Welcome to the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoff Buzz, your daily look at the stories impacting the 2016-17 postseason. The playoffs resume Wednesday with two games. NHL.com writers covering the playoffs will be checking in throughout the day to give you latest news. Here is the playoff news for Tuesday:
Senators expect to win
The Ottawa Senators aren't short on confidence. "We expected to win the first series, and we expect to win this one too," captain Erik Karlsson said. Correspondent Chris Stevenson got that bulletin-board material quote from Karlsson and wrote about the Senators "why not us?" attitude in his dispatch from Ottawa on Tuesday.
5:50 p.m. ET
Keys to success for Rangers
The New York Rangers know what they're up against in the Eastern Conference Second Round. Defenseman Marc Staal even said it's fair to draw a comparison between the Senators and the way the New Jersey Devils used to play when Martin Brodeur was in goal. NHL.com Senior Writer Dan Rosen wrote about how the Rangers plan to handle Ottawa's 1-3-1 neutral-zone clogging system.
Capitals brace for Penguins
After a day off, the Washington Capitals returned to practice Tuesday and turned their attention to Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday (7:30 ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 2). Outside of center Lars Eller (maintenance), all Capitals players were on the ice for the start of practice.
By the end of practice, left wing Alex Ovechkin and right wing Tom Wilson were missing. Ovechkin never returned to practice, but later said he broke his skate and was OK health-wise. Wilson limped off to the locker room after being hit in the foot with a shot from defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.
Capitals coach Barry Trotz said Wilson was fine and that he expects Eller to practice Wednesday. Defenseman Karl Alzner, who missed the final four games of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Toronto Maple Leafs with an upper-body injury, went through the full practice. That said, it's unclear if Alzner will be ready for Game 1.
Katie Brown has the complete update on Alzner and the Capitals' other health issues.
Getting ready for second round
Blues-Predators: Predators goalie Pekka Rinne and Blues goalie Jake Allen were sensational in their teams' first-round triumphs. Can they continue that superb play in the second round and who holds the advantage? Correspondent Kevin Woodley has all the details.
Ducks-Oilers: Forward Leon Draisaitl, 21, the No. 3 pick of the 2014 NHL Draft, was a game-changer for the Edmonton Oilers in their six-game victory against the San Jose Sharks in the first round. As staff writer Tim Campbell notes, Draisaitl had two key assists in the Oilers' come-from-behind 4-3 overtime win in Game 5, then got Edmonton off and running with the first goal a series-clinching 3-1 victory in Game 6.
Senators-Rangers: Ottawa will not need to look hard to find inspiration on its roster. First there's goaltender Craig Anderson, who on Monday was named a finalist for the Bill Masterton Trophy. There's also captain Erik Karlsson, who played with two hairline fractures in his left heel and had six assists and a plus-3 rating in a 4-2 series win against the Boston Bruins in the first round. Correspondent Chris Stevenson looks at how the Senators have persevered.
Capitals-Penguins: Perhaps the top story entering this series is the matchup involving captains Sidney Crosby of the Penguins and Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals. In 13 head-to-head games in the postseason, Ovechkin has 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists) to Crosby's 15 (eight goals, seven assists). But Crosby has two series victories, and the Penguins have gone on to win the Cup each time. Ovechkin has never been past the second round. Staff writer Mike Morreale has the breakdown.
Calm before the storm
Do you have Stanley Cup Playoffs withdrawal yet?
No need to worry because they resume Wednesday. Here are NHL.com staff predictions for the second round.
A pair of Western Conference matchups get us started Wednesday when the St. Louis Blues host the Nashville Predators (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) and the Anaheim Ducks host the Edmonton Oilers (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports).
The Eastern Conference Second Round commences Thursday when the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins play at the Washington Capitals (7:30 p.m.; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 2) and the New York Rangers are at the Ottawa Senators (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports).
NHL.com Senior Writer Dan Rosen has 10 storylines to get you ready for the next two weeks of playoff hockey.