The San Jose Sharks are pushing the Los Angeles Kings to a Game 7, Detroit can knock off No. 1-seeded Chicago, and the Pittsburgh-Boston series headline the NHL playoff stories from Sunday:
1. The perennial Stanley Cup-underachieving Sharks are giving the defending champion Kings all they can handle. On the strength of goals by Joe Thornton and T.J. Galiardi, the Sharks held off the Kings 2-1 to knot their Western Conference semifinal series at three games a piece. However, playing in the Kings’ favour is the fact that all six games have been won by the home teams. With Game 7 set for Tuesday (9 p.m. ET) at Staples Center, L.A. fans want to see this battle remain a homer series.
2. The Detroit Red Wings hope the next time they leave the confines of Joe Louis arena it’ll be a long plane ride to California, rather than the quick hour trip to Chicago. Leading 3-2 in their best-of-seven West series against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Wings can book a trip to the NHL’s final four with a victory Monday (CBC, CBCSports, 8 p.m. ET). Should Detroit knock off the No. 1 seed, it will play either the Kings or Sharks in the Western Conference final.
3. Two storylines have already developed since the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins secured their Eastern Conference final matchup. The first deals with Sidney Crosby and his jaw protector — or lack of one. For the first time since breaking his jaw in March, Crosby was cleared to practise Sunday while wearing a traditional helmet with no mouth or the plastic jaw protection. Remember how Jarome Iginla was going to the Bruins prior to the trade deadline but decided he wanted to be traded to Pittsburgh instead? Well, expect the media to stay on top this story right up to, and beyond this series. Only time will determine whether the former Calgary Flames captain made the smart choice. Regardless, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli says his club will be motivated against Pittsburgh.