Stanley Cup Playoffs: Thursday's Need to Know

Montreal-Ottawa and Washington-Rangers are the last two series to launch, while home teams St. Louis and Anaheim look to go up two games. Elsewhere, will Thursday bring the first playoff suspension?

Boston's Andrew Ference meeting with NHL

Montreal Canadiens defenccemen P.K. Subban, right, and Andrei Markov have played very few playoff games together, owing to Markov's long battles with knee injuries. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

We will be able to say with total certainty that the playoffs are in full swing on Thursday as the puck drops on the final two series yet to begin.

Here's a list of things you need to know, which we'll update throughout the day:

After desultory results for Toronto and Vancouver in their series openers on Wednesday, we can say for sure that a Canadian team will win Thursday night on Hockey Night in Canada when the Ottawa Senators play Game 1 in Montreal. 

  • The Sens and Canadiens had regular playoff meetings between 1917 and 1928, with hockey legends Cy Denneny, King Clancy, Howie Morenz and Aurel Joliat battling in front of goaltenders like Clint Benedict and Georges Hainesworth. Who will be today's heroes? Will Daniel Alfredsson continue to haunt the Habs? Ottawa players expect it to be loud and hostile at Bell Centre.
  • The last time we saw the currently red-hot Alex Ovechkin in the playoffs, he was putting on a brave face regarding his perplexing ice time figures under the previous Capitals coach. Ovechkin has nine goals and eight assists in 17 career playoffs games against frequent post-season rivals the Rangers. Much of that came amid battles with Marc Staal, who is out with an eye injury. Game 1 takes place Thursday in Washington. For New York, Rick Nash is in the playoffs for just the second time in his career.
  • Jonathan Quick and the Los Angeles Kings will try and rebound after the goaltender's misplay cost them in St. Louis in Game 1. Quick joins the likes of Ty Conklin and Dan Cloutier in committing playoff goalie gaffes. Of course, he has a Conn Smythe Trophy, which those other guys don't. Incidentally, the Kings are already in new territory compared to their 2012 run to the Cup. They never trailed in any of the four series.
  • Anaheim and Detroit are meeting in the playoffs for a sixth time, with the Ducks looking to go up 2-0 on Thursday. Both times the Ducks won Game 1, as they did on a winning goal from ageless wonder Teemu Selanne, they've won the series. Both times they've beaten Detroit in a series, they've gone all the way to the Stanley Cup final.

  • Will the wheel of justice land on a number of games to sit out for Andrew Ference and Marty Reasoner? The Boston Bruins defenceman is scheduled to have a hearing for his Game 1 elbow on Toronto forward Mikhail Grabovski. Veteran Isles forward Reasoner got tossed for knee-on-knee shenanigans with Jussi Jokinen of Pittsburgh, but it's not yet known if there will be additional discipline.

  • Speaking of Toronto-Boston, Phil Kessel could be dealing with a wrist injury.

  • By the numbers so far: Home teams 5-1-0 … Goals by period: 9-8-5-2 … Goals by type: 10 PP, 1 SH, 13 ES (1 ENG).