Bruins, Ducks and Kings push Maple Leafs, Red Wings and Blues to the brink of elimination, Rangers tied their series with the Capitals, the Penguins will start Tomas Vokoun in Game Five against the Islanders and more.
BOSTON GLOBE/TORONTO SUN: David Krejci scored a hat trick, including the game winner in overtime, as the Boston Bruins edged the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 to take a 3-1 series lead back to Boston for Game Five on Friday.
LOS ANGELES TIMES/STLTODAY.COM: Slava Voynov scored in overtime as the Los Angeles Kings nipped the St. Louis Blues 3-2 to take a 3-2 series lead back to LA for Game Six on Friday. Every game in this series thus far has been decided by one goal, with two coming in overtime.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/WASHINGTON POST: Carl Hagelin’s determined attitude and speed led to teammate Derek Stepan winning goal as the NY Rangers evened their best-of-seven series with the Washington Capitals at two games apiece with a 4-3 victory. Game Five of the series is Friday in Washington.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For me, that was one of the most entertaining nights of playoff hockey of the first round. Every game close, with three of the four decided in overtime.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Tomas Vokoun gets the start in goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight in Game Five of their series against the NY Islanders.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins coach Dan Bylsma had no choice. For whatever reason, starter Marc-Andre Fleury has been a sieve in the playoffs dating back to last year, giving up 40 goals in his last ten playoff games.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Michael Frolik and Marcus Kruger are why the Blackhawks penalty kill has improved.
TWINCITIES.COM: It’s anyone’s guess which goalie – Josh Harding, Niklas Backstrom or Darcy Kuemper – will be the Wild’s starting goalie for tonight’s crucial Game Five against the Chicago Blackhawks.
NHL.COM: Sergei Bobrovsky, Henrik Lundqvist and Antti Niemi are the finalists for the 2013 Vezina Trophy.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No disrespect to Lundqvist, but for me it’s down to Bobrovsky or Niemi.
BUFFALO NEWS: Marcus Foligno and Drew Stafford hope for bounce-back performances next season with the Sabres.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s rumored the Sabres tried shopping Stafford leading up to last month’s trade deadline.
DENVER POST: It’s expected Colorado Avalanche executive advisor and former captain Joe Sakic could take on a bigger front office role with the club.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: He won’t take over as general manager, but could become more involved in hockey operations. Former VP of hockey operations Eric Lacroix recently vacated that role, which could become Sakic’s new title.