A quick look at what games will be on what channels in tonight’s Stanley Cup playoff action…
Canadiens at Senators, 7:00 p.m. ET on USA
In the 35 times the Montreal Canadiens have taken a 3-0 series lead, they’ve never lost. Meanwhile the Ottawa Senators are looking to become just the fifth team to battle back from down three games to win a series. The L.A. Kings did it last spring against the San Jose Sharks on the way to winning the franchise’s second Stanley Cup. John Forslund and Andy Brickley have the call of Game 4.
Rangers at Penguins, 7:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN
The Pittsburgh Penguins will look to even their series at two and avoid heading back to New York down 3-1. In order to tie the series the Penguins will need to have a better start. New York has out-scored Pittsburgh 9-1 in first periods dating back to Game 5 of last year’s series. Doc Emrick and Pierre McGuire will have the call.
Blues at Wild, 9:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN
The Minnesota Wild have won three of the eight playoff series they’ve played, but they’ve never held a 3-1 series lead. The Wild will look to put the Blues on the brink of elimination in Game 4 at Minnesota’s Xcel Energy Center. Dave Strader and Brian Engblom will be on the call.
Ducks at Jets, 9:30 p.m. ET on USA
Like the Sens, the Winnipeg Jets will try to avoid a sweep tonight. The Jets have blown third period leads in each of the first three games of the series and find themselves behind 3-0 to the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim has out-scored Winnipeg 7-0 in third periods in the series. The Jets will look for their first playoff win in franchise history in Game 4 while the Ducks are seeking their first playoff sweep in nine years. Chris Cuthbert and Bret Hedican are on the call.
The Montreal Canadiens are rolling at the moment with a commanding 3-0 series lead against Ottawa, but announced some bad news on Tuesday, ruling out d-man Nathan Beaulieu for the rest of the opening round.
Beaulieu, 22, was hurt on this hit from Sens captain Erik Karlsson in Game 3:
Beaulieu remained in the contest but didn’t play in the third period or overtime.
The loss will sting Montreal a bit — Beaulieu played 15:34 and 12:47 in the first two games of the series — but the club is well equipped to deal with losing a defenseman. Sergei Gonchar, Greg Pateryn and Mike Weaver all sat out Game 3, and it looks as though Pateryn will draw in for tomorrow’s potential close-out contest.
The fact that the Ottawa Senators made the playoffs at all was an incredible feat. It seems somehow appropriate that their unlikely run has been pushed to the edge of collapse under equally surprising circumstances.
While Montreal was the heavy favorite going into this series, tonight it wasn’t one of the Canadiens’ top-tier players that was the hero. It was 26-year-old Dale Weise, who scored both Montreal goals in its 2-1 overtime win Sunday night.
After dropping the first two contests, Ottawa bench boss Dave Cameron rolled the dice by starting goaltender Craig Anderson over Andrew Hammond. While Anderson had the clear edge when it came to experience, he hadn’t played since March 29 and last won on March 8. Still, for most of the contest it looked like the adjustment would pay off as Anderson stood tall. Given that he stopped 47 of 49 shots, it’s hard to peg this loss on him.
Still, Weise managed to beat him late in the third and the game-winning marker looked like one he could have and perhaps should have stopped:
Weise had just 23 goals in 258 career regular season games and another three markers in 24 playoff contests going into tonight’s action.
With that, Ottawa is now down 3-0 in the series. Against Montreal and goaltender Carey Price, the odds of the Senators battling back are remote. Then again, one could argue that the Senators were in a similar position during the regular season. They defied the odds then. Perhaps they can do so again.
For three straight games, Ottawa has taken a 1-0 lead over Montreal. The Senators couldn’t capitalize on that edge in the first two contests of this first round series though. For a while it looked like Game 3 might be different and while the Senators still have a chance, this one will have to be settled in overtime.
In the midst of a scramble in front of the Senators’ net, Brandon Prust successfully knocked the puck to a wide open Dale Weise, which resulted in Senators goaltender Craig Anderson being in a bad position for the shot:
Anderson, who last played on March 29 and hasn’t won since March 8, has been very effective in this contest. Through 60 minutes he’s turned aside 39 of 40 shots. However, Ottawa hasn’t been able to take full advantage of his stellar play thus far.
The Senators are already down 2-0 in this series, so the stakes are high for them going into overtime.
Erik Karlsson recorded an assist on the Ottawa Senators’ opening goal, but the offensive defenseman has also been a big factor without the puck. He’s been throwing his body around all game, including his big open ice hit on Montreal Canadiens blueliner Nathan Beaulieu, which you can see below:
The Senators captain has been credited with six hits through 40 minutes of play. That’s more than he had in any regular season contest in 2014-15. He’s not alone in playing a physical game though as Ottawa has recorded 46 so far, including nine from Chris Neil.
Down 2-0 in the series, Ottawa has a 1-0 lead going into the third period of Game 3.
Update: Although Beaulieu initially stayed in the game, he didn’t take a single shift in the third period.