Is it right to interpret Thursday as a passing of the torch? That might be a bit unfair, but the San Jose Sharks are still in a tough spot against the young St. Louis Blues after losing to them 2-1 on their home ice. The Blues now have a 3-1 series lead, bringing up inevitable questions about the future for the Sharks’ veteran core of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle (fair or not).
- Speaking of Marleau, some Sharks fans might fit him with goat horns for taking a late penalty. That ended up abbreviating San Jose’s man advantage when it was 1-0; the Blues eventually took advantage of a fortuitous bounce to notch a 2-0 dagger (and eventual game-winner).
- Considering Phoenix’s struggles to hold onto a lead, are the Blues the toughest team to come back against in the 2012 playoffs?
- Is the St. Louis starting job Brian Elliott’s lose after he’s been in net for three Blues wins (although Jaroslav Halak received technical credit for the first one)?
- The Blues power play has scored six goals on 16 chances in four games. Are they a legitimate Stanley Cup contender if that man advantage remains reasonably productive?
- Could the Sharks actually gut out three straight wins against the Blues, who haven’t won a playoff series in their current setup? Or is it already time to think about the fallout from a disappointing season for San Jose?
It hasn’t been pretty the whole time – this is just the second series* in which the first four games all went to overtime – but the Phoenix Coyotes are just one win away from their first series victory since they became the Phoenix Coyotes. (They were last victors as the Winnipeg Jets in 1987.)
The Chicago Blackhawks stormed back from a 2-0 deficit with yet another late goal to make it interesting, but the Coyotes could close this series out in Phoenix in Game 5 now that they have a 3-1 series lead thanks to a 3-2 OT win.
- Corey Crawford hasn’t been that bad, unless you just put together a montage of the OT goals he’s allowed. Has goaltending been the difference of this series?
- Speaking of differences, will Mikkel Boedker’s name become a bad word in Chicago? He has two straight overtime game-winners.
- The only bummer for Phoenix is that they coughed up a late one-goal lead for the third time in third close-out opportunities. Should Dave Tippett re-consider that “hold your breath and hope nothing bad happens” strategy?
- Can the Blackhawks come back in this series like they’ve come back in games?
* – The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens went to overtime in all five games of their 1951 Stanley Cup finals series.
It’s not quite Kings-Canucks, but the Washington Capitals are showing a lot of fight against the higher seeded Boston Bruins. Still, the seventh seed trails the defending Stanley Cup champions 2-1 in the series after a 4-3 Boston win, although Washington might just be planting the seeds of frustration for the B’s.
This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
- Braden Holtby wasn’t horrible by any means, but the Bruins were able to get to him quite a bit more – relatively speaking – in Game 3. Should Capitals fans be concerned that their young netminder might lose some confidence considering how small the margin of error has been?
- Things got pretty “chippy” at times during this contest. Washington’s players have made it a point to say that they can bring the beef a little too, but should Dale Hunter be concerned if things get ugly – which rests right in Boston’s wheelhouse?
- Speaking of things getting chippy, how do you feel about the way the game was officiated?
- Milan Lucic showed some clear signs of frustration tonight. Can he find his game again? Is he the Bruins player who misses Nathan Horton’s presence the most? Are the Caps in his head?
- Stephen Whyno points out that Mike Green scored his first non-empty-netter-related point since returning from a sports hernia surgery on Feb. 18. Who would have thought a gifted offensive blueliner like Green could go more than two months without a point? Also, is this the worst contract year performance in recent memory?