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Playoffs Dayoffs: Preview and discussion thread, 4/17

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Three more teams are facing facing elimination.

DENVER, COLORADO - APRIL 15: Mikko Rantanen #96 of the Colorado Avalanche advances the puck against the Calgary Flames in the second period during Game Three of the Western Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Pepsi Cente Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

It’s not over, but it might be over. With the news that head coach Peter DeBoer is calling on Martin Jones to start the San Jose Sharks’ elimination Game 5 against the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday at the SAP Center, you’ll be forgiven if any lingering hopes you had withered away into dust. The Sharks’ record in series in which they trail three games to one is 0-9, and, while Aaron Dell’s record over the course of the regular season is not particularly inspiring, the decision to go back to Jones is baffling. Still, you may have received a bit of a pick-me-up earlier in the day through the Columbus Blue Jackets’ sweep of the record-setting Tampa Bay Lightning, if not the New York Islanders’ sweep of a local favorite, the Pittsburgh Penguins. While there aren’t any elimination games available tonight, a few teams could be pushed to the brink.

What’s on tap

Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs Game 4 (TOR leads 2-1)
4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET on NBCSN, CBC, TVAS, NESN
The Bruins will welcome back some much needed depth today in the form of defenseman John Moore and forward Marcus Johansson, both of whom boast a not insignificant amount of postseason experience, especially if Boston’s top line continues to be stymied by John Tavares and company. If Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak can be held to two total points in three games so far, the blue and gold will have to find other ways to beat Frederik Andersen.

Nashville Predators at Dallas Stars Game 4 (NSH leads 2-1)
5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET on USA, SN, TVAS2, FS-SW, FS-TN
The Preds and Stars both have dynamic power play units loaded with talent, but have combined for just one power play goal in 21 combined attempts over three games, including a near 90 second stretch of a Dallas 5-on-3 in Game 3. Still, that contest was far from boring, and Pekka Rinne is putting on a clinic. Again.

Calgary Flames at Colorado Avalanche Game 4 (COL leads 2-1)
7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET on NBCSN, CBC, TVAS, ALT
In what they certainly hope will not be a habit tonight, the Flames just didn’t show up in Game 3, as the home team outshot them 56 to 29, and posted the second-best expected goals margin of the last decade. The Flames have to bounce back tonight, or we’ll be looking at yet another huge upset.

Who’s hot?

Andreas Johnsson: With a goal and an assist in Game 3 on Monday, both on what has become a deadly Leafs power play, Johnsson has established himself on Auston Matthews’ wing, and his 18:30 on ice stands as his highest of the season.

Rocco Grimaldi: Why no, this is not a Harry Potter villain and he’ll thank you to stop saying that. Grimaldi scored his first career playoff goal in Game 2 on Saturday, and tallied again in Game 3 on a seeing-eye wrist shot from 30 feet out.

Nathan MacKinnon: The Flames have no answer for the former first overall pick, as the phenom has four points and 17 shots in three games so far. They’ll need to find a way to slow him down if they want to keep playing into next week.

We’re watching

Flames-Avalanche may have the best promise for wild antics. Mike Smith came crashing back to earth in Game 3, and the Avalanche as another Cinderella first round upset is one of the only things keeping us standing at this point.