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Stanley Cup Daily 5/6: Down The Stretch They Come

The day after Derby Day, the Bruins and Sharks face elimination, while the Caps and Jets are one step closer to the conference final.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Washington Capitals - Game Five Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

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.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Winnipeg Jets at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Winnipeg Jets 6, Nashville Predators 2 (WPG leads series 3-2)

It was another one of those games for the Nashville Predators. They stuck around for more than half the game, but some crucial mistakes lapses of poor discipline cost them big en route to a 6-2 loss on home ice. They now trail this second-round series 3-2 and are in danger of seeing their season end on Monday night in the great white north.

For the Jets, it was yet another explosive offensive outing. This time, it was rookie Kyle Connor who stole the show, netting a pair of goals and setting up Mark Scheifele with a beautiful deke. He and Blake Wheeler (three assists) both logged three-point evenings in the win. In net, it was business as usual for Vezina Trophy finalist Connor Hellebuyck. He stopped 38 of the 40 shots he saw.

The Predators have a lot of soul searching to do over the next two days. They have, time and time again, allowed the Jets to get under their skin. They’ve taken pointless and untimely penalties throughout this series, and you just cannot do that against what might be the best team in hockey. Frustration will set in for all 16 teams in the playoffs at some point or another, but the Preds can’t let their emotions get the best of them if they want to advance to the Western Conference Final. This Game 5 loss was the game that placed the nail over the coffin, and Winnipeg may hammer it in place on Monday. - Brett Finger

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Capitals 6, Pittsburgh Penguins 3 (WAS leads series 3-2)

The Capitals now have two chances to get the monkey off their backs and clinch the series, one win away from a trip to the conference final for the first time in the Alex Ovechkin era after a big Game 5 win on home ice last night.

This time, it was the Penguins with the fast start, with a Jamie Oleksiak shot from the point finding paydirt just two minutes into the game. The Penguins kept up the pressure after scoring including drawing a penalty, but things changed after the halfway point. Chad Ruhwedel and Dominik Simon took back to back penalties at the 10 minute and 17-minute mark.

The second penalty proved cstly. The Caps doubled their lead when John Carlson skated from the blue line to the high slot and ripped a slapshot past Matt Murray high glove. The Caps scored again just 33 seconds later as Brett Connolly beat Murray five-hole from the slot with just a minute left in the period.

The Caps let the Penguins back into the game in the second period with undisciplined play, taking three penalties in a row in the second period. Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist were able to make the Caps pay and take a one-goal lead into the third period.

Evgeni Kuznetsov came out with another quick start scoring on a beautiful breakaway just a minute into the final frame. The game remained tied until Jakub Vrana broke through with the game-winner with five minutes left. Vrana was moved up to the top line after Devante Smith-Pelly’s weak performance in game four. The rookie proved to be a great addition proving skill across from Alex Ovechkin without sacrificing defense. The Caps then extended the lead to three goals off of a pair of empty-net goals.

Game 6 will be back in Pittsburgh with elimination on the line for the Penguins tomorrow night. - Zeke Lukow

Sunday’s Previews

Tampa Bay Lightning v Boston Bruins - Game Three Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Boston Bruins at Tampa Bay Lightning (TBL leads 3-1)

3:00 p.m. ET, NBC

  1. Brad Marchand, Again: The fact that this is even a storyline is ridiculous. Marchand was reportedly warned by the NHL to stop licking people on national television. Yes, Marchand is a troll, but he’s also a really good goal scorer. He created a huge distraction for the Lightning last game while simultaneously scoring two goals. His game involves getting into opponents’ heads, and he might have done that with his latest stunt. It will be interesting to see how it affects the Bolts today.
  2. Closing it out: The Lightning have a chance to close this out in five in front of their fans today. A win at home would put a cap on what has been a dominant series in almost every area. Can they finish it? If not, this series may get interesting traveling back to Boston for Game 6.
  3. Life without Krug: Torey Krug went into the boards in ugly fashion on Friday night. A replay showed his left ankle turning painfully. Luckily, he was able to get of the ice under his own power and went straight down the tunnel. The Bruins have announced that he won’t return this series, and they may be hard pressed to contain the Lightning offense without him. Who will step in for Krug? It’s likely that it will be Nick Holden, which will leave the defense even more overmatched than they were before. - Andrew Ahr

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-San Jose Sharks at Vegas Golden Knights Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Vegas Golden Knights at San Jose Sharks (VGK leads 3-2)

7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN

  1. Crunch Time: With the first elimination game of the series comes the first chance to see one of these teams in true desperation mode. But while the Sharks are the only ones who could bow out of the postseason with a loss, don’t expect the Golden Knights to be totally relaxed in tonight’s contest. San Jose has made them bleed through six games — something we haven’t seen much off in Vegas’ brief history. They won’t want to face a Game 7 against a team in the Sharks that, on its game, can be absolutely lethal. Look for both sides to come out with urgency tonight.
  2. Which Goalie Gets Hot? It’s been a back-and-forth series largely due to the fact that neither goalie has been able to put together back-to-back great showings. Marc-Andre Fleury and Martin Jones have both been good in the series, with each trading world-class efforts, but they’ve also put up some duds (see Game 5). Success for both teams will hinge upon the men between the pipes, but it’s anyone’s guess as to how each will perform.
  3. Star Power or Unsung Heroes? We’ve seen a bit of both so far in this matchup. Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson have been predictably strong, but players like Marcus Sorensen and Alex Tuch have also stepped up to lead their teams to victory on more than one occasion. In such a crucial game, it will be interesting to see which group can take control. - Peter Dewar