Tonight's burning questions | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaTonight's burning questions

Posted: Friday, April 13, 2012 | 05:04 PM

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Ryan Kesler of Vancouver, sent flying on a Game 1 play as Kings captain Dustin Brown looks on, is under pressure to put forth a better performance. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press) Ryan Kesler of Vancouver, sent flying on a Game 1 play as Kings captain Dustin Brown looks on, is under pressure to put forth a better performance. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

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Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada will tee up the action every night through the NHL playoffs with burning questions for each scheduled game.

Elliotte will tee up the action every night through the NHL playoffs with burning questions for each scheduled game. 

Kings vs Canucks, Game 2 (Kings lead 1-0):

Can Ryan Kesler reach Mike Richards' level?

Richards was the star of Game 1, dominating the ice on every shift. Meanwhile, Kesler regressed to his Vlade Divac flopping phase, all but taking himself out of the game.

With Daniel Sedin injured, the Canucks need even more from No. 17, who really is their emotional cornerstone. Forget the flops. Forget the taunts. Just be the player you can be. That's the guy who can make a difference.

Flyers vs Penguins, Game 2 (Flyers lead 1-0):

Can the Penguins keep a lead against these guys?

In three of their last four meetings, Pittsburgh's blown 2-0, 2-0, and 3-0 firstperiod margins. (The other game was rather meaningless, on the final day of the season with their playoff matchup already decided.)

The Penguins scored the first goal against the Flyers the last six times they've met, and lost four of them.

You can see how much confidence the Philly players had, despite being down to the NHL's most loaded team. No doubt they've used the craziness of the last couple of weeks to galvanize them against Pittsburgh.

Red Wings vs Predators, Game 2 (Preds lead 1-0):

Which "bottom six" Red Wing forward makes a difference?

Mike Babcock badly wanted Darren Helm back for this series, because it brought balance back to his lines.

"Helmer just puts everyone in the right spot," Babcock said Wednesday morning. "We had a great bottom six all year long and then we lost our people and we had no bottom six.

"We had no support scoring."

Well, here we are again. Helm's comeback lasted 1:58 before a skate cut severed tendons and ended his season.

Look at the forwards Nashville scratched for Game 1: Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, Jordin Tootoo, Brian McGrattan. How many of those guys would sit on other teams? Three?
The Predators have depth. Someone on Detroit is going to have to match that.

Devils-Panthers, Game 1:

Will Stephen Weiss seize the moment?

No one entering these playoffs ached more for this opportunity. Nine years, 637 games until he finally gets a shot at postseason glory.

The Panthers need Weiss to make a difference. They aren't as deep as the Devils. Weiss/Tomas Fleischmann/Kris Versteeg is Florida's most dangerous offensive trio (by far).

They were the team's top three point-getters and scored 70 of the Panthers' 203 goals. With home-ice advantage, Kevin Dineen will be able to dictate who this line faces.

For Florida to win, Weiss's line must be great.

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