Each day during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Canes Country recaps the night before, previews the games for that night, and gives you game times and broadcast information.
Tampa Bay Lightning 4, Boston Bruins 1 (TBL leads series 2-1)
The Lightning took control of the series last night, winning their second game in a row to go up 2-1. The Bolts were led by two goals from Ondrej Palat, the first of which was a game opening goal that was gift wrapped from Matt Grzelyck. The second goal of the night came off of a point shot from Victor Hedman, with Torey Krug inadvertently redirecting it onto Palat’s skate and deflecting into the net. offering the redirection for his second goal of the game.
In the waning minutes of the first, the Bruins earned a power play and Patrice Bergeron capitalized to pull within one. But Boston couldn’t stop shooting themselves in the foot as they turned the puck over horribly and Anthony Cirelli made it 3-1 going into the room. The second period saw no scoring, but a few good chances for both sides and a fight for good measure betwen David Backes and Cedric Paquette after Backes boarded Dan Girardi.
The third period began with the Bruins down 3-1 and playing desperate. Despite a handful of chances for Boston, nothing found twine. Steven Stamkos eventually hit the empty net for his second goal of the playoffs as the Lightning won 4-1. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 28 saves and looked as strong as ever between the pipes. The teams will be back in action on Friday night for Game 4. - Andrew Ahr
San Jose Sharks 4, Vegas Golden Knights 0 (Series tied 2-2)
Four different players found the back of the net and Martin Jones stopped all 34 shots he faced to power the San Jose Sharks to a 4-0 shutout victory over the Vegas Golden Knights at SAP Center Wednesday night. Their second-round series is now tied at two games apiece as the teams prep for Friday’s Game 5 in Las Vegas.
Marcus Sorensen first put the Sharks on the board, winning a battle down low and posting a highlight-reel, diving effort to net the first goal of the game at 15:37 of the opening frame. Then, with just six seconds left in the period, Joonas Donskoi let loose a quick wrist shot from above the tops of the circles that surprised Marc-Andre Fleury to double San Jose’s advantage heading into intermission.
Just over five minutes into the second period, Tomas Hertl stretched the lead to 3-0 as he potted a rebound from a Mikkel Boedker wraparound attempt. And in the final stanza, Joe Pavelski capped off a banner night for the Sharks as the captain slammed home a power-play tally with eight minutes to go.
Jones stole the show with a number of impressive stops, and the see-saw of strong showings in net between himself and Fleury swung back in favor of the Sharks netminder for Game 4. In the opposite cage, Fleury finished with 30 saves and gave up three or more goals for the third straight outing after posting five consecutive efforts with two or fewer goals against. - Peter Dewar
Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins (WAS leads 2-1)
7:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN
- Missing: Phil Kessel: Phil the Thrill has just a single goal in the playoffs this year and only a single point in the second round. Normally with the combination of Kessel with Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, if one player goes cold, the others can pick it up. But with Malkin missing games 1 and 2, the Penguins haven’t been afforded this luxury. The Penguins have been relying solely on Crosby who has been on the ice for every Pens goal for this series. They desperately need Phil to get going to even the series back up.
- No Safety Net for Murray: In previous years, the Penguins have had a safety net in goal having both Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury in net that they could go back and forth on. However, this season Murray is the guy no matter what, and he has sure looked shaky at times in the series. His glove hand has been targeted by the Caps and it seems to be working. The game-tying goal in Game 3 did not have great placement, but he was unable to get the shot low glove.
- War of Attrition: The Penguins dodged a bullet when Brian Dumoulin didn’t miss a single game after taking a high hit in game two. They are not so lucky with Zach Aston-Reese who suffered a broken jaw and a concussion after being on the wrong end of another high hit, for which Tom Wilson was suspended three games. In Aston-Reese’s absence, Carl Hagelin may return (he is a game-time decision, to no one’s surprise), or one of Daniel Sprong, Josh Jooris or Carter Rowney could fill in. Meanwhile, with the Caps already missing Andre Burakovsky and now down Wilson as well, Shane Gersich will make his playoff debut and Devante Smith-Pelly will be pushed up into the top six. - Zeke Lukow
Nashville Predators at Winnipeg Jets (WPG leads 2-1)
9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN
- Predators Become the Prey: Game 3 in Winnipeg could have been a huge momentum-building game for the Nashville Predators, but after getting outscored 7-1 in the final two periods en route to a 7-4 loss, Smashville finds themselves in a precarious situation. A loss on Thursday night would turn this series upside down in short order and would give the Jets three opportunities to clinch a Western Conference Final berth.
- Discipline: One of Nashville’s only recurring problems as of late has been their discipline - or lack thereof. The Predators are a physical, aggressive hockey team, but we’ve scene them go too far at times throughout the season and now in the playoffs. Game 3 was a prime example of it. They cannot let that bite them yet again in this series. Winnipeg’s offensive is attack is as lethal as they come and it’s only magnified on special teams. If the Preds let their emotions get the best of them, they could be in danger of another lopsided loss.
- Home-Ice Advantage: If we’ve learned anything from the new Winnipeg Jets over the past few seasons, and even more so in these playoffs, it’s that the Bell MTS Place is a nightmare to play in for opposing teams. The white-out crowd in Manitoba truly is a sixth skater at times for the Jets. They seriously rattled Nashville in Game 3. Once Winnipeg’s offense started taking it to the road team, they got the crowd into it and it become a one-sided affair. The Predators have to get on their game early, like they did in Game 3, but even more importantly, they cannot let the Jets gain the kind of momentum that we saw them gain on Tuesday. - Brett Finger