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MHH Playoffs Live Thread! April 16th, 2012

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Kind of mailed it in today for the previews. All info taken from

The Game of the Night - #1 New York Rangers at #8 Ottawa Senators, Game 3, 7:30 pm Eastern, CNBC & CBC

Big Story: The Senators decided to take a different approach to Game 2 after losing Game 1. Coach Paul MacLean went with a tougher lineup, inserting defenseman Matt Carkner and forward Zenon Konopka, and the moves worked to perfection. Carkner jumped Brian Boyle at the start of the game, setting the tone while getting ejected and taking the Rangers' Brandon Dubinsky with him. The win came at what could be an expensive price -- Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson left the game after taking an elbow to the head from Carl Hagelin and may not be available for Game 3.

Rangers: They were five minutes away from a 2-0 lead in the series before a fortunate bounce led to the Senators tying it late and forcing overtime, where Chris Neil won it 1:17 into the extra session. Despite the lucky hops, the Senators outplayed the Rangers for stretches, and Lundqvist knows his team needs to improve in Game 3.

Senators: While the Ottawa holds its breath waiting for word on its captain, the Senators will likely ice the same bruising lineup it did in Game 2. Konopka, who assisted on the game-tying goal by Nick Foligno, expects the rest of this series to be equally as nasty.

Players to watch

New York: Brian Boyle. Two goals in this series so far.

Ottawa: Nick Foligno (1g, 1a) and Kyle Turris (0g, 2a). Two points each. Go to guys?

The "UMAD Timmy? Game - #2 Boston Bruins at #7 Washington Capitals, Game 3, 7:30 pm Eastern, NBC Sports, CBC. Series tied 1-1.

Big Story: The Washington Capitals will try to steal control of this series, while the Boston Bruins are trying to figure out a hot young goaltender.

Bruins: Regardless of the score, the Boston Bruins controlled the play for most of Game 1. Had the same thing occurred in Game 2, even a loss could have been dismissed as bad luck. But the Bruins did not control Game 2 for long stretches -- it was a pretty evenly-matched affair, as both teams had time with the puck and chances to score throughout.

Capitals: Can Washington continue to play disciplined, defensive hockey for an entire series? There have been glimpses of this during Dale Hunter's brief tenure, but rarely back-to-back contests of such consistency like the Capitals have produced in the first two games of this series.

Players to watch

Boston: Tim Thomas. He was maaaaaaad last game. Oh, and he's also playing kind of well with a playoff lead GAA of 0.83.

Washington: Alexander Semin. Watch out, the boy's getting brave in dem dare playoffs! Or crazy. He blocked a Zdeno Chara shot during the first OT on Saturday.

The "This is getting good" Game - #2 St. Louis Blues at #7 San Jose Sharks, Game 3, 10:00 pm Eastern, CNBC & TSN

Big Story: The Sharks, who needed a win on the final night of the regular season just to secure the seventh spot in the Western Conference, return home with a much-needed split of the first two games in St. Louis.

Blues: St. Louis will be without starting goaltender Jaroslav Halak for Game 3, as he was forced to leave Saturday night's 3-0 win at the Scottrade Center due to a lower-body injury. Halak was hurt when Blues defenseman Barret Jackman collided with his goaltender early in the second period.

With Halak out, Brian Elliott will get the start for St. Louis. Elliott is coming off a phenomenal season that saw him go 23-10-4 with a 1.56 goals-against average and .940 save percentage.

Sharks: More than 130 penalty minutes were handed out during Game 2, and San Jose knows it must remain focused on the task at hand -- victories -- if it hopes of ousting the second-seeded Blues. Sharks coach Todd McLellan said Sunday that he liked the way his team responded to what transpired Saturday night, but wins are more important.

Players to watch

St. Louis: Brian Elliott. Lil' Tank is doing pretty well for himself.

San Jose: Martin Havlat. Leads the Sharks with 2 goals and seems all over the ice.

Team SBN sites for those who are so inclined:

Fear the Fin – San Jose Sharks

St. Louis Game Time – St. Louis Blues

Silver Seven – Ottawa Senators

Blueshirt Banter – New York Rangers

Japers’ Rink – Washington Capitals (solid site, btw)

Stanley Cup of Chowder – Boston Bruins

Second City HockeyChicago Blackhawks

Five for HowlingPhoenix Coyotes