Every night during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, we’ll give you Three Things To Track for each game that night.
Washington Capitals at Toronto Maple Leafs (Series tied 1-1)
7:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN
- Caps’ Power Play Success: The Caps lead all playoff teams with a 37.5% success rate on the power play. The Caps have scored six total goals in the first two games of theseries, and half of them have come on the power play. The Leafs need to play disciplined hockey if they want to maintain home ice advantage and avoid giving the Caps too many chances.
- Leafs Lose Polak: Roman Polak was injured after a hit by Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik in Game 2. The hit was clean, but Polak's foot was caught under his body and was turned awkwardly, ruling Polak out for the remainder of the playoffs. Fortunately for the Leafs, Nikita Zaitsev will return tonight to fill the void left by Polak’s injury.
- Free Hockey! Both games in the series have gone to overtime, and overtime games go a long way to gaining momentum in a playoff series. Will the Leafs be able to keep momentum after a double-overtime win, or will the Caps be able to bounce back? So far in both games, the fourth lines for each team have scored at least once. Neither team can afford to take a single shift off because every line has proven to be dangerous. -Zeke Lukow
Ottawa Senators at Boston Bruins (Series tied 1-1)
7:00 p.m. ET, CNBC
- Penalties, Penalties, Penalties: In Game 2, the total penalty count jumped to 9 (Boston 5, Ottawa 4), which led to a power play goal from each team in the second period and even a Bruins shorthanded goal. If the penalty count stays high, it could shake the game up. And if Ottawa finds itself in penalty trouble, expect TD Garden to be rowdy during the power plays - it's the Boston way.
- Defense Still Questionable: Both sides continue to be plagued with defensive injuries, the newest of which includes Ottawa enforcer Mark Borowiecki, who slid legs first into the wall in Game 2 and limped off the ice. A few of the teams' defensemen are questionable for the next few games, but either way, the backups are still going to have to be in the mindset of longer ice time and more pressure.
- Had Enough of Phaneuf?: With his side's defensive injuries, Dion Phaneuf took charge and stepped up in Game 2, tallying two assists and the game-winner in overtime. Of course Erik Karlsson is a powerhouse, but if Phaneuf keeps rolling, he could be the deciding factor in these critical road matches for Ottawa. -Jake Crouse
Chicago Blackhawks at Nashville Predators (NSH leads 2-0)
9:30 p.m. ET, CNBC
- Smashville stranglehold or Blackhawks revival? The question on everyone's mind heading into game 3 is of how long it will take the Blackhawks to finally score a goal. After 120 minutes on home ice against a team that they've had a decent amount of playoff success against, Chicago is six goals behind with none in their favor. The change of scenery could have a significant effect on the series: does it encourage the Predators to keep their foot on the pedal, or will the Blackhawks be able to re-focus and avoid the dreaded 3-0 series deficit?
- Line Matching: Nashville's line of Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg, and Viktor Arvidsson has started out on fire. Their seven points make up nearly half of the 16 total points scored by the team, and Johansen and Forsberg are the only two players in the series with multiple points. Chicago simply hasn't had an answer for them...yet. But there are rumblings of Joel Quenneville possibly putting Jonathan Toews, Artemi Panarin, and Patrick Kane together in game 3. Given Chicago's history of making comebacks, it seems like a knee-jerk reaction to go with this kind of firepower on the same line, but another Nashville lead could prompt some line juggling on the fly.
- Crawford's Confidence: Is it strange to be questioning the confidence of a two-time Stanley Cup champion? Absolutely. But it's even more strange that that goalie has given up six goals in two games and has the worst save percentage of all playoff goalies with .878. Not to mention, Crawford is just two years removed from seeing Scott Darling steal the spotlight in the 2015 first round against - you guessed it - the Nashville Predators. Crawford did eventually come back and the Blackhawks won the series (and the Cup), but would not have had such success without Darling stepping in. Suffice it to say, Crawford's leash has grown increasingly tight, and he could see some bench time if Nashville's onslaught continues into game 3. -Peter Dewar
Anaheim Ducks at Calgary Flames (ANA leads 2-0)
10:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN
- Calgary Looking to Break the Trend: After squandering a pair of winnable games in Anaheim, Calgary is still searching to win a game, and they have a chance to do that on home ice tonight. In Game 1, the Flames held a 2-1 second-period lead and in Game 2, they were tied up at two with the Ducks going down the stretch on Saturday.
- Young Defensemen Leading the Ducks' March: Shea Theodore and Brandon Montour have both been a treat to watch on Anaheim's blue line through games 1 and 2. At the ages of 21 and 23, respectively, they're going to be an important part of what will be a very good defensive core for a very long time. In the shorter term, they're fast and dangerous. They've been a thorn in Calgary's side so far in this series.
- Series on the Line: Tonight's the definition of a must-win for the Flames. They dropped two on the road, but a win tonight changes things significantly. A 3-0 series is a death sentence for Calgary, but a 2-1 series still gives them a chance. They're certainly good enough as a group to put a dent in what Anaheim is trying to do, as they've proven through games 1 and 2, but they need to finish when they get their opportunity. -Brett Finger