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2016 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS OPEN THREAD- Apr 20/16

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Two extremely disturbing incidents in last night's action that have no place in the game, and one's already seen the person who perpetrated it get off without even a slap on the wrist.

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LAST NIGHT'S GAMES:

- A late goal from Andrej Palat on the PP with just under 3 to go broke a 2-2 tie and gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a win last night, moving their series to 3 games to 1, giving them a chance to finish off the Detroit Red Wings in Game 5 at home. The Lightning's PP was lethal last night, as all 3 goals came with the man advantage. Nikita Kucherov got it started in the 1st with 2 PP goals, before the Wings tied it in the 2nd on goals from Darren Helm and Gustav Nyqvist.

- The Ducks got back in their series, getting goals from Jamie McGinn, Rickard Rakell, and Chris Stewart en route to a 3-0 win in Nashville, moving that series to 2-1 Predators. Frederik Andersson got the shutout for the Ducks, who made the switch after John Gibson lost the first two games in Anaheim.

- Matt Cullen's 1st of the post season broke a tie in the 3rd period and helped lead the Penguins to a 3-1 win over the New York Rangers in Game 3 of their series. Rick Nash opened the scoring with a short-handed goal in the 1st minute of the 2nd period, but the Penguins tied it in the last minute on a PPG from Sidney Crosby. Kris Letang added an empty net goal, and quite frankly, the fact that Letang was still in the game at that point was a shock. What's even more shocking is that the Department of Player Safety has already announced that there will not be a hearing for this:

I cannot possibly fathom how Letang could not be punished for this.

- Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice, and 3rd period goals from Jaden Schwartz and Alex Steen helped the Blues to a 4-3 win and a commanding 3-1 series lead over the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks got 2 goals from human trashbag Duncan Keith and one from Andrew Shaw. Yes, let's talk about Andrew Shaw for a moment, shall we? In a game that already saw Corey Crawford lose his stuff after Robbie Fabri bumped him, Shaw proceeded to hurl  disgusting homophobic insults on the ice and from the penalty box later in the game. At an official.

But was he done there? No, he was not.

After the way the Blackhawks handled the Patrick Kane and Garret Ross situations this season, both very serious and both handled by the Hawks that showed them to be at best tone deaf to the concerns. The NHL is now investigating, but much like the way the DoPS handled a seemingly no-brainer opportunity like the Letang slash last night, the league has previously passed on the chance to punish someone for a similar incident when the Flyers Wayne Simmonds uttered that word in a game. The Hawks held a special night with You Can Play just a couple weeks back, putting out all kinds of jointly-branded merchandise to let fans show they are partners in the battle for equal rights for the LGTBQ community, especially those in the hockey family. There's no incident, no game so hard fought that justifies Shaw's actions. He's disgraced the game, and as such needs to be punished for it. And while they're at it, maybe the NHL should be having a talk with their defending champions, who much like the LA Kings before them, have a flaming trail of hubris behind them, on and off ice actions of their players creating nothing but embarrassment for the game.

TONIGHT'S GAMES:

- Washington can be the first team through to the next round as they take on the Flyers in Game 4, leading their series 3 games to none. The Caps have made the most of the Flyers discipline issues, going 8 for 17 on the PP, and gotten great penalty killing, not allowing a goal on 13 attempts for the Flyers. They got a scare yesterday when Braden Hotlby collided with a teammate at practice, but he will be good to go tonight. The Flyers will be without Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, suspended a paltry one game for his hit from behind on Dmitri Orlov.

- Roberto Luongo and the Florida Panthers will be looking to tie up their series against the New York Islanders tonight in Game 4 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. As amazing as Jaromir Jagr's been this season, he is currently riding a 34 playoff game goalless streak, something that has to end if the Panthers want to move forward. The Islanders meanwhile will look to stop a trend of allowing goals in the first 5 minutes of the game, something they've done in all 3 games so far. Having to keep coming from behind like that will come back to haunt them if they're not careful.

- Many predicted Dallas would have an easy time with the wild card Minnesota Wild, but after a 5-3 win on Monday, the Wild are confident they can tie this series. Dallas meanwhile may look to put Antti Niemi for Game 4 over Kari Lehtonen, and the Stars already are without Tyler Seguin, will get Kris Russell back tonight, and Jamie Benn should be good to go after what they called a maintenance day yesterday. The Wild aren't getting Tomas Vanek or Zack Parise back yet, but could see Jarret Stoll and Ryan Carter slot back in tonight.

- The San Jose Sharks will look to bounce back from the disappointing OT loss Monday night against the Kings. Drew Doughty and the Kings are already have started insinuating the Sharks are thinking that they're going to blow this series like the one a couple years back when they had a 3-0 lead and lost to the Kings. Not likely to see many changes from either team heading into tonight's contest.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Tomorrow in Vancouver, and Friday in Victoria Finland's KALMAH will be laying waste to both cities. From the album SWAMPLORD, here's 'Heroes To Us'.