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NHL Playoffs Scoreboard Watch: Bizarro Dopplegänger Edition

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What is this crazy alternate hockey realm we've entered where bad teams keep winning?

Derek Leung/Getty Images

I don't even know what's real anymore.  With all the news from the past few days and assessments coming in on how the Red Wings performed this season and expectations for the offseason, a break from our own team's issues should be a welcomed thing.  But...

LAST NIGHT'S RECAP

WHY DO THE BAD TEAMS KEEP WINNING?  The Penguins dominated the Rangers yesterday to close out their series with a 6-3 win.  The Rangers never had a chance in this one, and one of the players we hate the most gets to move on to the second round.  The Blackhawks pulled the same score on the Blues, after St. Louis lead that game 3-1.  I mean, I suppose you never really should expect good things from the Blues in the post-season, but... ugh, so much hatred for the entire Blackhawks franchise and fanbase...  Additionally, the Ducks topped the Predators to take a 3-2 series lead in the "Why Won't You Both Just Go Away" series.  Yesterday could not have been more infuriating.

TONIGHT'S ACTION

Match-Up #1:  Washington Capitals at Philadelphia Flyers (Game 6), 12:00PM EDT - NBC

Remember, you can't spell "collapse" without C-A-P-S.  The entire Red Wings team must have gone to DC to see how a real powerplay is run, sneezed on Ovie, and now the Capitals have the same snakebit luck that we've had for years.  Washington threw everything, including the kitchen sink, several stray cats, a frisbee, two pumpkins, and three members of Congress, at Neuvirth.  They still came up empty handed, not even one goal to show for it.  Philly has a hot goalie, and that's a frightening thing in the post-season.  At this point, there's no counting anyone out of this series.

Projected Line-Ups
Washington Capitals

Alex Ovechkin Nicklas Backstrom T.J. Oshie
Andre Burakovsky Evgeny Kuznetsov Justin Williams
Jason Chimera Mike Richards Marcus Johansson
Daniel Winnik Jay Beagle Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner Matt Niskanen
Nate Schmidt John Carlson
Dmitri Orlov Taylor Chorney
Braden Holtby (starting)
Philipp Grubauer
Philadelphia Flyers

Brayden Schenn Claude Giroux Wayne Simmonds
Jakub Voracek Michael Raffl Sam Gagner
Colin McDonald Nick Cousins Matt Read
Chris VandeVelde Pierre-Edouard Bellemare Ryan White
Nick Schultz Mark Streit
Andrew MacDonald Shayne Gostisbehere
Brandon Manning Radko Gudas
Michal Neuvirth (starting)
Steve Mason (hot-dog water)

Why You Care Enough To Watch: You're going to hate-watch this one.  Washington should have closed this out in 4, but Philly keeps finding ways to hang on.  If the Hockey Gods are just, they will deliver a painful death to the Flyers' season today.  Then again, if they were just, they would have let Pavel lift one more Cup this offseason.  If the Caps lose this one, I'm becoming a Hockey Athiest.  And also laughing uncontrollably at how hard hockey fails in Washington.

Match-Up #2:  Dallas Stars at Minnesota Wild (Game 6), 3:00PM EDT - NBC

We all knew that Dallas isn't the most complete team in the post-season, but WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?  Minnesota has managed to take 2 games in this series, and could take a third today if Dallas can't figure out how to score 7 goals per game again.  The combination of Lehtonen and Niemi might be the worst goalie tandem in the league, so don't expect any help from the Dallas net to close this series out.  I'm starting to think that if the Stars are going to let a team as bad as the Wild back into this series, maybe they don't deserve to make the 2nd round...

Projected Line-Ups
Dallas Stars

Jamie Benn Cody Eakin Patrick Sharp
Mattias Janmark Jason Spezza Valeri Nichushkin
Antoine Roussel Radek Faksa Ales Hemsky
Colton Sceviour Vernon Fiddler Patrick Eaves
Alex Goligoski John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya Stephen Johns
Kris Russell Jason Demers
Antti Niemi (starting maybe?)
Kari Lehtonen (honestly it doesn't really matter)
Minnesota Wild

Mikael Granlund Mikko Koivu David Jones
Jason Zucker Charlie Coyle Jordan Schroeder
Nino Niederreiter Erik Haula Jason Pominville
Chris Porter Jarret Stoll Kurtis Gabriel
Ryan Suter Jared Spurgeon
Marco Scandella Nate Prosser
Jonas Brodin Mathew Dumba
Devan Dubnyk (starting)
Darcy Kuemper

Why You Care Enough To Watch: Yes, we got dominated in our series... and that hurts to admit.  But you know what's even more painful?  Being the top team in your division and getting rocked by a truly bad wild-card team.  I can't advocate cheering for the Wild, because nobody should ever support something this terrible.  BUT, drinking the tears of crushed Dallas fans seems to have a certain appeal to it.

Match-Up #3:  Florida Panthers at New York Islanders (Game 6), 7:00PM EDT - NBCSN, MSG+, SUN

Unpredictability continues to be the norm in this series.  The Islanders took the series lead in Game 5, but both teams have won both at home and away in this one, so Game 6 in New York is in no way a sure thing for the Islanders.  Both teams have been playing at break-neck speeds in this series, which makes for really entertaining viewing.

Projected Line-Ups
Florida Panthers

Jonathan Huberdeau Aleksander Barkov Jaromir Jagr
Jussi Jokinen Nick Bjugstad Reilly Smith
Jiri Hudler Greg McKegg Teddy Purcell
Garrett Wilson Derek MacKenzie Logan Shaw
Michael Matheson Aaron Ekblad
Dmitry Kulikov Erik Gudbranson
Brian Campbell Alex Petrovic
Roberto Luongo (starting)
Al Montoya
New York Islanders

Frans Nielsen John Tavares Kyle Okposo
Nikolay Kulemin Brock Nelson Josh Bailey
Shane Prince Alan Quine Ryan Strome
Matt Martin Casey Cizikas Cal Clutterbuck
Nick Leddy Travis Hamonic
Thomas Hickey Johnny Boychuk
Calvin de Haan Marek Zidlicky
Thomas Greiss (starting)
Jean-Francois Berube

Why You Care Enough To Watch: This one has been fun to watch from the get-go.  Both teams make enough mistakes to be in genuine trouble from better squads, but luckily they're facing each other and they can sometimes get away with some riskier stuff.  It makes for a really exciting brand of hockey that hasn't been seen much lately.  Without having a clear favorite on either side, watch this one from the edge of your seat.

#13