With three of the four quarterfinal series over we take a look back at each series and what to watch for in game seven for the Sharks and Predators.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Islanders (4-1)
The Lightning took care of the Islanders swiftly. Tampa Bay might have up to a week of rest, and it will be interesting to see how they play in their first game back. Will they come out slow, or will they come out with tons of energy built up from sitting around for a while? What is certain for Tampa Bay is goaltender Ben Bishop. The Lightning know any given game they can win because Ben Bishop is net. Bishop currently owns a 1.89 goals allowed per game alongside two shutouts.
Also good news moving forward for the Lightning is the possible return of defenseman Anton Stralman and superstar forward Steven Stamkos. Initially Stamkos was out a month to three months after his blood clot surgery, this past Monday was a month since, but he doesn’t quite look ready. Stralman on the other hand could be ready any game now which would be a huge upgrade at the blue line.
Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (2-4)
The Lightning will be taking on the Pittsburgh Penguins who just beat the Stanley Cup favorites. Phil Kessel who was somewhat quiet in the first round really heated up this round. The veteran now has 12 points in just 11 games.
This Penguins’ offense is on fire, leading the playoff teams with 3.36 goals per game and they also have an outstanding 27.5% power play. The Penguins power play is lethal with goal scorers all over the ice from Sidney Crosby to Phil Kessel to Evgeni Malkin to Patric Hornqvist, anyone can score at any given moment.
Matt Murray has come out of no where. Murray went from back-up goaltender to one of the best in the playoffs in a couple weeks. This 21-year old kid couldn’t have wished for a better playoff start after outplaying the Braden Holtby who just tied the record for wins in a season by a goalie.
St. Louis Blues vs. Dallas Stars (4-3)
After the Blues lost game six many experts had the Stars winning at home in game seven. The Blues did not skip a beat though, center Robby Fabbri kicked off the scoring early and the Blues didn’t slow down scoring the first five goals. Sometimes you don’t know what you’re going to get with this Blues team, as some games they look like a well oiled machine scoring six and five goal games. Then the next day they can not get a goal to save their life. That aside this team looks like a serious threat for the Cup and is a complete team with an outstanding forecheck and great defense.
Nashville Predators vs. San Jose Sharks (3-3)
Tonight these two teams that were the underdogs in the first round, look to advance to the Western Conference finals. The Predators are heading into the “shark tank” and in the previous six games the home team has won all six in the series. Behind Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, and Brent Burns I like the Sharks in this one. In that loud environment if the Sharks can get a quick goal early I think the rest will be history. Pekka Rinne has had a great season and playoff run, and Colin Wilson has emerged as great hockey player but I don’t think it is enough.
Nashville Predators @ San Jose Sharks/ Game 7/ May 12th 7:00 CT
Tampa Bay Lighting @ Pittsburgh Penguins/ Game 1/ May 13th