shot beat Tuukka Rask.

One might say that the Bruins seem as bemused by the Red Wings’ efforts as Zdeno Chara was with Brendan Smith’s “threats” in Game 2.

Even with all these negatives, the Red Wings are only down one game and get a chance to tie things up at home in Game 4. This Detroit team made a living proving people that they can overcome long odds during this 2013-14 season, so counting them out would be foolish.

Still, at this moment, Boston seems very much in control of this series.