May 1, 2013, 8:06 AM EST
Last night we had two games go into overtime and a third was tied through 40 minutes. Is that the start of a trend of tight games?
There are three more Game 1s tonight and they can all be viewed on NBC Sports Live Extra.
Game 1: The Boston Bruins host the Toronto Maple Leafs (7 p.m. ET, CNBC)
The Toronto Maple Leafs have finally ended their seven-season playoffs drought, but what will they do now that they’ve made it? Boston did finish the season with six games in nine days and had a 2-5-2 record in their last nine contests, so perhaps the Leafs can capitalize on those woes and take the series opener.
The big x-factor in this series is Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel. Typically Kessel is their biggest offensive threat, but he has just nine points and a minus-22 rating in 22 career contests against Boston. The Maple Leafs will have a hard time beating Boston if Kessel doesn’t hold his own against his former employers.
It’s also worth noting that Boston had a 3-1-0 record against Toronto in the regular season and were a perfect 6-0-0 versus the Maple Leafs in 2011-12.
Game 1: The Pittsburgh Penguins host the New York Islanders (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
The Pittsburgh Penguins might not get Sidney Crosby (broken jaw) back for tonight’s contest, but that still leaves them with forwards James Neal, Evgeni Malkin, and Jarome Iginla. On top of that, they have Chris Kunitz, who might not be a household name, but still had an impressive 22 goals and 52 points in 48 games this season.
So its safe to say that the Pittsburgh Penguins can score goals, but will they be able to stop them? Their first-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers in 2012 was light on defense or goaltending and the Penguins ultimately lost in six matches despite scoring 26 goals. They need to play a more balanced game this time around.
This will also be New York Islanders forward John Tavares‘ playoff debut. The 22-year-old has helped the Islanders turn their franchise around and could cause headaches for the Penguins in this series.
The Vancouver Canucks host the San Jose Sharks (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
There are lots of veterans on both teams that have been to the playoffs many times before and still haven’t won the Stanley Cup. 32-year-old twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin recently acknowledged that they’re running out of chances and San Jose Sharks captain Joe Thornton, 33, is in the same boat.
The fact that both teams have an aging core also means that as franchises they’re in serious jeopardy of letting their respective windows of opportunity slip away. Every series will be hard fought, but these are two teams that might play with an added level of desperation.
Beyond that, the big source of intrigue heading into this game is the status of Vancouver Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider, who is day-to-day with a “body” injury. If he’s unavailable, Roberto Luongo will be asked to bounce back from his 7-2 loss against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.
Jan 29, 2015, 5:28 PM EST
The first of a Thursday night doubleheader on NBCSN.
Jan 29, 2015, 4:36 PM EST
The Coyotes and Canucks, that’s who.
Jan 29, 2015, 3:36 PM EST
In the wake of the controversial injury to Derek Dorsett.
Jan 29, 2015, 3:29 PM EST
News and notes from around the crease…
Jan 29, 2015, 3:07 PM EST
Hopefully he can stay healthy this time.
Jan 29, 2015, 2:45 PM EST
“Consistency is still a word that we use constantly around here, bringing it all the time, and being emotionally attached to the games.”
Jan 29, 2015, 2:21 PM EST
Just months after COO John Collins said that jersey sponsorship “is coming” to the league.
Jan 29, 2015, 2:06 PM EST
“We’ve gotten better, and we’ve got to keep getting better.”
Jan 29, 2015, 1:51 PM EST
But the reigning Stanley Cup champs will have to share the stage with another L.A. team.
Jan 29, 2015, 1:02 PM EST
Statically, he’s in a class by himself.
Jan 29, 2015, 12:47 PM EST
Defenseman was 28th overall by Chicago in 2009.
Jan 29, 2015, 12:44 PM EST
Also insists: “For anybody that thinks that me and Lou [Lamoriello] are not on the same page, everybody’s wrong,”
Jan 29, 2015, 12:29 PM EST
Will make just his 17th appearance of the season tonight against Florida.
Jan 29, 2015, 12:15 PM EST
Second time this season.
Jan 29, 2015, 11:37 AM EST
Veteran Ottawa center will sit as a healthy scratch again tonight.
Jan 29, 2015, 11:30 AM EST
Scored a big goal last night versus Toronto.
Jan 29, 2015, 11:18 AM EST
The NHL’s 29th- and 30th-ranked teams get it on.
Jan 29, 2015, 10:58 AM EST
“There’s a lot of different avenues we have to explore here,” says Ron Hextall.
Jan 29, 2015, 10:36 AM EST
So you can probably guess where he stands on the matter.
Jan 29, 2015, 10:01 AM EST
He left the team after his father passed away.
- AHL announces new Pacific Division — who could go west next? 8
- Babcock didn’t think Wings would be ‘near where we’re at’ 11
- Brodeur announces retirement, leaves ‘the game with a big smile on my face’ 12
- NHL on NBCSN: Sharks’ ‘dog fight’ continues vs. red hot Ducks 4
- NHL on NBCSN: Rangers, Canadiens seek edge as divisional battles intensify 1
- Struggling Kings complete the comeback against Blackhawks 11
- Video: Tempers boil over between Capitals, Penguins 46
- Isles’ Clutterbuck latest to be fined for diving 19
- No hearing scheduled for Kesler after ‘dirty play’ on Dorsett 23
- Why NHL fans — no matter where they live — should care about the plunging Canadian dollar 33