The last of the Conference Semifinals series starts tonight and then we’ll see if the San Jose Sharks can end the Los Angeles Kings’ perfect record at home in the 2013 playoffs.
Please keep in mind that both games can be watched online in addition to the channels listed below.
Game 1: Boston Bruins host New York Rangers (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
The New York Rangers and Boston Bruins both needed the full seven games to best their first-round foes, but between them, the Rangers have looked like the better team lately.
After falling behind in their series against the Washington Capitals, Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist posted back-to-back shutouts in Games 6 and 7 to show why he’s arguably the best goaltender in the league. The question is how much help he’ll get from his teammates.
The Rangers’ offense seemed to wake up in Game 7, with captain Ryan Callahan being one of the four New York players to score his first goal of the 2013 postseason. However, Rick Nash hasn’t scored yet and Brad Richards has just one assist in the playoffs. Richards’ struggles have been especially concerning, given that he’s been bumped down to the fourth line.
For Boston, the big question is their defense. Defensemen Wade Redden, Dennis Seidenberg, and Andrew Ference are all dealing with injuries and it would be a huge blow to Boston’s blueline if they had to enter tonight’s contest without any of those three.
At the same time, some of their younger blueliners like Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton held their own late in the first round, so maybe the Bruins will be able to overcome those injuries.
Game 2: Los Angeles Kings host San Jose Sharks (10:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
Los Angeles leads series 1-0
So far, Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick has been just as effective against the San Jose Sharks as he was against the St. Louis Blues in the first round. The Sharks managed to get 35 shots on net in Game 1, but the Kings still won 2-0.
“I spent six days reviewing the St. Louis series, and I heard a lot of the same stuff coming out of their mouths,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan told CSN Bay Area. “We didn’t accomplish enough. There is a team that just played against them for six nights, and said they had a lot of chances and the goaltender made a number of saves. We can’t be that team again.”
Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle added that his team needs to be “a little hungrier and a little dirtier and a little meaner in front of their net.”
We’ll see if they can solve Quick tonight, but before they get that chance, there’s one other matter to be settled. Sharks forward Raffi Torres has been offered an in-person hearing for his hit on Kings forward Jarret Stoll.
Torres and McLellan both argued that his hit was clean, but his shoulder appeared to hit Stoll’s head and Stoll was forced out of the game as a result of the incident. Torres has a lengthy suspension history, including his 25-game (later reduced to 21-game) suspension for a high hit on Chicago’s Marian Hossa in the 2012 playoffs.