Nashville vs. Detroit (Series tied 1-1):
Is it Radulov time?
Everything Nashville's gone through to get him back - the aggravation of securing his commitment, the fights with other GMs - is worth it if he delivers the next two games. The Predators are 0-6 lifetime in Detroit during the playoffs. They've lost in regulation, they've lost in overtime, they've lost leading after two, and they've lost trailing all the way.
The one thing they haven't done (besides win, of course) is score. In those six losses, Nashville's got seven goals. Radulov's played very hard, but this is where he must deliver. Garry Galley once told a great story about Harry Sinden and Cam Neely. Neely was struggling and said, "I'm getting good chances." Sinden replied, "I don't pay you to get chances, I pay you to score."
David Poile would probably say the same thing.
Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia (Flyers lead 2-0):
What happened to Pittsburgh's top line?
You could ask the "What Happened To...?" question about a lot of Penguins during this round. But, first and foremost, you have to look at Hart Trophy favourite Evgeni Malkin, with mates Chris Kunitz and James Neal. In a season of injuries for Pittsburgh, this was the team`s most reliable unit.
They were the Penguins` top three scorers, with 169 even-strength points between them. In the first two games of this wild series, they have zero. I`m not the biggest fan of plus/minus, but they are a combined minus-14. That`s not just getting outplayed, that`s getting steamrolled.
Time to step up and make a difference.
New Jersey vs. Florida (Devils lead 1-0):
Dan Marino banned from the building?
Florida brought in the legendary Dolphin quarterback to drop the ceremonial puck at the team`s first playoff game since Seinfeld was the top-rated North American television show. The Panthers weren`t exactly inspired. New Jersey blew them out of the building, taking a 3-0 lead on a ridiculous 23 shots just 15 minutes into the game.
Florida settled down afterwards and made it a game, but couldn`t overcome the monumental hole it dug. Undoubtedly, the Panthers can look at the way Ottawa came back in Game 2 as inspiration, because that it what it will have to do - settle down, compete harder and dictate the pace.
This one's pretty easy...Florida must be ready to start this game. Unlike Friday.
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