Three elimination games tonight to kick off what should be an awesome weekend of emotionally detached hockey. Let’s take a look at what’s on tap:
Normally, you’d feel pretty good about the Penguins chances in this situation: At home, with an opportunity to close out the series against the Rangers. Throw in the fact that they’ll be without Sidney Crosby tonight, and that changes everything. He’s been their best player by far in this series, and already having to deal with both of their regular goaltenders being out, this could open the door just wide enough for the Rangers to force a Game Seven Sunday night.
The Florida Panthers are poised to win their first playoff series since 1996, and it’s due in part to the surprise of the post-season so far: Carter Verhaeghe. Verhaeghe has 5 goals and 5 assists in the series, leading all scorers and tied for third overall in playoff scoring. It’s allowed the Panthers to play through some of their bigger names getting shut down by the Capitals. The Panthers are starting to hit their stride, so don’t be shocked if this one ends tonight.
The Flames are going to need another big night from Jacob Markstrom if they hope to avoid heading back to Calgary for a Game 7 on Sunday. They’ve won two straight after falling behind in the series, but those plucky Stars won’t go down without a fight.