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Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz: Blues, Stars set for Game 7

Blue Jackets face plenty of questions after being eliminated by Bruins

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Welcome to the Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz, a daily in-depth look at the 2019 NHL playoffs. The first of two Game 7s in the Western Conference will be play ed on Tuesday: 

 

On Tap

Dallas Stars at St. Louis Blues (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS): The last time these teams met in a Game 7, the Blues won 6-1 at Dallas in 2016 to reach the Western Conference Final. This time the game is in St. Louis, and that may not be a good thing for the Blues, who are 2-4 at home this postseason. The winner will play the either the Avalanche or Sharks.

 

Need to know

Stars goalie Ben Bishop said he is ready to go for Game 7 after taking a shot the collarbone in Game 6 and eventually coming out of the game. 

The Blues are 2-4 at home in the postseason, and feel they need to 'put the noise behind us' to be successful against the Stars. 

Stars or Blues? NHL.com writers chime in with their predictions for Game 7.

The Sharks and Avalanche will play a Game 7 on Wednesday, and San Jose forward Joe Pavelski, out since the first round with an undisclosed injury, is a game-time decision. 

The Boston Bruins reached the Eastern Conference Final by eliminating the Columbus Blue Jackets in six games. Here are five reasons why they did it. 

The Blue Jackets have plenty of questions to answer this offseason, starting with the futures of pending unrestricted free agents Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin.

Here's the first look the Eastern Conference Final matchup between the Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes. 

 

About last night

Here is what happened on Day 27 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

Boston Bruins 3, Columbus Blue Jackets 0: Goalie Tuukka Rask made 39 saves and the Bruins defeated the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena to reach the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 2013. Center David Krejci had goal and an assist and forwards Marcus Johansson and David Backes each scored for Boston, which will face the Carolina Hurricanes in the conference final. Columbus has never played in Game 7 and was eliminated at home for the fourth time in the five seasons it has qualified for the playoffs. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves for the Blue Jackets. 

Colorado Avalanche 4, San Jose Sharks 3 (OT): Forward Gabriel Landeskog scored at 2:32 of overtime at Pepsi Center to force a Game 7 in the Western Conference Second Round. Forward J.T. Compher scored twice for Colorado. The Sharks will play their second Game 7 in as many rounds on Wednesday. 

Video: Grubauer records 19 saves to help Avs force Game 7

 

What we learned

Here are some takeaways from Day 27 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

 

Blue Jackets needed power play in big way

The Blue Jackets don't have to look further than their power play to understand why their season ended Monday. They were 6-0 in the playoffs in games when they scored a power-play goal. They were 0-4 when they didn't, including losing Games 4, 5 and 6 against the Bruins, when they were a combined 0-for-10 with the man advantage. Columbus' power play was a big factor in sweeping the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round; it scored at least one power-play goal in each game and went 5-for-10 in the series. The Blue Jackets were 0-for-4 in Game 1 against Boston, a 3-2 overtime loss. Columbus then went 3-for-7 in Games 2 and 3, winning each to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. But the Blue Jackets couldn't connect again on the power play. They weren't without chances; they had some, good ones too, but couldn't find a way to sneak one past Rask. If they did, maybe they'd be preparing for Game 7 right now.

 

Cassidy makes right calls for Bruins

The Eastern Conference Second Round between Columbus and Boston was a study in contrasts, at least from behind the bench. Though Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella plays it close to the vest, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy is generally open, expansive, willing to take chances and make moves -- and even is willing to explain them in the usually tight-lipped environment of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And some of his moves paid off big. Cassidy has found a knack for using the right players at the right moments, especially when it comes to Backes. The veteran forward played Game 2 against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round, was back out for Games 6 and 7 of that series, and back in for the past three games, when he had a goal and two assists, including the game-breaking goal in Game 6. It's not an easy call to make on a player who once was an NHL captain and who is being paid $6 million this year, but it has worked out for the Backes and, more importantly, for the Bruins.

Video: BOS@CBJ, Gm6: Backes tips in feed from Krug

 

Sharks energy is fine

The question of San Jose's energy level has come up a few times during their series against the Avalanche. Coach Peter DeBoer shot down the idea it had dipped before Game 6, but after a flat first period, the Sharks showed they had plenty of zip. San Jose rallied to tie the game three different times, including on defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic's goal with 2:28 remaining in the third period, which would indicate the tank has plenty of fuel. In this extremely tight second round, San Jose will have a lot of reasons to feel energized for Game 7 at SAP Center on Wednesday (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

 

Avalanche won't go away

Entering the playoffs as the second wild card in the Western Conference, Colorado continues to break ground, coming back to tie the series three times after losing Games 1, 3 and 5. There could have been many reasons to slide out of the postseason quietly, especially against the persistent Sharks, who tied Game 6 three times. But the Avalanche dug deep each time and extended the series to Game 7. Colorado also showed off its depth in Game 6; though center Nathan MacKinnon, its leading regular-season scorer, was kept off the scoresheet for the second consecutive game, Compher had two goals and center Tyson Jost one. Without that kind of balance, the Avalanche may well have been eliminated.

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