Tag: game previews

Craig Rivet, Daniel Carcillo

Video: Keith Jones and Jeremy Roenick preview tonight’s Game 7 matches

If you want to follow the most intense and gripping sporting events on TV tonight, then you might as well keep your clicker fixed on Versus. With all due respect to the NBA, Tuesday’s slate of Game 7’s features the final round of a manic Buffalo Sabres-Philadelphia Flyers series (7 p.m. ET) followed by the story-filled final game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks (10 p.m. ET).

In other words, Versus will feature about six hours(-plus?) of the highest pressure hockey you can find in the first round. (Naturally, the telecasts will also keep you abreast regarding the slightly lower profile Game 6 match between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.)

We will have our own rundown of tonight’s three games later on, but if you want an idea of what to expect in those two Game 7’s, then Versus has you covered. Check out takes from Keith Jones and Jeremy Roenick in the video below.

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Easter (elimination) Sunday? Three teams fight to remain in playoffs today

Ryan Kesler, Marian Hossa
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The first round is starting to wind down, with the Washington Capitals and Detroit Red Wings already parked in the second. The NHL isn’t taking a breather on this holiday weekend, which means that Sunday provides us with a tantalizing possibility: three teams could move on or three series could go to a decisive Game 7.

To get you ready, we have three previews. As always, all start times are Eastern Standard Time (ET).

Philadelphia @ Buffalo – 3 p.m. (NBC); Sabres lead series 3-2

Even less than an hour from game time, it’s not totally clear if Chris Pronger or Derek Roy will be able to play for their respective teams. It’s been an absolutely fascinating series so far, with every game basically being decided by one goal (not counting empty-netters).

Ryan Miller is strong in elimination games, so the Flyers better get their power play together if they hope to lock this series up at 3-3. All the excuses in the world won’t erase the disappointment of following up an Atlantic Division-winning series with a first round upset, especially since Philly handed that same fate to the New Jersey Devils in 2010.

Anaheim @ Nashville – 6 p.m.; Predators lead series 3-2

Even after Bobby Ryan scored the best goal of the playoffs (so far or will it stand up overall?), the Predators managed to win Game 5 in overtime. This places the Predators on the precipice of personal history: if they win tonight, Nashville will advance to the second round for the first time in franchise history.

Of course, that might end up being easier said than done. The Ducks seem to only get better when their backs are pressed closer to the wall, with their big-time players often coming up huge in crucial spots. It’s unlikely that this milestone will come easily for the Preds.

Vancouver @ Chicago – 7:30 p.m. (Versus); Canucks lead series 3-2

Of all the Game 6 matches today – and in the first round, really – this one is the least probable. The Blackhawks looked downright dead when they were down 3-0, yet they’ve dominated the last two games and will get Brent Seabrook back tonight.

Even though this isn’t a must-win game for the Canucks, it’s an enormous one for Roberto Luongo’s legacy. The team is sticking with him even though Chicago booted him from the Vancouver net in two straight games. Can the team’s $10 million goalie prove why he has been considered one of the world’s best for years or will he justify every joke made about his supposedly fragile psyche? The Canucks have a chance to wipe the slate clean with a Game 6 win or go into a ludicrously high-pressure Game 7. It should be fascinating to see which way this turns. Who would have thought?

Four games have three potential first round clinchers on tap for a busy Saturday

Pittsburgh Penguins v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Four

It’s as big and busy of a Saturday as you’ll find in the playoffs as four games will dominate your afternoon and evening across the NHL playoff landscape and there’s the possibility we’ll see three teams lock up spots in the second round of the postseason today. Oh yeah and we’ve also got the Bruins and Canadiens looking to beat the tar out of each other again. If your groove in the couch hasn’t been carved out yet, it will be after today. All times are Eastern

Tampa Bay @ Pittsburgh – 12 noon (Versus)Pittsburgh leads series 3-1

A little afternoon delight for the Penguins as they’ll look to wrap things up with the Lightning and after seeing James Neal get the game winner in Game 4, they’ll be hoping to see him continue filling the net. As for Tampa Bay, we’re still waiting on Steve Stamkos to show up in this series. Through four games, Stamkos has just one assist. Meanwhile, Martin St. Louis has been carrying the team on his back in hopes of getting through the first round. He needs some help though and he’ll need some tougher goaltending out of Dwayne Roloson. Roloson’s been OK, but the three goals he allowed in Game 4 were all very stoppable shots. If he’s not big today, the Lightning will be pondering what could’ve been at the end of the day.

NY Rangers @ Washington – 3 p.m. (NBC)Washington leads series 3-1

The Caps will be looking to take a sort of zen approach heading into Game 5 as they look to close out the Rangers. They keep saying they’re not thinking about last year’s first round loss to Montreal, but you know in the back of their heads they realize they had the Canadiens in this spot last season and failed to close them out. For the Rangers, they’re hoping that Henrik Lundqvist can do his part to evoke the spirit of Jaroslav Halak while the rest of his teammates figure out a way to score goals and play smart defense to hold a lead.

Montreal @ Boston – 7 p.m. (Versus)Series tied 2-2

Is it really home ice advantage for the Bruins in this game or should the Habs have any kind of comfort level playing in front of a hostile crowd in Boston? We’ll see how much their tough Game 4 overtime loss affects them mentally as they were able to score first on the B’s in that game and managed to blow a 3-1 lead before losing in OT. Montreal is hard-headed enough to know they just have to stick to what they do well to frustrate Boston but they should fear the Bruins getting reinvigorated with confidence after sweeping the Canadiens in Montreal. For now, Montreal hopes that this “road team winning” trend continues and they can get a shot at finishing things at home.

