COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS VS TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING- 7:00PM EDT/4:00PM PDT (Columbus leads 3-0)
Normally we’d say that all of the pressure is on the team with the 3-0 to try and close it out, but this isn’t a normal situation. If the Blue Jackets win tonight, they will have pulled off an upset that will be talked about for years to come. Imagine, putting together a team that rolls off one of the most dominant regular season performances in NHL history, and then folding in 4 straight games in the first round of the playoffs. No one even made jokes about this, because it was so inconceivable that it wasn’t funny. And yet, here we are. This is all on Tampa, and they’ve showed nothing save for the first period of Game 1 that they were capable of beating John Tortorella’s team. I think the fact that they opened the series makes this even worse, because it looks like they think they should just be crowned kings. I’m not suggesting that’s what they actually thought, but they’re shook. I don’t care what they say, this is a team that is scared to death about losing this game and the only possible good thing is that if they win tonight, history will be slightly kinder to them unless they do something that’s only been done 4 times in NHL history and just twice in the last 20 years. And even then, it shouldn’t be celebrated because there’s no way in hell they ever should have been in this situation in the first place.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS VS PITTSBURGH PENGUINS- 7:30PM EDT/4:30PM PDT (New York leads 3-0)
There are 2 really good reasons to cheer for an Islanders victory tonight. First, the Penguins are awful and they deserve a little misery in their lives. Secondly, any chance of an Islanders/Leafs series should be encouraged by every person on this planet because it will make the Leafs/Bruins series look like a bunch of exhibition friendlys.
ST LOUIS BLUES VS WINNIPEG JETS- 9:30PM EDT/6:30PM PDT- (St Louis leads 2-1)
The Jets are coming off a strong performance Sunday night and hope to be able to send this series back to Winnipeg tied at 2. Will we see a bounce back game from Jordan Binnington, who got pumped for 6 by the Jets at home Sunday? If the Jets get another big game from guys like Patrik Laine and Dustin Byfuglien, we could see this one go at least 6 games.
VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS VS SAN JOSE SHARKS- 10:30PM EDT/7:30PM PDT (Vegas leads 2-1)
After dropping Game 1, the Golden Knights have looked a lot more like themselves, though they can thank Mark Stone for the fact that they’re up 2 games to 1 right now. Stone has been on fire, including a hat trick Sunday. He’s got 6 goals in 3 games and is a (very) early Conn Smythe favourite should they make a return to the Finals. The Sharks will dress Joonas Donskoi and Lukas Radil tonight to replace the suspended Joe Thornton and injured Michael Haley. What’s key for the Sharks is they need a huge game from Martin Jones tonight. If he can’t set up a wall in the San Jose crease they’re in big trouble.