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Stanley Cup Playoffs Preview and Live Thread - April 23

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Last night the Winnipeg Jets were the first team eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs...


Tonight, Nashville and Vancouver might join them.

Tampa Bay Lightning at Detroit Red Wings, Game 5

Red Wings lead series 2-1

7:00 Eastern, NBCSN

Perhaps no team in the playoffs so far has had worse luck than the Tampa Bay Lightning.  The Lightning dominated the Red Wings both nights in Tampa Bay and still walked out of Florida with a 1-1 tie.  In Detroit the Lightning were shut out by Peter Mrazek and lost 3-0, but hit more posts than Jamie McGinn in his career, missed more open nets high and wide than Matt Duchene when Avs fans are hard on him, and broke more sticks on wide open slapshots than something that breaks a lot of sticks.  Better lucky than good and the Wings have been lucky so far.

Root for the Lightning: Because what other reason do you need?  You're an Avs fan! Fuck the Red Wings.

Root for the Red Wings: If you believe that a backup goalie can do anything if they just put their mind to it!

New York Islanders at Washington Capitals, Game 5

Series tied 2-2

7:00 PM Eastern, CNBC

This is probably the NHL's most tightly contested playoff series, trading wins back and forth with butt-clenching overtime after overtime.  John Tavares won it in game 3 for the Islanders, but it was Nicklas Backstrom who buried the OT goal in game 4.  The two teams split games at Verizon Center and Nassau Coliseum and now they head back to Washington for a pivotal game 5.

Root for the Capitals: If you think the Ovie-hop celebration is basically the best

Root for the Islanders: If you want Toronto fans to feel even worse, because now Grabovski is back and he'll be productive.

Chicago Blackhawks at Nashville Predators, Game 5

Blackhawks lead 3-1

9:30 PM Eastern, NBCSN

Tuesday night was an all-out war between the Blackhawks and the Predators who took THREE OVERTIMES to decide game four.  The Predators outshot the Blackhawks 52-48 in the 101:00 game, but Scott Darling brought more heroics to Chicago with a 50 save performance.  No word on whether the Predators will get Shea Weber back in the lineup for Game 5 (he missed 3 and 4 in Chicago), but it goes without saying that they need their top defenseman back if they hope to win three straight and take the series.

Root for the Predators: If you want to make Blackhawks fans sweat it out a while longer

Root for the Blackhawks: If you want to GET TO THE SECOND ROUND ALREADY

Calgary Flames at Vancouver Canucks, Game 5

Calgary leads 3-1

10:00 Eastern, CBC, USA, TVA Sport

The first period of Tuesday night's game was a high scoring affair with wunderkid Johnny Gaudreau, Henrik Sedin, Jiri Hudler, and wunderkid part deux Sam Bennett getting on the score sheet in the first 20 minutes.  After that? .....*crickets*....  Vancouver finished the game with 29 shots to Calgary's 22, but they couldn't solve Jonas Hiller a second or third time to tie the game.  Eddie Lack was pulled after the first period and Ryan Miller was perfect in relief, stopping all 15 shots that he faced.  The Canucks may go back to Ryan Miller in Game 5 as they hope to stave off elimination.

Root for the Flames: If you want Johnny Gaudreau to steal the Calder Trophy from Aaron Ekblad's more deserving hands

Root for the Canucks: If you still need to board up the windows of your Vancouver home and would appreciate a riot delay.