Another elimination-heavy slate of games today as the first round begins to wind down. Make sure you root for my Islanders!
ELIMINATION: Washington Capitals at New York Islanders, Game 6 (WSH 3 - 2 NYI)
3:00 PM Eastern, NBC
In what could be the final game at the storied Nassau Coliseum, the New York Islanders look to stave off elimination in a series they can't help but feel like they've let slip through their fingers, be it giving up a 3-1 lead in game 2 or dominating play in Game 4 only to come up short. The goaltending is the story of this series as Braden Holtby's .945 save percentage far outpaces Jaroslav Halak's .913. If the Isles can solve Holtby or Halak can elevate his game, this should go to a seventh game.
Detroit Red Wings at Tampa Bay Lightning, Game 5 (DET 2 - 2 TB)
6:00 PM Eastern, NBCSN
The only non-elimination game of the day sees maybe the first round's strangest series head into a tie-breaking game 5. While Tampa Bay has largely dominated the pace of play, Ben Bishop's .902 save percentage is among the worst in the playoffs. Soft and timely goals have kept Detroit in a series they haven't really proven they've belonged in and should Bishop remember that he's actually a decent goaltender, this shouldn't even be close but Detroit has some weird voodoo that always keeps them relevant despite not being a very good team.
ELIMINATION: Nashville Predators at Chicago Blackhawks, Game 6 ( NSH 2 - 3 CHI)
8:00 PM Eastern, NBC
Pekka Rinne's predictable return to earth naturally happened when it counted most for a franchise that has consistently done nothing with the multitude of playoff berths they've earned over the years and this year's club is on track to succumb to the demons of the past. Even though this is not the powerhouse Blackhawks team of recent seasons, the lack of offensive firepower on Nashville and Shea Weber's injury are a perfect combination of weaknesses to keep from exploiting the few holes Chicago has and Rinne's poor performance have held them back from beating a team that's starting Scott Darling in goal on purpose.
ELIMINATION: Vancouver Canucks at Calgary Flames, Game 6 (VAN 2 - 3 CGY)
9:00 PM Eastern, NBCSN
Maybe the most unwatchable series in terms of actual hockey talent, this series at least features one team that's been easy to cheer for as the Flames look to close out the Canucks in front of a buzzsaw of their home crowd. Flames goaltender Jonas Hiller has been great while his counterpart Eddie Lack was bad enough that Ryan Miller took his place and led the Canucks to a Game 5 victory. Those two will go at it again tonight as everyone once again has a chance to enjoy the contrast of the extremely high-quality skill on display on NSH-CHI versus the "how the hell are these two teams in the playoffs" slugfests featured in this series. Hooray, I guess.
Have a humorous hockey gif