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STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS OPEN THREAD- Apr 19/17

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The Blue Jackets staved off elimination, the Rangers battle back to tie their series with the Habs and the Oilers get a reality check in San Jose in last night's action. Tonight, 2 elimination games plus a chance for the Leafs and Sens to take 3-1 leads in their series.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

SAN JOSE 7 EDMONTON 0 (Series tied 2-2)

Coming off two straight shutouts by Cam Talbot and the Oilers, the San Jose Sharks needed their big names to step up in a big way and change the course of this series, and man did they ever last night at the SAP Center. Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture each scored twice, and Brent Burns had 3 assists as the Sharks hammered the Oilers 7-0. The Oilers have been playing with fire taking the number of penalties they have so far against San Jose, and with getting Joe Thornton back you knew they were due for an outburst like this, as the Sharks went 4/8 on the PP.

One thing that's also clear is that the young guns of the Oilers, namely Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl don't seem to be handling the way stars get treated by their opponents in the playoffs.

Is it right that the standards for penalty calls change come postseason (no matter what the league tries to tell us)? Of course it's not. But it's either naive or disingenuous of the Oilers, their fans and their media to react as though this is some new revelation. McDavid and Draisaitl are now in the world that Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Sidney Crosby and countless others have had to deal with. Battle through it and learn to pick your spots or it will be your downfall.

COLUMBUS 5 PITTSBURGH 4 (Penguins lead 3-1)

Facing elimination, the Blue Jackets got a 3 goal lead, then almost blew it, but hung on to win 5-4 and force a Game 5 in Pittsburgh Thursday. Jake Guentzel continues to be the story for the Penguins, notching his 5th goal of the playoffs to narrow it to a 1 goal lead late in the 3rd but they couldn't notch the equalizer. While the odds are still against them, they have at least given their fans some hope, and brought the series a little closer to where folks thought it should be.

NEW YORK 2 MONTREAL 1 (Series tied 2-2)

After losing 2 straight to the Habs Alain Vingneault shuffled his lines and it seemed to work, as a much better looking Rangers team withstood a late charge from Montreal to win 2-1 and tie up the series at two games a piece heading back to the Bell Centre for Game 5. After trading goals in the 1st, Rick Nash scored on a Montreal giveaway in the 2nd and that stood up as the winner. We'll see what Claude Julien does in response to try and get the momentum back in his chess match with his close friend AV.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Washington Capitals

4:00 PM PT - Air Canada Centre- Toronto, ON

TV: CBC - Radio: TSN 1410

The Leafs look to build off the excitement of their come from behind OT victory Monday night and send the series back to Washington for an elimination game. So many thought the Leafs didn't stand a chance, but they are full value for the series lead.

The Caps will be without D Karl Alzner, who has an upper body injury. Nate Schmidt will take his spot. They will also look to increase Alex Ovechkin's ice time tonight, so watch for him to get double shifted and try and get away from the defensive coverage the Leafs have done well with so far.

Ottawa Senators vs. Boston Bruins

4:30 PM PT - TD Garden- Boston, MA

TV: SN - Radio: N/A

This series is getting testy (big shock, right?) so expect the Bruins to come out and try and play their trademark brand of hockey tonight in an attempt to even the series. The Bruins have been suffering the same fate as the Oilers, playing overly aggressive and getting nailed on retaliation calls, so their discipline will be a factor tonight.

The Bruins will get Colin Miller back tonight, which should help their banged up defense a bit. Game 5 is in Ottawa Friday night.

Nashville Predators vs. Chicago Blackhawks

6:30 PM PT - Bridgestone Arena- Nashville, TN

TV: SN360 - Radio: N/A

The first of two elimination games tonight will see the Nashville Predators look  to compete the sweep of the top seed in the West, the Chicago Blackhawks. The Preds have done a hell of a job shutting the Blackhawks down, with the Hawks scoring for the 1st time in Game 3 only to blow a 2 goal lead and lose in OT. Unless the Hawks can stop the Preds and find a way through the best D in the NHL, this one ends tonight. The Hawks are good enough to do it, we've seen it before, but this Nashville team might just be this season's Cinderella...

Calgary Flames vs. Anaheim Ducks

7:00 PM PT - Scotiabank Saddledome- Calgary, AB

TV: CBC - Radio: TSN 1040

Speaking of done, the Calgary Flames could be out of the playoffs tonight if they can't find a way to keep the Anaheim Ducks from outscoring them the way they did Monday night. Usually scoring 4 goals is a pretty safe bet for a win, but the Ducks roared back, down 4-1 to tie it then win in OT.

They're trying to say all the pressure is on the Ducks right now, but with the Flames facing a sweep on home ice, that is purely gamesmanship. I expect the Ducks to move to the 2nd round tonight.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Old school time... here's Megadeth with Devil's Island live in Germany in 1988...