Two teams might be playing their last game of the 2015 Playoffs tonight.
- Game Four: The Montreal Canadiens at the Tampa Bay Lightning, 7:00. Tampa is looking to sweep the Habs tonight, they are up 3-0 in the series. Tyler Johnson is a monster.
- Game Four: The Chicago Blackhawks at the Minnesota Wild, 9:30. With a win tonight in their road whites the Chicago Blackhawks can sweep Zach Parise and the Wild and reserve their seat as one of the final four teams in the 2015 Playoffs. There's just no stopping Patrick Kane in the postseason, is there?
So, I'm conflicted with who I want to win tonight in the Tampa vs Montreal series. I openly support the Tampa Bay Lightning and did so long before Ryan Callahan, Brian Boyle, and Anton Stralman landed there... but if the Rangers can find a way to make history and win the next three games to get past the Capitals, I don't like their chances against Tampa. Then again, if they manage to pull that off I'm not sure what could stop them. If you haven't done so, take a look at the regular season stats for the Tampa Bay skaters (click here). Look at the depth that the Bolts have and the names they have on their blue line. They're a very scary team. They're the real deal.
Tampa's depth, their speed, and their work ethic make them the best team left standing in the East as of this moment. I would have given that title to the Rangers at the onset of the playoffs, but given the impact of the Zuccarello injury and the empty wallet that is the Rangers' offense right now, I can't not give the nod to Steven Stamkos and the Bolts. I can't imagine what its like to be a Habs fan right now. They are about to be swept by the team they swept in the 2014 Playoffs. Man, playoff hockey is crazy. Carey Price is doing everything he can do, but he's not quite superhuman and Tampa is all over the Habs.
Tonight's late game might mean a Cinderella story coming to end. The Wild are down 3-0 in the series and their chances of turning things around (or even winning tonight's game) are looking pretty grim. The Chicago Blackhawks' forward depth and balanced attack is the stuff of nightmares in the playoffs. Minnesota is going to have to throw everything they can on net and do everything they can to stop Patrick Kane from skating circles around people like he has done throughout his career in the postseason. Much like disappointed Rangers fans, Wild fans are pointing fingers at some big names on their roster (hey, I know Ryan Suter) who aren't contributing or getting it done against the Blackhawks. Looks like Broadway Brad Richards is Conference Finals bound yet again.
Which game are you most looking forward to watching? Score predictions? Which team has a better chance of avoiding the brooms tonight; the Habs or the Wild?
Let's go hockey.
Enjoy the games and the open thread. Be good to one another.