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2016 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS OPEN THREAD- Apr 21/16

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The Panthers battle back to evens, the Flyers stave off elimination, and the Sharks and Stars are one win away from advancing after last night's action...

Pictured: Noted goons Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
Pictured: Noted goons Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

LAST NIGHT'S GAMES:

- You can't imagine a more pressure filled situation than the one Michal Neuvirth faced last night, given the start for the Philadelphia Flyers in an elimination game against his former team. And it was Neuvirth who stood tall against a barrage of Washington Capitals shots in the 3rd, allowing the Flyers to hang on for a 2-1 win and holding off what seemed like the inevitable for the time being. A PPG from Shayne Gostisbehere in the 1st, and a 2nd period goal from Andrew MacDonald helped the Flyers to the lead, but a 3rd period marker from TJ Oshie gave the Caps some life. They pressed hard, but did not get the equalizer past Neuvirth, who has likely wrestled the starting job from Steve Mason.

- A John Tavares goal with 15 seconds left broke his shutout, but Roberto Luongo rose to the occasion and helped Florida tie up their series with the New York Islanders at 2 games a piece. Teddy Purcell and Alex Petrovic scored for Florida, who head home now for Game 5. Petrovic had just two goals in 112 NHL games, so it's easy to say this was the biggest of his career to date.

- It was a er... wild 2nd period in Minnesota, the teams trading goals, but it was a Jason Spezza goal late in the period that stood up as the winner, giving the Stars a 3-2 victory and 3-1 series lead heading back to Dallas for Game 5. Alex Hemsky and Patrick Eaves scored PP goals for Dallas, while Jason Pomminville and Charlie Coyle scored for the Wild.

- The San Jose Sharks made LA pay when they took penalties, going 3 for 4 on the PP and then withstanding a 3rd period Kings surge to win 3-2 and head to LA looking to eliminate the Kings in Game 5. The difference in this series is the Sharks getting scoring from their big name players and the Kings have not. Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau, who scored early in the 3rd got the winner, while Trevor Lewis and Luke Schenn scored for LA.

TONIGHT'S GAMES:

- The Tampa Bay Lightning will look to eliminate Detroit tonight in Game 5 at the Amalie Arena in Tampa. That balanced scoring Tampa was looking for has started to appear, most notably Jonathan Drouin assisting on 3 goals in Tuesday's win, not bad for a guy who wasn't supposed to play another game for this franchise. Detroit's biggest problem thus far is failing to capitalize on PP opportunities, going 1 for 21 so far. They're going to need to change that, among other things if they hope to get back into this.

- The defending Stanley Cup Champs could find themselves bounced in the first round again as the Blackhawks look to avoid elimination at the hands of the St Louis Blues. The Hawks will be without Andrew Shaw tonight, suspended 1 game for being a homophobic idiot. The Blues will see Robert Bortuzzo slot in to replace the injured Carl Gunnerson. No other changes for either team, but this one will be interesting to watch, because the knock on the Blues under Hitchcock is their inability to advance in the postseason, and they'll have to do it against pretty much the best team in Games 4-7 in the Blackhawks.

- The New York Rangers will be looking to tie up their series against the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight, and if they're going to win they will need to get more than the 16 shots they managed against rookie goalie Matt Murray in Game 3. One thing to watch is if there's any blowback over the vicious slash Kris Letang delivered to Viktor Stalberg in Game 3, separating Stalberg from a few of his teeth. Another interesting note, the Rangers have recalled a few players from their AHL squad, including former Canucks prospect Nicklas Jensen.

- Nashville will also be looking to push the Ducks to the brink of elimination in their series after dropping Game 3 to the Anaheim Ducks in a 3-0 shutout performance by Frederik Andersen. The Preds will be without Craig Smith, injured in Game 3, and that could be a big blow to Nashville's chances. No changes for Anaheim, as they look to build on what was a much better performance after 2 lousy ones at home.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Brazil is a country in turmoil right now. Political upheaval as they are trying to impeach a corrupt government, and controversy over the drastic measures they've done to put on the upcoming Olympics in Rio De Janeiro. One of the good things about such turmoil is it always leads to great art, and in Brazil, that means more angry, political metal. The home of Sepultura, Krisiun and countless others is also home to NERVOSA. This all female 3 piece thrash beast is releasing a new album soon on Napalm Records, and here's a taste for you called 'Intolerance Means War'.