Los Angeles @ San Jose – 10:30 p.m. (Versus)San Jose leads series 3-1

The Kings are hoping they can find a stroke of luck and some better defense and goaltending to put some fear into the Sharks. Scott Parse will rejoin the Kings lineup in Game 5 to give them someone a bit more helpful than either Oscar Moller or Kevin Westgarth. No, Dustin Penner won’t hit the press box although you’d have to think coach Terry Murray would be tempted to do so. The Sharks are hoping that they can again twist the knife on the Kings and put them down for good.

San Jose’s getting tremendous production out of Joe Pavelski and Ryane Clowe in this series and considering those guys play on what’s essentially their third line, that doesn’t bode well for the Kings prospects on the road tonight. Jon Quick will hope to evoke some of that magic he had in Game 2 to fire up his team to get back into this series.

2011 playoffs: Tonight’s two pivotal Game 5 matches

Buffalo Sabres v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Two

Almost any playoff game can change the scope of a series considering the limited amount of contests involved, but Game 5’s are frequently pivotal. That should definitely be the case for tonight’s two games, as both series will end up 3-2 by the end of the evening. Let’s take a look at them now, with all start times being Eastern Standard Time (ET).

Buffalo @ Philadelphia – 7:30 p.m. (Versus); Series tied 2-2.

This is starting to seem like a feast or famine series for Sabres goalie Ryan Miller. In the team’s two wins, he looked like an absolute star by getting shutouts. Yet in the two losses, he’s been able to empathize with Roberto Luongo’s struggles by allowing eight goals. It’ll be interesting to see if this ends up being a tight or wide open game tonight.

One thing that seems certain is that the intensity will ratchet up. The two sides keep falling into wars of words, with the most recent exchange taking place between Sabres coach Lindy Ruff and Flyers captain Mike Richards. If you haven’t been able to see much of this series yet, you should absolutely take the chance to watch tonight’s game.

Nashville @ Anaheim – 10 p.m. (Versus); Series tied at 2-2

With Bobby Ryan’s two-game absence in mind, the Ducks probably feel pretty good about returning to Anaheim with their series tie intact. This is very much a seesaw series so far, with the Predators looking great in Games 1 and 3 and the Ducks winning impressively in Game 2 and 4.

Much like that Flyers-Sabres series, the angst level keeps rising as well. From Ryan’s suspension to Ducks GM Bob Murray’s diving complaints to the Jarkko Ruutu suspension, these teams are clearly getting to know each other. Expect some fireworks in what could be a decisive rubber match.

The good, the bad, the potentially ugly: Tonight’s games run gauntlet of possibilities

Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens - Game Three

After a wild night last night with five games, things cool off just a bit with three games set for tonight.

In them we’ve got the good in Montreal with the Bruins looking to even things up with the Canadiens. There’s the bad with the bad blood flowing through Vancouver as the Blackhawks again look to stave off elimination. Then we’ve got the ugly that sees the L.A. Kings trying to find a way to stop the Sharks from scoring and tying up their series again.

Someone call Ennio Morricone to provide tonight’s soundtrack.  All times are Eastern.

Boston @ Montreal – 7 p.m. (Versus)Montreal leads series 2-1

It would almost make sense to have these teams head to a Game 5 tied after beating each other’s heads in on the road. Montreal would love to see that not happen and find a way to go back to Boston with a chance to eliminate the Bruins on their ice. The B’s will be hoping to see Milan Lucic find a comfort zone and start producing more hits and offense. Montreal will need to be a bit more careful with the puck and find a way to get on the board first to start putting their brand of torturous defense into effect on Boston as soon as possible. The Habs thrive when they force their opponents to work uphill to win games.

The x-factor in this game for Boston could be Tim Thomas. Thomas needs another strong game in goal to give the Bruins more of their swagger back so they can let loose and stay physical all game. With some of the goals he’s given up in the playoffs it’s made Boston’s defense a bit jumpy. If he settles in, the Bruins will give Montreal fits all game.

Chicago @ Vancouver – 10 p.m. (Versus)Vancouver leads series 3-1

Things escalated out of control quickly for Vancouver in Game 4 as they looked to end things on the road. Instead, Chicago blasted the Canucks all game long and help reintroduce some heat between these two teams. It also helped spark an enlightening war of words between John Scott and Kevin Bieksa.

While we don’t expect those two to settle their differences anytime soon, especially with Brent Seabrook looking at a return for this game, we are expecting that Vancouver will again have a fight on their hands. If the Canucks can relax and not get spooked out by the ghosts of playoffs past that made an appearance in Game 4, they can wrap things up at home. If not, things get really interesting in all the wrong ways for Vancouver.

San Jose @ Los Angeles – 10:30 p.m.San Jose leads series 2-1

So just what can the Sharks do for an encore in Hollywood? After storming back from being down 4-0 in Game 3 and going on to win in overtime, there’s really no other way for San Jose to top what they did without casting serious doubt on what they can do against better teams. As it is, Antti Niemi is on notice after a pair of less-than-stellar appearances in a row.

Luckily for him the Kings defense and Dustin Penner have had a hard time, especially in Game 3. Jon Quick can only do so many things to help out in goal and while the offense has been there for the most part, getting some of that traditional tough defense from a Terry Murray coached team would be nice. We’ll get to see how mentally tough they are tonight after such a tough loss in the last game.