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.
Mar 5, 2015, 9:18 AM EST
J.T. Brown is banged up.
Mar 5, 2015, 8:35 AM EST
Mar 5, 2015, 1:47 AM EST
Four straight wins for Anaheim.
Mar 5, 2015, 1:04 AM EST
Fighting for tops in the Metropolitan Division.
Mar 5, 2015, 12:19 AM EST
What a roll he and the Sens are on.
Mar 4, 2015, 11:36 PM EST
He’s been consistently putting the puck in the net at the NHL level since 1996.
Mar 4, 2015, 11:06 PM EST
What better way to make an impression on new teammates.
Mar 4, 2015, 10:40 PM EST
Mar 4, 2015, 9:49 PM EST
Big Buff out could be a Big Loss for Winnipeg.
Mar 4, 2015, 9:26 PM EST
Good news for NYR.
Mar 4, 2015, 8:48 PM EST
Big Buff doing Big Buff things.
Mar 4, 2015, 8:26 PM EST
Also, for causing “significant injury.”
Mar 4, 2015, 7:23 PM EST
8 p.m. ET, on NBCSN
Mar 4, 2015, 6:50 PM EST
“It’s definitely an issue that needs a collective focus from our managers and the league in terms of how to deal with it.”
Mar 4, 2015, 6:18 PM EST
“It’s probably undeniable that down the road when [Chara] is done with his career, if Bergeron is here it would be pretty hard to not make him the next captain.”
Mar 4, 2015, 5:30 PM EST
An Original Six matchup at the Joe.
Mar 4, 2015, 4:43 PM EST
Has appeared in just three games for the Blue Jackets since being traded from Toronto.
Mar 4, 2015, 4:13 PM EST
‘Hawks are hoping he can “recapture” his early-season form.
Mar 4, 2015, 3:32 PM EST
Hurt it in practice.
Mar 4, 2015, 3:04 PM EST
Another small crowd last night at BB&T Center.
- Video: Zidlicky’s first goal with Detroit gives Red Wings OT win over Rangers 30
- Video: P.K. Subban illustrates hockey instincts through GoPro camera perspective 3
- Video: Lundqvist could be back in 10 to 14 days 7
- Isles’ Martin suspended one game for ‘reckless’ knee on Daley 11
- More bad luck for the B’s — Connolly out 6 weeks with fractured finger 23
- Fehr willing to give Panthers ‘a reasonable opportunity’ to redevelop market 51
- Video: Isles’ Martin to face hearing for ‘stupid’ knee-on-knee hit 39
- NHL on NBCSN: Reloaded Red Wings, Rangers set to battle tonight 51
- Bernier bests Panthers as Luongo goes from injured (and in street clothes) to back in net 4
- Phaneuf, Cuthbert and Lupul threaten lawsuit after tweet goes to air 59
- Wild beat Avs, dying seconds fight set stage for rematch (171)
- Petrovic: Chicago will ‘probably seek revenge’ for Kane injury tonight (82)
- Winners and losers of the 2015 trade deadline (78)
- Trade: Blackhawks acquire Vermette from Arizona for Dahlbeck, first rounder (74)
- Wings get Zidlicky from Devils (74)