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Stanley Cup Playoffs Preview and Live Thread - April 21

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Three game fours coming your way! (Oh and Tampa Bay - Detroit too)

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Six teams looking to take the edge in their series, one team hoping to hold on a little longer, and one team looking to take absolute control over their opponent.

Tampa Bay Lightning at Detroit Red Wings, Game 3

Series Tied 1-1

7:00 Eastern, NBCSN, TVA Sports, SN, FS-F, FS-D

The Tampa Bay Lightning were absolutely dominant in their two games on home ice, but the Red Wings' Peter Mrazek was able to steal game one with one of the best goaltending performances of the playoffs so far.  Now the series moves back to Joe Louis arena all tied up at one win a piece. The surprising Nikita Nesterov leads the Lightning with three points while Pavel Datsyuk, Kyle Quincey, and Darren Helm share the Red Wings scoring lead with two points each.

Root for the Lightning: If you want to imagine what could have been for the Avalanche (Sign Carle, Trade for Callahan, Sing Filpula, Sign Stralman, get 1st rounder for Quincey instead of Caron)

Root for the Red Wings: If you miss the days when DDC ran MHH

Washington Capitals at New York Islanders, Game 4

Islanders lead 2-1

7:30 PM Eastern, USA, SN360, TVA2, CSN-DC, MSG+

Nassau Coliseum was as loud and alive as it's been in decades on Sunday when the Islanders took game three in dramatic fashion.  After trailing for most of the game Nicklas Backstrom scored the game tying goal for his Washington Capitals with just under 7:00 left on the clock.  The game went to overtime but John Tavares had no interest in playing another full period of hockey and buried the Capitals with a rebound goal just 15 seconds into the extra frame.

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Root for the Capitals: If you want to see Barry Trotz' excellent coaching finally validated by a quality team in front of him

Root for the Islanders: If you want to believe that the Avs can acquire 2 good dmen in one summer and turn it around.

Nashville Predators at Chicago Blackhawks, Game 4

Blackhawks lead 2-1

9:30 PM Eastern, NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 3, FS-TN, CSN-CH

The Predators fought hard in the first two, relatively even games against the Blackhawks, but on home ice the Blackhawks reminded us all what a tried and tested playoff team can do to one that's a little greener when it comes to post season competition.  Of course the Blackhawks also removed two of their biggest obstacles before doubling up on the Predators in game three.  The Predators are missing All-Star defenseman Shea Weber for at least one more game, and the Blackhawks also removed their biggest goaltending obstacle by removing the absolutely terrible Corey Crawford from their own net and replacing him with Scott Darling.

Root for the Predators: If you want Craig Smith (who?) to continue leading the NHL in post season points.

Root for the Blackhawks: If you want someone in the second round who can actually stop the Minnesota Wild.

Vancouver Canucks at Calgary Flames, Game 4

Calgary leads 2-1

10:00 Eastern, CBC, USA, TVA Sport

Youngsters have led the way for both sides in this tightly contested series.  Four of Calgary's top five scorers, Kris Russell, TJ Brodie, Sean Monahan, Sam Bennett, and Johnny Gaudreau are 24 years or younger.  Meanwhile, youngster Bo Horvat leads the way for the Vancouver Canucks with three points in three games.  This series arguably features the two least dangerous teams in the playoffs, but it's made for an even matchup so far.

Root for the Flames: If you want to ride the feel good train into the second round where it gets completely derailed.

Root for the Canucks: If you want the Canucks to last long enough for "The Sedin's aren't clutch" narratives to show up.