Every night during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, we’ll give you Three Things To Track for each game that night.
Minnesota Wild at St. Louis Blues (STL leads 2-0)
3:00 p.m. ET, NBC
- How will Minnesota respond? The Minnesota Wild are in a serious corner. The dominant regular season team is now down 2-0 in enemy territory. This is a team that really isn't used to being down and out this season. How will they respond to the adversity? Will they dig themselves out of this hole or tap out? I expect this game to be a major turning point in the series, either the Wild win and begin to mount a comeback, or the Blues win and seal Minnesota's fate down 3 games to 0. This Minnesota team needs leadership.
- Will Jake Allen remain dominant? Just how long can Blues goalie Jake Allen remain essentially perfect? In Allen's two appearances in Minnesota, he compiled a combined .974 SV% and a 0.87 GAA. He has stopped 74 of the 76 shots he saw. Allen has been nothing short of a brick wall in the crease. If he continues his career playoff campaign today in net, I don't see the Wild walking away with a win. Much of this game hinges on the play of Jake Allen.
- Will Joel Edmundson stay hot? Ok, this one felt funny to write. Yes, Blues defender Joel Edmundson has almost matched his regular season goals tally (3) in this young series with the Wild. His goal in both game one and game two ended up being major highlights in an otherwise anemic offensive series. The defender was virtually invisible in the offensive zone this regular season but has been coming up big this April. Will the hot scorer bury another one tonight? This kind of storyline makes playoff hockey fun to watch. -Andrew Ahr
Pittsburgh Penguins at Columbus Blue Jackets (PIT leads 2-0)
6:00 p.m. ET, CNBC
- Take a Seat. If the Blue Jackets are to mount a series comeback against the Penguins in Game 3, they're going to have to do it without Matt Calvert. Calvert, the longest tenured Blue Jackets player (who also holds the honor of scoring the first game-winning goal in Jackets' playoff history), has been suspended for one game after cross-checking Tom Kuhnhackl near the end of the third period in Game 2. Kuhnhackl was not injured on the play and will be in the lineup for Game 3. Sonny Milano will replace Calvert on the Jackets fourth line.
- There's no crying in hockey. The Jackets are also going to have to mount their comeback without the help of “Sid the Kid” crying masks (click here to see them), which were originally going to be given away to fans before today's game courtesy of the Columbus Dispatch. After receiving loud and swift backlash on social media, the Dispatch wisely decided that the Rocket Richard winner and owner of 50 playoff goals probably didn't need the extra motivation.
- Home cooking. The Blue Jackets held an impressive 28-12-1 record on home ice during the regular season and they'll need to carry that success into tonight's game to stay in the fight. Tonight's game is just the fourth playoff game in team history hosted at Nationwide Arena. -Jamie Kellner
Montreal Canadiens at New York Rangers (series tied 1-1)
7:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN
- Rangers defense. After a horrific showing in game two, can the Rangers defensive unit that has struggled for most of the season bounce back on home ice and give Henrik Lundqvist some support? If they don't, they may be on the receiving end of some dirty looks from the Rangers netminder
- A Radulov repeat? Winger Alexander Radulov was the key difference maker for Montreal in game two. Who will be the star player offensively in today's game. I'd keep an eye on Brendan Gallagher and Mats Zuccarello
- Home Ice not so nice? Madison Square Garden ice has not been as friendly to the Rangers as it has been in years past this season. They recently snapped a long skid at MSG by topping the Flyers. They took home ice in this series from the Canadiens by winning one in Montreal, but for them to have any hope in this series they'll need to win one of these two at home. -Kyle Morton
Edmonton Oilers at San Jose Sharks at (series tied 1-1)
10:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN
- Terrific Talbot. Cam Talbot has built upon his stellar regular season, carrying his momentum into the playoffs. Through two games, Talbot has made 57 of a possible 60 saves and was rewarded on Friday with a 16 save shutout. If the Oilers netminder can continue to make the important saves, he may be able to steal this series for Edmonton.
- Sharks Power Outage. Through two games, the Sharks have had 12 power plays and have only converted on one of them. During the regular season, San Jose were inconsistent with the 25th ranked power play in the league at 16.7%, but there is definite room for improvement. The Sharks continue to miss Joe Thornton and his 19 regular season power play points, with the man advantage. His eventual return could boost San Jose's power play and make Edmonton pay if they continue give the Sharks multiple opportunities.
- Series moves to San Jose. After two games, the series shifts to Northern California, where the Sharks were 8-4 a year ago on their run to the Stanley Cup Finals. The last change will go against Edmonton for the next two games, with Sharks coach Peter DeBoer able to play more of a matchup game, allowing for Logan Couture to be on the ice for the majority of Connor McDavid's shifts. The crowd in Edmonton was electric for both game one and two. Sharks fans will need to bring it to match that intensity level. -Kevin LeBlanc