This has been an incredible first round, multiple OT games every night, series we expected to be short ending up incredibly close, just everything that makes the playoffs the playoffs and it's every single night. What a great event.
A bit of a light night tonight but by the end we could see the Most eXtreme elimination Challenge aka the Stanley Cup Playoffs claim two more victims.
#8 New York Islanders at #1 Pittsburgh Penguins (2-2)
7:00 Eastern, NBC Sports, TSN
And the Islanders aren't one of them. Tomas Vokoun has been confirmed to start in goal tonight as Marc-Andre Fleury has begun letting beachballs in. A few days ago I said this:
If you're up with us for the noon-eastern start, keep an eye on Marc-Andre Fleury. If he starts letting beachballs in, the Isles have a chance.
Fleury has gone full sieve, gentlemen. You never go full sieve. The Penguins are hoping that Vokoun can stop the bleeding and allow their all-star roster to go back to overwhelming the Islanders, whose quickness and speed have have been too much for a really average Pens defense at times. Of course, Evgeni Nabokov is backstopping the Islanders, so, if Vokoun can even be respectable in net, we should expect Pittsburgh to turn this thing back around.
How big is that if?
#7 Ottawa Senators at #2 Montreal Canadiens (3-1 OTT)
7:00 Eastern, CNBC, CBC, RDS
Here's your slow-motion trainwreck series. It's been more than amusing for those of us who aren't exactly Habs fans to watch them slowly collapse like a birthday balloon, but for Montreal it's been really just appalling to watch. Also Paul McLean is awesome with the media. Seriously this guy is just fantastic in a scrum.
Ottawa could eliminate Montreal with a win tonight and would go on to face... well, at this point, Pittsburgh, Washington, or Boston are all equally likely options.
#8 Minnesota Wild at #1 Chicago Blackhawks (3-1 CHI)
9:30 Eastern, NBC Sports, CBC
The Wild finished Game 4 with Darcy Kuemper in net. (Who?) He only let in two, including one on his first shot, welcome to the playoffs bud, but this highlights how difficult it will be for Minnesota to stave off elimination with Niklas Backstrom not healthy enough to be on the starting roster (but not so hurt he can't be Kuemper's backup? how does that work) and Josh Harding, who had been really good, now of unknown injury status himself.
Chicago could eliminate Minnesota with a win tonight and would go on to face, in all likelihood, San Jose, although Anaheim hasn't put detroit out of its misery yet.