Playoffs Tonight: It’s time for Vokoun

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The San Jose Sharks were the first team to advance to the second round. Will the Ottawa Senators and Chicago Blackhawks earn their spots tonight?

Please keep in mind that you can watch all these games online in addition to the channels listed below:

Game 5: Montreal Canadiens host Ottawa Senators (7:00 p.m. ET, CNBC)
Ottawa leads series 3-1

Montreal took a 2-0 lead in Game 4 on Tuesday, but a questionable goal by Ottawa’s Mika Zibanejad turned the tide and led to the Senators’ 3-2 overtime victory.

On top of that, the Canadiens have lost captain Brian Gionta for the rest of the playoffs. They might also be without starting goaltender Carey Price after he was injured on Tuesday.

Even with all of that, they are still confident going into tonight’s contest.

“Quite frankly, I want to beat these guys,” Canadiens defenseman PK Subban said. “We have another opportunity tomorrow to play, and we can beat these guys. We’re better.”

Game 5: Pittsburgh Penguins host New York Islanders (7:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
Series tied at 2-2

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has struggled mightily in this series, especially in Game 4, so it’s no surprise that Tomas Vokoun will get the nod tonight.

Vokoun had an incredible 0.90 GAA and .970 save percentage in four games against the Islanders in four regular season games, so there is reason to be optimistic about this switch. At the same time, the Islanders have faced long odds this entire series and that hasn’t stopped them.

“We’re hoping they’re a little rattled, a little worried about us,” Islanders defenseman Matt Carkner told Newsday, “because we think we have every opportunity to win this series. The more frustrated they get, the better it is for us. I’m sure they’d love to be up 3-1 right now, but that’s hockey.”

Game 5: Chicago Blackhawks host Minnesota Wild (9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
Chicago leads 3-1

Speaking of goaltending, while we know Vokoun will replace Fleury tonight, Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo won’t reveal his starter or backup. Niklas Backstrom (lower body) and Josh Harding (leg) are both questionable, so it’s possible that Darcy Kuemper will end up starting.

That would be a lot of pressure for Kuemper, who has played in just seven NHL games, including his brief appearance in Game 4, but regardless of the Wild’s situation, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville will expect a lot from his team.

“Yesterday’s game is probably the minimal standard we should be looking for,” Quenneville said the day after they earned a 3-0 victory in Game 4.

If Chicago defeats Minnesota then they’ll become just the second Presidents’ Trophy winner in five years to advance past the first round.