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Playoffs tonight: Crosby’s back

May 3, 2013, 8:41 AM EDT

crosbygetty Getty Images

The playoff schedule is moving along swiftly and four more games come your way tonight including a pair of teams who faced off last night.

A pair of teams try to shake off tough losses while two more are looking to bounce back after lackluster games. Catch all the action on NBC Sports Live Extra.

Game 2: Pittsburgh Penguins host the New York Islanders up 1-0 (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

Big story, requires few words: Sidney Crosby is back.

Now, back to our regularly-scheduled previewing.

The Islanders are hoping for better things for themselves tonight. After getting drubbed 5-0 in Game 1, they’ve got some recuperating to do in Game 2. One thing coach Jack Capuano has to get figured out fast is how to free up his top line. John Tavares, Matt Moulson, and Brad Boyes combined for just four shots in Game 1. They rely too much on those guys for production to have them be held silent.

Pittsburgh, meanwhile, wants more of the same. Their physical play on the Islanders seemed to help their “deer in the headlights” way of playing. When you figure the Pens were able to dominate the way they did without Crosby or Brooks Orpik in the lineup, maybe those guys can just keep practicing until the second round starts.

Hot tip for the Isles: Fix the penalty kill. Pittsburgh was 2-4 on the power play in Game 1.

Game 2: Montreal Canadiens host the Ottawa Senators down 1-0 (7 p.m. ET, CNBC)

Last night’s Game 1 certainly wasn’t lacking in fireworks or controversy. We’ll know of Eric Gryba‘s fate after his crushing hit on Lars Eller later this afternoon. Montreal’s got bigger problems than worrying if a third-pair defenseman is going to be punished, however.

The Habs’ biggest issue: Figuring out Craig Anderson. The Ottawa goalie stopped 48 out of 50 shots in last night’s victory including 25 in the second period. If they can’t rattle Anderson and get the Montreal faithful roaring behind him, they’re in trouble. Speaking of trouble, there’s Carey Price.

Price has struggled late this season and those troubles carried over into Game 1 as he gave up three third period goals on the way to the 4-2 loss. He finished the night by blowing off the media after the game and making tonight’s Game 2 a true walking-on-eggshells kind of game. Playoff drama is the best.

Game 2: Chicago Blackhawks host the Minnesota Wild up 1-0 (9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

Chicago would like to make things a little easier on themselves in Game 2. After beating the Wild 2-1 in overtime on Tuesday, things haven’t changed up for either team. Dave Bolland and Ray Emery are still out for Chicago while Jason Pominville and Niklas Backstrom are out for Minnesota. That means both teams know just how to plan for Game 2.

For Chicago, finding a way to knock Josh Harding off his game would go a long way towards making this series a bit less stressful. Harding’s sudden start on Tuesday to replace the injured Backstrom showed a ton of guts making 35 saves in the losing effort. Minnesota’s offense could try to lend him a hand though.

The Wild mustered only 27 shots and went 0-4 on the power play. Finding a way to crack Chicago’s PK would do them a wonder of good. If they can get Zach Parise the room to do things, they’ll be in business. Easier said than done against the Presidents’ Trophy winners.

Game 2: Vancouver Canucks host the San Jose Sharks down 1-0 (10 p.m. ET, CNBC)

No matter what the playoffs seem to center around Roberto Luongo in Vancouver and his efforts in Game 1’s 3-1 loss were noted. The soap opera-like drama surrounding him and the rest of the Canucks has helped pique interest in this series, but he’s going to need his teammates to step up a little bit for him.

San Jose’s Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau were able to get things rolling for them. Given the grief Marleau gets in the playoffs, the Canucks could take that as a bad sign that he had a big hand in the win. We all know Jeremy Roenick will be watching him intently.

Worth paying attention to: How Ryan Kesler does on the wing. He’ll be with Derek Roy and Chris Higgins on the second line. Will playing wing help give him room to spark the offense?

  1. valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 3, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    Anderson 1, Price 0. Sens way to conference semi’s is by putting constant pressure on Montreal’s men. Diaz and Gorges will cough the cup if under pressure. Markov will have difficulty playing 2 x 24. Tinordi, though good is inexperienced. Subban and Bouillon make few mistakes. Who knows whether or not Price will be at his best. Actually, was he at his best last night?

    • valoisvipers - May 3, 2013 at 11:34 AM

      Where’s Halak when you need him?
      Price can not outplay Anderson.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 3, 2013 at 12:26 PM

        Expecting to see the Sens running Montreal’s D men. Will be at Centre Bell. I just hope it’s a good game.

  2. tfaltin - May 3, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    Picks for tonight: Pittsburgh (skill), Montreal (needs it), Chicago (skill), Vancouver (needs it).

  3. jpelle82 - May 3, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    islanders have a lot more to fix than the pk. i would be willing to bet we will be seeing carkner tonight and matt martin will be on the warpath after the isles got pushed around on wednesday night. if they dont stick up for tavares he will tuck back into his shell again

  4. myroncopesflask - May 3, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Have a feeling the Pens/Isles game is going to get pretty chippy early in the game. NY has to do something to try and get the Pens off their back and off their game. I really do not feel like it will have an impact on the outcome of the game but it should be fun to watch. Pens win 4-1

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