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PHT Morning Skate: Three teams face elimination in Game 6s

Apr 28, 2014, 8:25 AM EDT

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game Five Getty Images

Sunday’s Game 6 action wound up being suddenly dramatic with the Blues and Stars sent packing, the latter in stunning fashion. Tonight could wind up being similar with three Game 6s involving three teams on the brink of elimination.

While the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets seem to be more up against the wall, the Los Angeles Kings seem to be sitting prettier after convincing wins in the past two games. There may not be any panic with the Pittsburgh Penguins or Colorado Avalanche, but the San Jose Sharks might be feeling the heat. Having to try and settle down on the road might prove tricky.

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Game 6: Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Pittsburgh Penguins [Pittsburgh leads series 3-2] (7:00 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

The Penguins sure looked a bit more like the team we thought they’d be in winning Game 5. It wasn’t a blowout win, but their 3-1 victory saw them dominate the Blue Jackets in shots and scoring chances. Game 6 sets up to be a bit trickier at Nationwide Arena and perhaps the question is how Marc-Andre Fleury will handle being back at the scene of a tremendous letdown in Game 4.

Fleury will need to be sharp if how Sergei Bobrovsky‘s play in Game 5 is any indication. Bobrovsky stopped 48 shots in the loss and looked every bit the guy who won the Vezina Trophy last season. While Bob has been able to keep Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby from scoring goals, it’ll be up to his team to figure out their own offensive attack in Game 6. If Columbus can’t figure that out, a handshake line may appear later tonight.

Game 6: Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche [Colorado leads series 3-2] (9:00 p.m. ET — CNBC)

Minnesota’s Game 5 loss had to be an especially bitter pill to swallow. Giving up the lead late and then losing in overtime, albeit in controversial fashion, would stick in the craw of a lot of teams. Expect that to be the case for the Wild back home as they’ll use that as motivation to force a Game 7.

The Avs continue to get stellar play from Semyon Varlamov in goal and Nathan MacKinnon up front. MacKinnon is up to 10 points in this series and has been a full-blown menace to the Wild. Add in that there’s a chance Matt Duchene comes back, and suddenly Minnesota’s situation looks more dire.

After Zach Parise found the net in Game 5, it’s time for Jason Pominville and Mikko Koivu to do the same. Crazy to think after Ilya Bryzgalov‘s rocky start in the series, Darcy Kuemper has been the rock they can lean on. They’ll need him to outduel Varlamov the rest of the way.

Game 6: Los Angeles Kings vs. San Jose Sharks [San Jose leads series 3-2] (10:00 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

After being up 3-0 in the series, the Sharks suddenly don’t look quite like the powerhouse they were. The Kings have taken it to the Sharks in the past two games and suddenly this series has all the markings of one destine to go seven games and provide for either a massive sigh of relief in San Jose or an incredible collapse.

If the Sharks are to avoid the latter, it may be on Alex Stalock to steady things in Game 6. Starting San Jose’s backup goalie may be coach Todd McLellan’s one play to make to get his team to focus. Antti Niemi didn’t look very good in Game 5 and Stalock settled things down.

McLellan might have other problems if Marc-Edouard Vlasic is unable to play. The Sharks top defenseman left Game 5 and the Kings were able to take full advantage of his absence. Jeff Carter‘s highlight reel power play goal was evidence enough of that.

With how the Kings are clicking and how Jonathan Quick has settled down after a terrible start to the series, it feels like a must-win game for both teams.

  1. avscup - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:07 AM

    Go big Avs! Might as well win one on the road!

    • purpleguy - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:45 AM

      Nah, lets have a game 7 to test the coronary condition of the Colorado and Minnesota fan bases. That and we can troll each other on calls/non-calls for another two days. Go Wild!

  2. patthehockeyfan - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    GKG!!!

  3. luvmnsports2012 - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    C’mon Wild, let’s shut them pukes out tonight and force a game 7!!! Fight Fight Fight GO WILD!!!

  4. hockeyornothing - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    Predictions:

    Avs 3-2
    Pittsburgh 4-2
    Kings to force game 7 probably in OT

    • patthehockeyfan - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:26 AM

      “Kings to force game 7 probably in OT”

      From your mouth to the hockey gods’ ears. GKG!!!

  5. the8man - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    The Jackets have hung tough and played admirably, but the Pens are the better team. I think Pittsburgh gets it done tonight.

  6. montrealbbr - Apr 28, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    Lets see if the Penguins find a way to choke away this game.

  7. sharksman - Apr 28, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    Sharks going to get it done

  8. fpstratton - Apr 28, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    Minnesota is the hard-luck team of this post-season. They have been the better team in this series for the last three games, but are still trailing. I think they force game 7 tonight.

    Pittsburgh has only played well in relatively short spurts, but looked more consistent in game 5. I think they close it out in Columbus, but watch the Blue Jackets next season. With this playoff experience under the young guys’ belt, they will pass the Penguins next year.

    Most seem to be picking the Kings in tonight’s game 6, but the Sharks were so bad collectively in game 5 that the law of averages would dictate that they would come back and play a whole lot better tonight. I think it’s San Jose’s year, with reservations. Sharks win.

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