Every night during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, we’ll give you Three Things To Track for each game that night.
Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins (PIT leads 1-0)
7:00 p.m. ET, NHL Network
- Defense won Game 1 for the Penguins - wait, what? Pittsburgh allowed 16 shots by the Blue Jackets in the first period, and 32 overall, but most of them were forced from the perimeter and of low quality. Columbus didn't even get off a shot in the last two minutes of the game, playing from behind and with an extra attacker. Expect the Jackets to make adjustments to get them driving the net and getting bodies down low tonight.
- Why so Saad? John Tortorella didn't waste any time sending a message to players he felt weren't playing the right way, benching Brandon Saad for the majority of the third period on Wednesday. Expect a bounce-back game for one of the Blue Jackets’ key scorers.
- Flower Power: Veteran netminder Marc-Andre Fleury rose to the challenge in Game 1 after projected starter Matt Murray pulled up with a lower-body injury in warmups, and with no timeframe for Murray's return, he'll continue to get the call. Canes fans, watch and imagine how he'll look in Raleigh backing up Cam Ward next season (#narratives). - Jamie Kellner
New York Rangers at Montreal Canadiens (NYR leads 1-0)
7:00 p.m. ET, USA Network
- Offense, Anyone? After combining for just one goal with a goalie in net in game one, which came from Tanner Glass, the Habs and the Rangers will each be looking to put up more goals than they did in the first game. (This seems a rather basic requirement, but when the entire offensive output of two teams over sixty minutes of hockey consists solely of Tanner Glass, here we are.)
- Lundqvist Again? After what was his roughest regular season in quite some time, Henrik Lundqvist was stellar as he posted a shutout in game one. Can he match that effort again tonight to give the Rangers a 2-0 series lead on the road?
- Who will step up for Montreal? To avoid going down 2-0 at home, someone in the bleu, blanc, et rouge is going to have to be an offensive difference maker in this game. Look for Max Pacioretty, Brendan Gallagher, Alex Galchenyuk, or Alexander Radulov to make an impact tonight. -Kyle Morton
St. Louis Blues at Minnesota Wild (STL leads 1-0)
8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN
- Jake Allen: Allen was extremely hot on Wednesday night, making a career high 51 saves. The Wild dominated most of the game but Allen stole the show, carrying his club to an overtime win. The Blues will need Allen to show up big again against the offensively dangerous Wild tonight.
- Vladimir Tarasenko: The Russian forward was mostly quiet on Wednesday until he sent a beautiful pass through the Wild defense to set up Joel Edmundson for the overtime game winning goal. Aside from Allen, the Blues really didn't play all that well on Wednesday night and they're going to need a catalyst on offense if they want to steal another game on the road.
- Who will come up big for the Wild? The Wild are in a tough spot tonight: the favorites dropped their first home game, and are on the ropes tonight to even the series before they travel down to Missouri for two games in hostile territory. The club needs leadership tonight to take the spotlight off Allen. Who will step up? Maybe Eric Staal? -Andrew Ahr
San Jose Sharks at Edmonton Oilers (SJS leads 1-0)
10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN
- Can the Oilers bounce back? After being up 2-0 after the first period of Game 1, Edmonton let the Sharks back in by putting them on the power play. Although the Sharks only capitalized on one of their six power plays, it threw the Oilers off the style of play where they are most effective. The Oilers will need to have a little more control over their game if they are going to tie the series up at two.
- Couture vs. McDavid: In Game 1, Logan Couture was terrific defensively on Connor McDavid, limiting the Art Ross winner to a secondary assist while playing over 20 minutes with a horrific mouth injury that Couture admits still bothers him to breathe. Tonight’s game should see a more standard deployment for McDavid, assuming the Oilers don’t take seven penalties again. The Couture-McDavid battle at even strength will be key to which team emerges from this series.
- Shot generation: Edmonton ranked eighth in the NHL in the regular season, averaging 31.1 shots on goal per game. However, in Game 1, the Oilers only were able to put 19 shots on Sharks goaltender Martin Jones, and tallied just nine shots in the final 43 minutes. If they can get a similar performance out of Cam Talbot, who made 41 saves in Game 1, and get back to playing their normal game, the Oilers should be able to head to San Jose with a 1-1 split. -Kevin LeBlanc