Boston Bruins @ Detroit Red Wings (Thursday)
The Bruins and Red Wings are tied at a game apiece after the two teams split in Boston over the weekend. Detroit’s offense was shut down in each of the first two games, so on home ice in Michigan, the lowest-seeded team in the Eastern Conference will try to find some offense. Detroit came within one victory of the Western Conference Finals last season, so it’s not as though regular season records matter here. Boston needs to be sure it leaves Game 4 with a 2-2 series at worst.
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NHL Hockey: NHL Eastern Conference Playoffs, First Round, Game 4:
This is a 1-1 series at the moment. The two teams split in New York. A lot will depend on the outcome of Game 3 earlier in the week, but one thing is clear: This will be a 2-1 series heading into Friday’s game, meaning that the Game 3 winner will have a chance to take a 3-1 advantage in the series. Will the Game 3 loser bounce back and play with more desperation, or will the Game 3 winner take full control of the series, exerting its will and sending a message in terms of physical play?
NHL Hockey: NHL Eastern Conference Playoffs, First Round, Game 5:
This is actually not a fourth game, but a fifth game, as Pittsburgh will return home to face Columbus. The first two games of this series were split, with Columbus getting a late goal in regulation to cause overtime in Game 2, trailing the series 1-0. The Blue Jackets then upset the Penguins to apply pressure to Pittsburgh. If this series is at least tied, Game 5 will carry a lot of weight for Pittsburgh, a team that will get blown up if it doesn’t get out of the first or second playoff series.
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