A quick look at what games will be on what channels in today’s Stanley Cup playoff action…
Capitals at Islanders, 12 p.m. ET on NBC
Goaltender Braden Holtby is expected to get the startt after missing Game 2 due to an illness. The Capitals will look to build on a 4-3 win on Friday night and take their first lead of the series this afternoon. The Islanders will once again be without defenseman Travis Hamonic due to an undisclosed injury. Doc Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire have the call.
Predators at Blackhawks, 3 p.m. ET on NBC
The Blackhawks will also have a different Game 3 starter when their series with the Predators moves to Chicago’s Untied Center this afternoon. Head coach Joel Quenneville announced Scott Darling will make his first career Stanley Cup playoff start today. Darling made 42 saves in relief of Corey Crawford in Game 1. Meanwhile the Preds will be without captain Shea Weber for both Games 3 and 4 due to a lower body injury. Weber left Game 2 midway through the second period and did not return. Kenny Albert, Brian Engblom and Joe Micheletti will be on the call.
Canadiens at Senators, 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN
The Senators have questions in goal heading into Game 3 tonight in Ottawa. After a nearly perfect 20-1-2 record and 1.79 G.A.A. in the final months of the regular season, Andrew Hammond has lost the first two games of the series with Montreal and there’s some thought head coach Dave Cameron may go with veteran Craig Anderson in goal tonight. The 33-year-old had a 1.80 G.A.A. in the Sens 4-1 series win over the Habs during the 2013 playoffs. Chris Cuthbert and Bret Hedican have the call tonight.
Canucks at Flames, 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN
Friday night’s Game 2 featured six fighting majors, seven game misconducts and three 10-minute misconducts – much of which occurred in the final two minutes of the Canucks 4-1 win over the Flames. Calgary’s head coach Bob Hartley was fined $50,000 as a result of the melee. The series now moves to Calgary where the Flames will host a playoff game for the first time since losing in Game 6 of the first round in 2009. Jim Hughson, Craig Simpson and Scott Oake have the call of Game 3.
The defenseman left Friday night’s 6-2 win in the second period with a lower body injury following a collision with Brandon Saad and did not return.
He had one assist and a plus-1 rating in 13:25 of ice time prior to leaving the game.
Weber was second among Preds blue liners in the regular season with an average ice time of 26:22 per game, and with 45 points. He played 38:13 in Nashville’s 4-3 double-overtime loss in Game 1 on Wednesday.
Kane on Weber: "Seemed like they played pretty well without him. [But] I’m sure deep down they’ll definitely miss him." #Blackhawks
Looking at recent history alone, it would seem to point in Scott Darling’s favor. While Crawford has the Stanley Cup on his resume, Darling was perfect in relief in Game 1 while Crawford’s been … not.
It’s not just these past two games against the Predators (in which he’s allowed nine goals in four periods), either. As Liam McHugh notes, Crawford has allowed 3+ goals in his last eight postseason starts:
The Blackhawks might be a little lucky in some ways to head back to Chicago with their series tied 1-1 against Nashville, but there’s only so much that can sugarcoat a 6-2 loss.
Whether he goes with Crawford or Darling, it would be surprising if Quenneville deems the decision as “easy” as his choice was for Game 2, though. (As Keith Jones said, it’s a “brainer.”)