Hockey Night in Canada

NHL playoffs: What you need to know for Friday

Get up to speed on today's most important news from the Stanley Cup playoffs, where both Western Conference series open tonight with St. Louis visiting Dallas and Nashville jumping into the shark tank in San Jose (10:30 p.m. ET).

Both Western Conference 2nd-round matchups open tonight

Jamie Benn is invoking the legendary Rocket Richard with both his hairstyle and his scoring touch. The Dallas standout leads all post-season performers with a 1.67 points-per-game average. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The Stanley Cup playoffs are on. Each day, we'll keep you updated on the important news involving players, starting lineups, injuries and more. Check back throughout the day to stay in the know.

After the Islanders beat Tampa Bay on Wednesday and Washington drew first blood on Pittsburgh last night to open the Eastern Conference second-round series, both Western matchups begin tonight with St. Louis visiting Dallas (CBC, CBC Sports app, 8 p.m. ET) and Nashville jumping into the shark tank in San Jose (10:30 p.m. ET).

Caps' Wilson avoids suspension

Washington forward Tom Wilson was fined the maximum $2,403.67 US (why are these numbers not round?), but not suspended, by the NHL today for his knee-on-knee hit on Pittsburgh's Conor Sheary last night.

A few beats after Sheary sent the puck into the Caps' zone from the red-line late in the third period, Wilson clipped him on his way to the Washington bench. Sheary hobbled off and missed a few shifts before returning, and Wilson was not penalized. The Caps went on to win 4-3 in overtime.

Halak practises with Isles

Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak took part in a full skate with his teammates today, per Newsday's Arthur Staple.

Halak has been out since March 8 with a groin injury. Thomas Greiss is 5-2 as New York's goalie in the playoffs this year and ranks third in the league with a .941 post-season save percentage.

No rest for the Preds

The Sharks are easily the more rested team in their series. It was a full week ago that San Jose completed its five-game upset of the Kings with a 6-3 win in L.A. A night later, Nashville appeared to be on its way out after losing its third straight game to Anaheim, pushed to the brink of elimination in a series it had once led 2-0. But the Predators roared back to take the next two and send the Pacific Division champs packing with Wednesday's 2-1 road win.

While the Sharks enjoyed six full days off, the Predators said they wouldn't even have time to practice ahead of the series opener

More time for Blues

St. Louis also went seven games in its first-round matchup with Chicago, but the Blues still got three days off after outlasting the defending Stanley Cup champions in an emotional seven-game series that ended with Monday's 3-2 decision.

Dallas has been off since Sunday's 5-4 win that completed a six-game victory over a depleted Minnesota team.

Seguin still out

Dallas standout Tyler Seguin appears likely to miss at least the first two games of the series as he recovers from an unspecified injury.

Seguin suffered a cut to his Achilles tendon on March 17 that required surgery and kept him out for 11 games. He returned for Game 2 against Minnesota, was reinjured, and has yet to skate again.

"He's day to day, and once he gets on the ice, it's probably four to five days from there," Stars GM Jim Nill said Wednesday per Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News.

Game 2 goes Sunday. Game 3 is Monday, on the edge of Nill's timeline.

Seguin played 15:40 in Game 2 against Minnesota — down from his regular-season average of 19:26 — and had no points.

Stars coach Lindy Ruff described the new injury as "kind of related" to the Achilles problem.

Seguin notched 33 goals and 40 assists in 72 regular-season games.

In his absence, Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza picked up the scoring slack, combining for eight goals and 19 points in the six games against the Wild. Benn leads all playoff scorers with a 1.67 points-per-game average.

Stars stick with Lehtenon

It appears Kari Lehtonen will get his second straight start in goal for Dallas.

Lehtonen started the first three games of the Minnesota series, then lost the job to Antti Niemi for the next two before regaining it for the clincher.


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