Every day during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, we’ll give you Three Things To Track for each game that day.
St. Louis Blues at Minnesota Wild (STL leads 3-1)
3:00 p.m. ET, NBC
- Who will generate offense? This has been a very low scoring series to his point. Devan Dubnyk earned his second career playoff shutout with a win in St. Louis on Wednesday. For the first time in this series, the story line has shifted from Jake Allen to the Blues offense. The team has scored just 9 goals in 4 games, and while this has been good enough early in the series, they need more from their scorers going forward.
- Can the Wild solve Allen again? After 4 games, the Wild can finally say that they solved Jake Allen. The Wild took advantage of a glaring mistake by Allen in Game 4 as he attempted to outlet the puck from behind the net but instead passed it directly to Charlie Coyle who took advantage of the open net. This uncharacteristic mistake ignited the Wild scoring for the night and sent them on the way to a shutout win in enemy territory. While Allen didn't look bad, it was the first game that he didn't steal the show. Can he get back on track today or have the Wild broken him?
- When will Tarasenko finally show? The Russian forward scored 39 goals in the regular season, but has gone four games without finding the back of the net. His two assists have made him a contributor in this playoff series, but they need the Russian forward to lead the offensive charge. The Blues failed to find a goal on Wednesday and they're going to need an offensive jumpstart. Tarasenko needs to to be that catalyst as the Blues try to put this series away today in Minnesota. -Andrew Ahr
Montreal Canadiens at New York Rangers (NYR leads 3-2)
8:00 p.m. ET, NBC
- A Clincher: The last time the New York Rangers won a series, they came back from a 3-1 series deficit to the Washington Capitals in 2015. In game seven, on home ice, Derek Stepan buried a rebound to send his team to the next round. To win tonight, the Rangers may need a similar effort from one of their main scorers. So far, Rick Nash, Mika Zibanejad, and Jesper Fast have carried the load offensively. If the Rangers are to win tonight, look for one of Stepan, Chris Kreider, or J.T. Miller to be the difference.
- Put Pacioretty on a Carton: It wouldn't be accurate to say that Montreal captain Max Pacioretty has been bad in this series. Under other circumstances, 24 shots on goal in five playoff games would seem to be a herculean effort. However, Pacioretty's problem is that none of those shots have gone in. It could be a case of Henrik Lundqvist having his number, or him not getting to high-percentage areas, but whatever it is, his team needs to win two consecutive games to advance. He's simply got to find the back of the net for that to happen.
- Special Teams Edge? One thing that the Canadiens can hang their hat on in this series is that they've been outstanding on special teams. The Rangers are the only team in the entire playoffs to have not scored a power play goal to this point, while the Canadiens power play percentage of 17.6% is fifth among teams still alive in the postseason. If these trends continue, it could signify a turning point in the series tonight, but if they reverse, Montreal's road to victory begins to look very bleak. -Kyle Morton
Edmonton Oilers at San Jose Sharks (EDM leads 3-2)
10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN
- Facing Elimination: This is not the Sharks’ first rodeo when it comes to facing elimination. They have plenty of veterans who have been in this situation before, and have come out on top. It is however, the first elimination game for a young Oilers core. Winning the final game of a series is always the hardest hurdle to overcome, especially when that game is on the road. If Edmonton are unable to close out the series tonight, they will have a second opportunity in front of their home fans on Monday night.
- Edmonton's Balanced Scoring: Coming into the series, the talk was about how Connor McDavid's first playoff series would unfold. However, rather than McDavid carrying the Oilers offensively, it has been a group effort that has provided the scoring punch. Edmonton has had seven different scorers and eight players with multiple points during the series. Getting offensive contributions from players like Zach Kassian, David Desharnais and Matt Benning has offset the lack of production that they have received from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Benoit Pouliot who have combined for just one point through five games.
- Sharks Return to the Tank: San Jose had pretty good vibes the last time they played on home ice, blitzing the Oilers to the tune of 7-0 and chasing goaltender Cam Talbot in the second period. Now, they return with their backs against the wall in a must win Game 6 on home ice. Connor McDavid will see a ton of Marc-Edouard Vlasic tonight, as the Sharks shutdown defenseman will be able to be on the ice for the majority of the young superstar's shifts. Watch that matchup closely as a deciding factor for whether or not there will be a Game 7 next week. -Kevin LeBlanc