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2018 NHL Playoffs Round 1- Game 5 Open Thread Apr 20/18

Elimination Friday looms for the Avs, Flyers and Wild, plus a look back at last night’s action

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Minnesota Wild at Winnipeg Jets Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Final 8 in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs could become a whole lot clearer tonight as we have 3 elimination games on tap. Let’s start off by reviewing last night’s games, shall we?

BOSTON 3 TORONTO 1 (Bruins lead series 3-1)

The Leafs seemed to be handed an opportunity heading into last night’s game as word broke before gametime that Patrice Bergeron was out with an upper body injury. Surely, given their Game 3 victory, this would fuel the Leafs to another win, right? Nothing says you’re wrong about that like giving up a goal in the first minute, which the Leafs did. In a game where they should have come out like gangbusters, much of the team reverted to a passive, almost disinterested style, and the Bruins took advantage. The Leafs now look to avoid being eliminated in 5 games, when many (including yours truly) had picked them to win this series.

WASHINGTON 4 COLUMBUS 1 (Series tied 2-2)

This one might end up being the only one that goes the distance at this rate. The Blue Jackets failed to take advantage of home ice, and after losing in OT the other night came out flat, and the Caps got a 7 point night out of their top line of Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson. The series will now shift back to Washington and the challenge for John Tortorella is to try and get his team back to playing the confident, fearless hockey that saw them take the first two games of this series. That, and players not names Artemi Panarin need to step up and contribute offensively.

PHILADELPHIA @ PITTSBURGH - 7:00 EDT/ 4:00 PDT (CBC) (Penguins lead series 3-1)

The Flyers certainly hope they can get the Selke Trophy nominated Sean Couturier back in their lineup tonight, but they’re going to need more than that if they hope to extend this series. Claude Giroux has been noticeably quiet in the series, and they’re not going to win this without a big game from their captain. And whether it’s Brian Elliott or Michal Neuvirth in net, they’re going to need their goalie to steal a game for them or else this one’s done tonight.

WINNIPEG @ MINNESOTA - 7:30 EDT/ 4:30 PDT (SN) (Jets lead series 3-1)

While Winnipeg has been the better team thus far, it wouldn’t be a shock to see this series heading back to Minnesota for game 6. The Jets are without a number of key defencemen, and with Josh Morrissey serving a one game suspension tonight for his cross check to the head of Eric Staal in Game 4, they’re even more depleted on the back end. The Wild meanwhile are shuffling in a couple players from their AHL team in hopes of sparking something. Ryan Murphy and Kyle Rau draw in tonight, in place of Tyler Ennis and Carson Soucy. With Zach Parise out, someone on the Wild needs to step up offensively or they’ll go down in history as the first team to lose to this Winnipeg franchise.

COLORADO @ NASHVILLE- 9:30 EDT/ 6:30 PDT (SN) (Predators lead series 3-1)

The Avalanche are looking to the Hamburgler to get them back to Denver for a Game 6 as Andrew Hammond gets the start for the Avs tonight. The fact this series has been as close as it is, especially considering all the injuries for the Avs speaks volumes about this club’s potential for the future. The Preds will be without Ryan Hartman tonight, who is missing one game after being suspended for a headshot in the last game.