The Western Conference is weird.
Outside of the Chicago Blackhawks, there didn’t look to be many real contenders. With their elimination, it suddenly looked wide open. Even more so now.
Predators 2 – 3 Blues (Series tied 1 – 1)
Nashville’s post-season win streak came to a halt at five, as the Preds got penalty-happy and fell to the Blues.
The Preds took five penalties over the game, with the Blues’ only infraction cancelled out by an embellishment call against Nashville.
It started well for them, with James Neal giving them the lead in the eighth minute, but the game flipped on its head when Vernon Fiddler received a 5+game for kneeing Colton Parayko. On the ensuing powerplay, the Blues equalised through Vladimir Tarasenko.
No scoring in the second, which helped to steady the Preds ship a little and allowed Ryan Ellis to give them the lead again to start the third. The Blues would make the extra man count though, with Jori Lehtera equalising and Tarasenko scoring his second of the night with just under four minutes remaining to tie the series ahead of the trip to Tennessee.
Oilers 2 – 1 Ducks (EDM leads 2 – 0)
Edmonton took the chance to close out a sweep at home with another close win in California.
Cam Talbot made 39 saves as the Oilers were swamped by the Ducks, who were chasing the game from very early on (Anaheim ending the game with an unadjusted CF% of 64.95).
Andrej Sekera gave the Oilers the lead after 65 seconds, with Patrick Maroon making it 2-0 at 26:41 on the power-play. Jakob Silfverberg pulled one back for the Ducks at 35:34, but 18 saves following this from Talbot maintained the lead to send the Oilers home with a chance of sweeping the division leaders.
Rangers @ Senators (OTT leads 1 – 0)
TV: NBC, CBC, TVAS2, Premier (tape delay)
Yet another Senators comeback win in game one sees them lead the series, hoping to extend their lead ahead of heading to Madison Square Garden.
What the Rangers need to do: give Henrik Lundqvist less to do
What the Senators need to do: try getting and maintaining a lead
Reason to watch: Saturday afternoon hockey!
Penguins @ Capitals (PIT leads 1 – 0)
TV: NBC, CBC, TVAS, Premier (live)
The Pens took game one of a series that probably will go seven. The Capitals looked a little weary from their war against Toronto, and will need to pick up the pace in game two.
What the Pens need to do: Their thing. They’re pretty good.
What the Capitals need to do: Get back to doing their thing, which is also pretty good
Reason to watch: The two best teams left in the whole damn thing, c’mon.
Tonight sees the annual tradition of “who has been lucky enough for it to pay off being crap for a year” and the NHL Draft Lottery.
This year, the first three draft positions are being drawn, and with the addition of the Vegas Golden Knights into the mix, the odds of your team coming up with #1 overall are lower than before.
There’s no generational talent like a Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews to be had this year, but having the number one pick gives you a better chance of picking out a star of the future.
The following picture from the National Post gives you the odds for each team in the lottery, which takes place prior to the Pens/Caps faceoff at 8/5/1.