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Playoff Buzz: Rangers try to get even

New York can tie second-round series with home win against Senators in Game 4

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 on Thursday with one game. NHL.com writers covering the playoffs will be checking in throughout the day to give you latest news, including the site of the one game. Here is the playoff news for Thursday:

 

5:00 p.m.
Predators have perfect defenseman mentor in Housley

The Nashville Predators' mobile defense has been the difference against the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference Second Round.

Predators defensemen have combined for five goals and seven assists in four games against the Blues, helping Nashville establish a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. LNH.com Senior Managing Editor Arpon Basu talked to Predators assistant coach Phil Housley, a mobile defenseman in his day, about working with these impressive defensemen.

The Predators only need one more win to reach the Western Conference Final for the first time. It could come as early as Game 5 on Friday at Scottrade Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). Correspondent Robby Stanley spoke to several Nashville players about what it would mean to get to the third round of the playoffs.

The St. Louis Blues know the odds of winning the next three games are against them, but they believe it's possible. Director of Editorial Shawn P. Roarke found out there are a variety of reasons the Blues believe they can do what only 9.5 percent (28 of 295) of NHL teams to face a 3-1 series deficit have done.

Blues coach Mike Yeo will pull out all the stops to win Game 5 and extend their season. He used a variety of new lines in practice Thursday and tinkered with the power play. Correspondent Louie Korac looks at the Blues' potential adjustments for Game 5.

 

4:30 p.m.
Senators look to take command

The Ottawa Senators have a chance to take a 3-1 series lead in Game 4 against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. 

Here's the latest news prior to the only game on the schedule Thursday:

Ottawa Senators at New York Rangers (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) -- Senators right wing Bobby Ryan will be in the lineup, Chris Wideman will replace Fredrik Claesson on defense, and center Zack Smith (upper body) is a game-time decision, staff writer Amalie Benjamin reports. Ryan is tied for the Senators lead with eight points (four goals, four assists) in nine Stanley Cup Playoff games. Deputy managing editor Brian Compton has the projected lineups in his 5 keys to Game 4. The Rangers have allowed two goals or fewer in seven of 12 games against Ottawa since 2014-15 (regular season and playoffs).

 

2:15 p.m.
Ryan will play for Senators

Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan will play in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Ryan sustained a left leg injury in the third period of Game 3, but said he has gotten treatment and is good to go. Senators forward Tom Pyatt and defenseman Chris Wideman will enter the lineup for Game 4, but who will come out? Staff writer Amalie Benjamin explains.

After losing 4-1 and getting outworked in just about every area of the game in Game 3, the Senators are entering Game 4 with a different mindset to try to match the Rangers' urgency. There are several areas where they must be better. NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor Brian Compton has 5 keys to Game 4.

 

11:15 a.m.
Rangers look to tie series

The New York Rangers will try to even the series against the Ottawa Senators by winning Game 4 at Madison Square Garden.

Here's a look at the only game on the playoff schedule Thursday:

Ottawa Senators at New York Rangers (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) -- Mats Zuccarello, Michael Grabner, Rick Nash and Oscar Lindberg scored for the Rangers in a 4-1 win in Game 3 at the Garden on Tuesday. Senators coach Guy Boucher expects right wing Bobby Ryan to be in the lineup; Ryan left with 13:46 remaining in the third period of Game 3 after being hit in the right thigh by a slap shot from teammate Erik Karlsson. Center Zack Smith (upper body) is questionable and Boucher may make a few lineup changes, NHL.com staff writer Mike G. Morreale reports.

Read: Fantasy picks for May 4-5

The Senators are looking for a better start to Game 4 after allowing the Rangers two goals on 15 shots in the first period of Game 3. Staff writer Amalie Benjamin spoke to players about the importance of a strong first period.

Rangers center Mika Zibanejad was dominant in Game 3, and NHL.com senior writer Dan Rosen feels it will certainly benefit New York if he remains aggressive against his former team.

 

9 a.m.

Penguins close in on trip to conference final

The Pittsburgh Penguins moved to within one win of the Eastern Conference Final, and they did it without Sidney Crosby.

With their captain out because of a concussion sustained in Game 3, Pittsburgh defeated the Washington Capitals in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. The defending Stanley Cup champions are one win away from defeating Washington in the second round for the second year in a row.

The Anaheim Ducks evened the series against the Edmonton Oilers by winning in overtime. Game 5 is Friday.

Here's a look at what happened Wednesday:

 

Pittsburgh Penguins 3, Washington Capitals 2

The Penguins, upset with the hit that knocked Crosby out of Game 3, got the ultimate payback with the victory. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 36 saves and rookie Jake Guentzel scored his eighth goal of the playoffs for Pittsburgh.

NHL.com staff writer Tom Gulitti note that the defeat was another missed opportunity for the Capitals, who are one loss away from seeing another season with high expectations end early in the playoffs.

 

Anaheim Ducks 4, Edmonton Oilers 3 (OT)

Jakob Silfverberg scored 45 seconds into overtime to give the Ducks the win and even the best-of-7 series at 2-2. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, who had four points (two goals, two assists), was dominant.

Video: Silfverberg, Getzlaf give Ducks 4-3 OT win in Game 4

 

Here are some things we learned on Day 22 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

 

Pressure on Capitals

Washington had a chance to tie the Eastern Conference Second Round while the Penguins were playing without three of their best players: Sidney Crosby, defenseman Kris Letang and goaltender Matt Murray. Instead, they lost 3-2 and trail the best-of-7 series 3-1. Coach Barry Trotz said his best players weren't good enough. The frustration is evident. Three times in this series, the Capitals have outshot the Penguins badly and lost, and now they're on the brink of being eliminated by the Penguins in the second round for the second straight year after winning the Presidents' Trophy. If they can't beat them under these circumstances, can they ever?

Penguins don't feel pain

You'd think with all these players out with injuries, the Penguins would shy away from that hard black disk hurtling through the air at high speed. But they don't. The Penguins blocked 24 more shots in Game 4. That, and Fleury's 36 saves, led to their 3-2 victory and a 3-1 series lead even though they were out-attempted 72-38. A guy like Patric Hornqvist takes a shot off a leg, hobbles off the ice and comes right back for more. Other guys absorb puck after puck. Defensemen Ollie Maatta, Brian Dumoulin and Ian Cole each blocked three shots, as did forward Nick Bonino.

Video: Schultz's PPG lifts Penguins past Capitals in Game 4

Ryan Getzlaf is true leader

Getzlaf wouldn't let the Ducks panic after they were completely outplayed in the first period and after Edmonton scored a goal late in regulation to force overtime. The Ducks turned the tide in the second period with three goals, led by their captain. He finished with four points, including an assist on Jakob Silfverberg's OT winner.

Oilers have less room for error

Coach Todd McLellan frequently said this week that as teams go deeper into the playoffs, mistakes are magnified because the opponents are progressively better. Edmonton started off with a 2-0 lead in Game 4 but discovered the Ducks could turn very small errors into game-changing plays. Even after the Oilers tied the game with 1:42 left in the third period, the Ducks needed just 45 seconds of overtime to win.

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