Here are your Evening Puck Headlines and Previews: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.
Preview: San Jose Sharks at Anaheim Ducks (10:30 p.m. EST; TV: VS., CBC). Ducks lead the series, 2-0.
Keys for the Sharks: A change in philosophy. Coach Todd McLellan has been a "shoot first, ask questions after scoring" guy since he took over San Jose. After the Sharks fired the puck 83 times (in total) against Jonas Hiller and the Ducks defense in their Game 2 loss, McLellan admitted that it might be time to promote quality over quantity in offensive chances. Joe Pavelski, however, thinks firing away might still work, too.
Keys for the Ducks: Kill or be killed. The oft-repeated 0-for-12 mark on the power play for San Jose continues to be one of the stories of the series, considering how closely these games have been played. Another sterling effort on special teams, and Anaheim could be a win away from closing this out.
Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins at Philadelphia Flyers (7 p.m. EST; TV: VS., CBC). Penguins lead the series, 2-1.
Keys for the Penguins: As much lip service as has been paid to the Flyers' penchant for post-whistle scrums, Coach Dan Bylsma believes the key to Game 4 is his players being smarter on dump-ins and coverage. Which of course could be his way of deflecting the notion that the Flyers got into the Penguins' heads in Game 3, but is still a key nonetheless.
Keys for the Flyers: Continue the expert line matching of Jeff Carter vs. Sidney Crosby and Mike Richards against Evgeni Malkin, but hope that Richards handles Malkin better than he did in Game 3. Play physical, play smart; and above all else the "most intimidating fans" in the NHL to propel their emotions. Even if Max Talbot thinks that moniker is "pretty pretentious."
In partnership with NBC Sports Philadelphia
Preview: New Jersey Devils at Carolina Hurricanes (7 p.m. EST; TV: TSN). Devils lead the series, 2-1.
Keys for the Devils: The forecheck has been a huge factor in the Devils' two victories, having obliterated the Canes defense in Game 1 and in Brendan Shanahan's huge theft of Joe Corvo's puck to set up a goal in Game 3. Simply put, the Devils forwards need to win the battle against the Carolina blue line.
Keys for the Hurricanes: Crank up the power play. Neither team has been any good with the man advantage, but if Carolina can figure out what ails them with the man advantage then it could turn the tide in the game and activate Anton Babchuk, whose offense propelled them late in the season.
Preview: Detroit Red Wings at Columbus Blue Jackets (7 p.m. EST; TV: TSN). Red Wings lead series, 2-0.
Keys for the Wings: If the matchups aren't there against the Rick Nash line -- now loaded up with Antoine Vermette and Kristian Huselius -- then Detroit needs the same kind of shutdown defense from Niklas Kronwall and Brad Stuart it received from Nicklas Lidstrom in the first two wins. And don't allow the Jackets' power play a sniff on home ice.
Keys for the Blue Jackets: Don't allow the massive crowd at the franchise's first home playoff game make for anxious moments; and find some kind of offense from a lineup that has exactly one goal and one assist in two games.
Preview: Vancouver Canucks at St. Louis Blues (8 p.m. EST; TV: CBC, VS). Canucks lead series, 3-0.
Keys for the Canucks: To paraphrase Mortal Kombat: FINISH THEM. No need to give a Cinderella team a glimmer of hope; that's how Game 6's back in their building are born. Vancouver's been the better team in all facets; shutting down the Blues' power play again would seem essential. Mats Sundin could be back for Vancouver in the what might be the clincher.
Keys for the Blues: Playing with some pride. And finding Doc Brown and a DeLorean so we can unpick them.
Meanwhile, in the rest of creation ...
• Why the New York Rangers should bench Sean Avery. Look, here's the thing: Avery was great in Game 1, so-so in Game 2 and atrocious in Game 3. The Washington Capitals were atrocious in Game 1, so-so in Game 2 and awesome in Game 3. So isn't the answer to hope that Avery just plays, you know, better? [Blueshirt Banter]
• The AHL Philadelphia Phantoms are getting super close to relocating to Glens Falls, NY. [Capital News 9]
• Minnesota Wild All-Star goalie Niklas Backstrom will have hip surgery. Well, it's not like he's entering the first year of a gigantic new contract or any ... wait, what? [AP]
• A rather humorous plea for Doug MacLean to take over the Wild as GM. [Mudcrutch]
• Bob Gainey urges Montreal Canadiens to not boo the U.S. national anthem before Game 4. We figured he'd actually encourage it, so the fans are nice and hoarse by the time either Price or Halak give up their third softie of the night en route to a sweep. [National Post]
• Oh, and if you're one of those people that looks for harbingers of doom for teams on the brink of elimination, you may want to take a gander at the eight players who showed up for Habs practice today. Ouch. [Stanley Cup of Chowder]
• Why we must band together and stop Pierre McGuire. This is a monster idea. [Puck The Media]
• We've covered this issue before on PD, and it's a good one: How the decline of newspaper could affect hockey coverage going forward. [Raw Charge]
• If you're someone who believes NBC should be punished for pissing all over the new big-screen party fan tradition for the Pittsburgh Penguins, The Pensblog has all the fodder you'll need. [TPB]
• For the stat-heads: Is rebound control an overrated stat for goalies? Because the Montreal Canadiens disagree ... [Brodeur is a Fraud, via On The Forecheck]
• Finally, Puck Buddy Emily sends over this unofficial San Jose Sharks playoff anthem, sung to the tune of the New Radicals' "You Get What You Give." Song kicks in at the 23-second mark. One dance left, indeed. Click the image for the song.