Every day during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Canes Country recaps the night before, previews the games for that night, and gives you game times and broadcast information.
Washington Capitals 3, Pittsburgh Penguins 2 (OT) (PIT leads 2-1)
If games 1 and 2 seemed a bit tame by comparison to previous Pens/Caps matchups, it's safe to say the kid gloves are off. The crowd at PPG Paints Arena sure got a show — a lot of it was ugly, but it was undoubtedly a spectacle as the Capitals finally got their first win of the series.
Ironically enough, it was Washington's worst start to any game so far that got them that long-awaited early lead, but only after a controversial accidental-ish Matt Niskanen cross-check to the head of one Sidney Crosby. The play knocked both of them out of the game: Niskanen with a 5-minute major and ejection, Crosby with injury(ies).
Speaking of knocking things out, the hot takes were knocked out of the park after the game: Suspend Alex Ovechkin! There was a bounty on Crosby! It wasn’t a hockey play, Trotz! Hey, remember David Steckel? He’s the original culprit! No, wait, it’s all Brandon Dubinsky’s fault!
You probably need fire retardant after reading all that.
Oh, right, the game. The first goal followed eight minutes later after an odd carom wound up behind Marc-Andre Fleury for Nicklas Backstrom's fourth goal of the playoffs. Through the second period, the game only got nastier, with some heavy hits flying and more post-whistle skirmishes than you could count, but no (legal) goals for either side.
The third period was more of the same, with the added narrative of Braden Holtby seemingly finding his game once more and standing on his head. And when Evgeny Kuznetsov potted the Caps' second of the game halfway through the frame, all signs pointed to a Washington win. Even the Pens fans thought so, as the arena was noticeably quieter/emptier as the period wound down. But those who left were sorely disappointed when, with just under two minutes to go, Evgeni Malkin made things interesting with a laser shot past Holtby's glove. Forty-eight seconds later, Justin Schultz sent the remaining crowd into a frenzy with the game-tying goal from the blue line.
And so we would have overtime — for three minutes, at least, as an unlikely hero sealed the game for the Caps. On the power play, it was Kevin Shattenkirk finally doing something positive for his team as he whipped a wrist shot on net from the point and beat Fleury to put an end to what would have been a truly series-defining collapse.
Holtby ended up with 28 saves on 30 shots, while Fleury stopped 30 of 33. Game 4 will be back in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. -Peter Dewar
Ottawa Senators at New York Rangers (OTT leads 2-0)
7:00 p.m., NBCSN
- Who are you and what have you done with J-G Pageau: The Senators forward has played 251 regular-season games in his career, scoring 45 goals. In the postseason? 24 games, 9 goals, including four in a virtuoso performance on Saturday afternoon. No one’s quite sure how or why Pageau suddenly turned into Glenn Anderson, but the Senators will gladly take it. That said, he’s shooting 31% (!!!!) in the playoffs so far, so it would certainly help things if the Sens could spread the scoring around a bit more. Kyle Turris? Mark Stone? Your number’s up.
- Blueshirt Blue Line Blues: Read ‘em and weep. Marc Staal: no points, -3, 47% Corsi, 33.3% goals-for. Dan Girardi: one point, -1, 42.9% Corsi, 20% goals-for. Nick Holden: one point, -4, 49% Corsi, 28.6% goals-for. If it weren’t for the emergence of Brady Skjei, the Rangers’ defense corps would be fairly described as being ripped to shreds so far in the postseason. We’ve seen that Henrik Lundqvist is only human in eight games, but he’s faced 283 shots - an average of more than 35 per game - so he’s getting no help whatsoever from the players in front of them.
- Home cooking: The Rangers are riding a two-game home winning streak, finally snapping a losing streak dating to 2015 in the previous round against the Canadiens. This time, though, they’re in a 2-0 hole, and if they don’t make that a four-game streak at MSG, they will face - at best - an elimination game back in Ottawa on Saturday, where they haven’t won since 2015. -Brian LeBlanc
St. Louis Blues at Nashville Predators (NSH leafs 2-1)
9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN
- Massive Swing Game: It is pretty obvious that there is a huge difference between a 3-1 lead and a even 2-2 series. In no series is that more apparent than in this Blues and Predators tilt. While Nashville is trying to remain undefeated at home and looking to push the Blues to the brink of elimination headed into Game 5 in St. Louis, the Blues are seeking to even the series up, and with two of the final three possible games in the series still to be played in St. Louis, the Blues hope to regain a slight advantage overall in the series on Tuesday night.
- Note to Blues: The game starts at 9:30 EDT, not 9:30 CDT: The Blues’ biggest problem so far has been starting on time. They have fallen behind in each of the three games of the series thus far, and have had to continually battle from behind in this tightly contested series. If they can jump out ahead for the first time, it would give them an opportunity to play their system a bit more and perhaps push the Predators onto their heels, as they have only ceded the first tally once in this entire playoff season.
- SHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT! The past two games for the Blues have featured shot totals under 25. When Vladamir Tarasenko isn't cutting through the offensive zone and snapping beautiful wristers past goalies, the St. Louis offense relies on net front traffic, physical battles and above all getting pucks to the net. They need to get the puck to the crease more often in order to increase their chances of the grittier, ugly goals which they built much of their success on. -Andy House