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STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS OPEN THREAD- Apr 18/17

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If you can remember a better night of hockey that didn't involve the Canucks over the last 20 years, I would be surprised. 4 spectacular OT games that all involved comebacks, crazy bounces and jaw-dropping goals. The bar has been set high for tonight's action.

Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

ANAHEIM 5 CALGARY 4 OT (Ducks lead 3-0)

The Calgary Flames hoped that home ice would help turn the tide in their series with the Anaheim Ducks, and for the first half of the game it sure looked like that would do the trick. Goals from Sean Monahan, Kris Versteeg, Michael Stone and Sam Bennett gave the Flames a 4-1 lead half way through the 2nd. The Ducks needed a spark, and they got it in the last minute of the period, when Shea Theodore scored, narrowing the gap to 4-2.

Nate Thompson and Theodore would be major factors in the win for the Ducks, Thompson scoring and then assisting on Theodore's 2nd goal with less than 5 minutes left. Thompson also got an assist on Corey Perry's OT winner as the Ducks can now sweep the Flames on Wednesday night at the Saddledome. One thing that's not getting enough attention is the play of Kevin Bieksa. A lightning rod for criticism by Ducks fans this season, he's been in full on 2011 Kev-mode, and has 4 assists in these 3 games.

NASHVILLE 3 CHICAGO 2 OT (Predators lead 3-0)

Unlike the Flames, the Blackhawks hoped that getting away from the pressure to perform at home would help them battle back in their series with Nashville, and just like the Flames, it started well. The Blackhawks scored for the first time in the series, Dennis Rasmussen scoring just 1:05 in. You could hear the exhaled sigh of relief from Hawks fans when Patrick Kane made it 2-0, from Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith on a PP 10 minutes later. The game remained 2-0 until the third, when the Preds cued their comeback.

Filip Forsberg, who apart from Pekka Rinne has been their MVP this year scored twice in the 3rd, sending this one to OT as well. And in that OT Corey Crawford made a save on Nashville's Kevin Fiala (around 4:38 on the video) that looked like it could be a series saver, only to give up the winner to Fiala shortly thereafter. The Hawks are now facing elimination Thursday night, but I would be surprised if they aren't playing in Chicago on the weekend.

OTTAWA 4 BOSTON 3 OT (Senators lead 2-1)

After a thrilling OT win on Saturday, the Senators headed into Boston determined to wrestle home ice advantage away from the Bruins and did they ever come storming out. The TD Garden crowd was stunned to silence as the Sens scored twice in 25 seconds, giving them a 2-0 lead less than 8 minutes into the game. They made it 3-0 with Mike Hoffman's 2nd goal of the night, and looked to be in the driver's seat when the Bruins began their comeback.

Noel Acciari, David Backes and David Pastrnak all scored in the 2nd to tie the game at 3. With no scoring in the 3rd, and in OT the Bruins took a 'controversial' penalty. It's controversial because unlike other times when a Bruins player took a shitty cheapshot at someone, they didn't have a pathetic power play not make them pay for it. Making it worse, Bobby Ryan, who was the recipient of the punch from Riley Nash, scored the winner to give the Sens the series lead. The Bruins faithful took it in stride, littering the ice with garbage and trying to grab the stick of a Sens player as they left the ice. Never change, Broons fans. Also, check the Hoffman goal at the start of the video. That pass by Karlsson, are you kidding me? That might be the greatest goal of not just this season, but the modern era of the NHL. Pure and absolute wizardry.

TORONTO 4 WASHINGTON 3 OT (Maple Leafs lead 2-1)

After Saturday's double OT classic the Leafs returned home to a raucous ACC, but the Capitals were determined to steal their thunder, and the line of Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin and TJ Oshie struck twice in the first 5 minutes. The Leafs were back on their heels, but got a spark from who else but Auston Matthews, with his 1st of the playoffs to narrow the lead to 1. The Caps restored their lead on an Evgeni Kuznetsov goal in the 2nd, but Nazem Kadri (who had a huge game, with some thundering hits) and William Nylander with the tying goal late in the 2nd tied it at 3-3.

After a scoreless 3rd they went to OT setting the stage for Tyler Bozak, who tipped a point shot past Braden Holtby to give the Leafs the win and the series lead. Game 3 goes Wednesday at the ACC.

Montreal Canadiens vs. New York Rangers

4:00 PM PT - Madison Square Garden- New York, NY

TV: CBC - Radio: TSN 1410 (Canadiens lead 2-1)

The Habs will look for another strong game from Alexander Radulov as they try and get a firm grip on the series. The Rangers meanwhile will try to figure out ways to get more offense out of their lineup. AV's crew is in tough against a Montreal squad that seems to be finding their form.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Columbus Blue Jackets

3:00 PM PT - Nationwide Arena- Columbus, OH

TV: SN360 - Radio: N/A (Penguins lead 3-0)

Tonight features the first elimination game of the playoffs as the Penguins look to sweep the Blue Jackets in Columbus. The Jackets have been game opponents, but haven't been able to come out on top yet. And having lost Zach Werenski to facial fractures from taking a slapshot in the head during the last game, it's going to be even tougher.

San Jose Sharks vs. Edmonton Oilers

7:00 PM PT - SAP Center- San Jose, CA

TV: SN - Radio: TSN 1040 (Oilers lead 2-1)

The Sharks need to find ways to score, and so does Brent Burns. The top scoring defenceman in the league this season is pointless so far, and unless he and the Sharks can solve the Oilers D, Cam Talbot and figure out what to do about Zack Kassian, they are in big trouble. After their first Finals appearance last year, there were high expectations in San Jose. It is starting to look like those old Sharks, with the reputation of sputtering out in the postseason, are back again.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

As you may know, I love me some Greek Thrash Metal (is that a thing? yes, yes it is.), and this new one from AMKEN is the latest killer release from that country. Check out D.A.P. from their album 'Theater Of The Absurd', out now on No Remorse Records.