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The Blue & Gray Press | July 20, 2017

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NHL Playoffs update: First round well underway with top teams in early trouble

NHL Playoffs update: First round well underway with top teams in early trouble

By CJ CUMMINGS

This week the Philadelphia Flyers and the Detroit Red Wings will be fighting to stay alive in the National Hockey League playoffs. The Flyers will have home ice on Wednesday as they try to stop the Washington Capitals from sweeping them in the best-of-seven series.

The Flyers will be doing this without their forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, who was suspended one game for hitting  Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov from behind during Game 3 of the teams Eastern Conference first-round playoff series. Orlov will also be out due to his injury from the hit.

On the other side of the Eastern Conference playoff bracket is the series between the Detroit Red Wings and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Despite the fact that the Detroit Red Wings have set a record for having the most playoff appearances with 25 straight years, they have only won it all four times. They will be on the road Thursday as they try to keep the series alive. The Pittsburgh Penguins have a 2-1 lead in the series over the New York Rangers. In Game 3 of the series there was a lack of communication between defenseman Keith Yandel and defenseman Dan Boyle that led to the Penguins scoring the go- ahead goal in the third period.

Meanwhile the Florida Panthers have a 2-1 lead over the New York Islanders. In the second period of the Game 3, a disallowed goal for the Panthers was enough to get the crowd and the Islanders back in the game. After a review for offsides went the Islanders way and also nullified the Panthers third goal, it lit a fire underneath the whole Islanders team. The Islanders went on to score three goals in the second period alone. The game went into overtime where the Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey came away with the winning goal.

In the Western Conference, the Anaheim Ducks tried to mix it up by switching goaltenders from John Gibson to Frederick Anderson. The team is going to the goaltender that has more experience in hopes that they will play better as a team. The Nashville Predators have a 2-1 lead on the Ducks.

Another series to keep an eye out for is the Chicago Blackhawks vs. St Louis Blues. The Blues have one of the best goaltenders in the league. A big advantage for the Blues is that they have outscored the Blackhawks five to one in the third period and overtime of any regular season game played in Chicago. Do not count the Blackhawks out because they are a team that will fight you till the final horn sounds.

The Minnesota Wild finally showed up to play on Monday when they went on a 4-0 goal run and closed out the game by beating the Dallas Stars 5-3. Still, Dallas controls the series as they are up 2-1. If the Wild show what they showed on Monday night they will be able to turn this series around. As the San Jose Sharks enter Game 3, they are looking for all four of their lines to be contributing. They do not have their lines running as smoothly as they want. As a result their top line with Joe Thornton is running the whole show. They are carrying too much weight of the team, if the other lines can start putting up some stats, they might be able to go far in this postseason.

Make sure to stick by your televisions and stay updated, as the remaining NHL teams continue their journey for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

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