2023 Playoffs: Sun setting on Islanders, Jets, Lightning and Panthers seasons?
The Islanders, Jets, Lightning and Panthers are all on the brink of elimination. Which team pushes back? Which team prepares for the golf course?
The first elimination of the Stanley Cup Playoffs could happen today.
Today, April 25, 2023
New York Islanders at Carolina Hurricanes 4 p.m. PT - The Hurricanes have a chance to close things out tonight against an Islanders team that has been outmatched for the most part. The Islanders’ Bo Horvat has just one point in four games against Carolina, a single goal in Sunday’s 5-2 losing effort. Carolina has been scoring by committee this postseason and unless New York gets a similar effort from its players, this series will be over tonight.
Minnesota Wild at Dallas Stars 5 p.m. PT - The Stars’ Joe Pavelski is skating, but no one is sure if he’s ready to play in tonight’s game. Pavelski is still in concussion protocol and as hockey fans know, concussion recovery is unpredictable. Stars goaltender Jake Ottinger came up big for Dallas in Game 4, backstopping the team to a 3-2 victory and helping the Stars even the series at two games apiece.
Los Angeles Kings at Edmonton Oilers 6:30 p.m. PT - Game 4 of the series was a rollercoaster ride with the Kings going up by three goals only to see the Oilers roar back. Zach Hyman played the hero. He scored the overtime goal that tied the series at two games apiece.
The real story for the Oilers is not Connor McDavid by the lesser known (sarcasm here) Leon Draisaitl. The Oilers have scored 14 goals in this series and Draisaitl has been on the ice for every single one of them according to Hockey PDOcast’s Dimitri Filipovich.
Tomorrow, April 26, 2023
Florida Panthers at Boston Bruins 4 p.m. PT - The Bruins already lead the Panthers 3-1 in the opening round playoff series, and amazingly, Boston may be adding more firepower come tomorrow night. According to the team, Patrice Bergeron is practicing and is likely to play in Wednesday’s game.
The Panthers have already struggled to keep up with the Bruins to date, and that’s without Bergeron and David Krejci on the ice for Boston. It’s hard to envision Florida beating the Bruins if Bergeron is added to the mix.
Seattle Kraken at Colorado Avalanche 6:30 p.m. PT - The Avalanche return home tied at two games apiece with the Seattle Kraken and both teams will be without key players for Game 5. Seattle days Jared McCann will not play after he was hit late by Cale Makar during Seattle’s 3-2 overtime win last night. The NHL’s Department of Player Safety suspended Makar for one game for the hit. Oddly, refs called a major during the game and then reduced it to a minor after review.
Thursday, April 27, 2023
Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs 4 p.m. PT - Can the Maple Leafs finally solve the team’s inability to close out a series against the Lightning or will this game send a feeling of dread through Toronto fans?
The Maple Leafs lead the series 3-1, but the team has been here before and the Lightning aren’t pushovers.
New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils 4:30 p.m. PT - Just when it looked like New Jersey was down and out, the Devils won two games at Madison Square Garden and took back home ice advantage. The postseason series is tied at two games apiece.
Young goaltender Akira Schmid has claimed the net in Jersey and appears to be doing everything he can to win the series for his team. Schmid has won both of the playoff games he started for the Devils with a total goals against average of 0.91 and a save percentage of .966.
Winnipeg Jets at Vegas Golden Knights 7 p.m. PT - Health continues to be an issue for the Jets as the team heads into Game 5 down 3-1 in the best of seven series. Josh Morrissey is already out and Mark Scheifele left Game 4 with an injury and is questionable for Game 5.