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Playoff Buzz: Senators, Predators look to go up big

Ottawa trying for third straight win against Rangers, Nashville aiming for 3-1 advantage vs. Blues

NHL.com @NHL

Welcome to the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoff Buzz, your daily look at the stories impacting the 2016-17 postseason. The playoffs continue Tuesday with two games. NHL.com writers covering the playoffs will be checking in throughout the day to give you latest news, including from the sites of the two games. Here is the playoff news for Tuesday:

 

5:23 p.m.
Oilers must improve faceoff performance

The Edmonton Oilers may have a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 Western Conference Second Round series against the Anaheim Ducks, but they have struggled to keep up in the faceoff circle.

After finishing last in regular-season faceoff win percentage (47.0), the Oilers have won only 81 of 200 faceoffs over the first three games (40.5). They know they'll need a more concentrated effort to defeat the Ducks in this series.

Anaheim is unlikely to have right wing Patrick Eaves for Game 4 on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports). Eaves, who sustained the injury early in the third period of Game 3 on Sunday, didn't skate when the Ducks practiced in Kelowna, British Columbia on Tuesday.

The Ducks will also be without defenseman Kevin Bieksa, NHL.com's Lisa Dillman reports. Bieksa is out until late in the series with a lower-body injury.

Oilers captain Connor McDavid said Tuesday he was honored to be named a finalist for the Hart Trophy with Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby. McDavid won the NHL scoring title with 100 points (30 goals, 70 assists) in the regular season.

"It's a credit to my teammates and being able to play for this great team and being able to play with all these great players," McDavid said.

 

4:42 p.m.
Rangers, Blues look to rebound

The New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues are each desperate for wins in their respective Stanley Cup Playoff series.

Here's the scoop on the two postseason games set for Tuesday:

Ottawa Senators at New York Rangers (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) -- There's a chance Rangers left wing Tanner Glass will replace Pavel Buchnevich in the Game 3 lineup to make his debut in the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Senators. The Rangers trail the best-of-7 series 2-0. Senior writer Dan Rosen has the projected lineups in his 5 keys to Game 3. Senators left wing Clarke MacArthur will be in the lineup after leaving Game 2 on Saturday with an upper-body injury, according to staff writer Mike G. Morreale.

St. Louis Blues at Nashville Predators (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports) -- There's no place like home in the postseason for the Predators, who have won seven straight playoff games at Bridgestone Arena dating back to Game 6 of their Western Conference First Round series in 2016 against the Anaheim Ducks. Nashville has allowed a combined four goals in three home wins this postseason. Blues coach Mike Yeo is expected to make a few lineup adjustments with St. Louis trailing 2-1 in the best-of-7 series. Forwards Zach Sanford and Magnus Paajarvi are likely to play. Correspondent Robby Stanley has 5 keys to Game 4.

 

3:45 p.m.
Penguins lose Crosby for Game 4

The Pittsburgh Penguins held an optional practice at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, Pa., and the Washington Capitals remained off the ice Tuesday. Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series is Wednesday at PPG Paints Arena (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will miss Game 4 after sustaining a concussion in Game 3 on Monday. Staff writer Tom Gulitti has the full update on Crosby and right wing Conor Sheary, who also sustained a concussion in the game.

NHL.com Columnist Nicholas J. Cotsonika writes about the importance of the Penguins concentrating on Crosby's long-term health during this heated moment in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Capitals' focus is on trying to get another road win in Game 4 to even the best-of-7 series at 2-2. Correspondent Katie Brown has the story of the Capitals' newfound confidence in overtime.

 

1:10 p.m.
Senators look to match Rangers' desperation

Ottawa Senators coach Guy Boucher said they will have to manufacture their desperation superficially because the urgency will clearly be on the New York Rangers' side in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Second Round on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

NHL.com Senior Writer Dan Rosen has 5 keys to Game 3.

The Rangers lineup could change with forward Tanner Glass potentially replacing Pavel Buchnevich, although coach Alain Vigneault would not confirm anything Tuesday morning. What we do know for sure is that the Senators lineup will not change, meaning forward Clarke MacArthur (upper body) will be in the lineup.

 

11:37 a.m.
Senators and Predators look to take commanding leads

The Ottawa Senators have an opportunity to take a 3-0 lead in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round series against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. In the Western Conference, the Nashville Predators will look to take a 3-1 series lead against the St. Louis Blues in their second round match at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

Here's an early look at each game:

Ottawa Senators at New York Rangers (7 p.m. ET; CBC, TVA Sports, NBCSN)
The Senators rallied for a 6-5 win in Game 2 when Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored his fourth goal of the game in double-overtime Saturday. Pageau has become a bit of a celebrity since his four-goal outburst helped give Ottawa a 2-0 series lead. There's a chance left wing Clarke MacArthur (upper body) will be in the lineup for Game 3, as reported by staff writer Mike G. Morreale. The Rangers are considering a few lineup adjustments as well, according to senior writer Dan Rosen. Rosen also identified five players for the Rangers who need to be better than they were in Game 2.

 

St. Louis Blues at Nashville Predators (9:30 p.m. ET; SN, TVA Sports, NBCSN)

The Predators took a 2-1 series lead when forward Cody McLeod and defensemen Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi each scored and goalie Pekka Rinne made 22 saves in a 3-1 win in Game 3 on Sunday. Ellis has eight points (three goals, five assists) during a six-game point streak, a playoff record for a Predators defenseman. One big key for the Predators in the win was being able to contain Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko, as told by LNH.com senior managing editor Arpon Basu. The Blues, meanwhile, are hoping for a strong response to even the series in Game 4, according correspondent Louie Korac. It certainly would be worth your time to read about how the Predators have molded Nashville into a hockey town, as told by director of editorial Shawn P. Roarke.

 

9:01 a.m.
One game, but it was a good one

There was one game on the schedule Monday, but Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Second Round series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals had enough twists and turns for a full schedule of games.

Here's a look at what happened Monday:

Washington Capitals 3, Pittsburgh Penguins 2 (OT)

The Capitals won on a goal by defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk 3:13 into overtime to cut the Penguins' lead in the best-of-7 series to 2-1. Penguins center Sidney Crosby left the game 5:24 into the first period after a cross-check by Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen and didn't return. The Penguins scored twice in the final 1:53 of regulation to send the game into overtime. Game 4 is Wednesday.

The game-winning goal served as a bit of redemption for Shattenkirk.

As for Crosby, the Penguins did not say what his status would be for the rest of the series.

Columnist Nick Cotsonika says Crosby's long-term health is the Penguins' No. 1 priority.

 

Here are some things we learned on Day 20 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

 

The Capitals are resilient

Coach Barry Trotz keeps saying this Washington Capitals team is different from those that haven't responded well to playoff pressure in the past. They demonstrated some of that characteristic Monday. After letting a two-goal lead slip away in the final 1:53 of the third period, they were on the precipice of falling into a 3-0 hole in the best-of-7 series. But they regrouped during the intermission and won on defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk's power-play goal 3:13 into overtime.

Video: Shattenkirk's OT goal leads Caps past Pens in Game 3

The Penguins have guts

The Pittsburgh Penguins lost center Sidney Crosby to injury 5:24 into the first period. They failed to score for most of the game. And then, with their goalie pulled in the final minutes, they scored twice in 48 seconds and forced overtime. Evgeni Malkin blasted a one-timer, then set up Justin Schultz for a point shot. It has to give them hope they can survive if Crosby is out for any length of time, and it has to put fear in the Capitals that Pittsburgh will be tough to beat even without Crosby.

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