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Open Thread Day 5: Independence Day

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Carolina Hurricanes v New York Rangers Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images

Today is the first real day filled with must win games. For one team it literally is a must win while others could fall to the brink. Today we begin finding out who will vanish without a fight and who will live on.

Here’s what’s on tap for today’s games. We’ll use this as an open thread for today’s games.

New York Islanders (7) at Florida Panthers (10)

Scotiabank Arena, Toronto

Best of 5: New York leads 2-0

Time: 12:00pm ET


Team Sites: Litter Box Cats, Lighthouse Hockey

In the lone elimination game of the day, Florida will need to find away to break the well-coached, physical defense of New York. They will also have to contend with the Islanders love of crashing the net, which has paid dividends in the first two games. Florida has talent but I am not sure they have enough to get past the Isles.

Nashville Predators (6) at Arizona Coyotes (11)

Rogers Place, Edmonton

Best of 5: Series tied 1-1

Time: 2:30pm ET


Team Sites: Five for Howling, On the Forecheck

Nashville rebounded from a pretty lackluster first game and raced out to a 4-0 lead on the way to a 4-2 win in game two yesterday. The biggest question for this game and the rest of the series is which Nashville offense do we see. Can they be as aggressive out the gate in this one as they were yesterday or did they exert too much energy avoiding the 2-0 hole. Neither team is particularly all that deep up front and has good talent on the blue line/in goal, so it likely will come down to which teams few stars shines brightest.

Tampa Bay Lightning (1-0-0) at Boston Bruins (0-1-0)

Scotiabank Arena, Toronto

Time: 4:00pm ET


Team Sites: Stanley Cup of Chowder, Raw Charge

Probably the game Red Wings fans in general care the least about (or most if you want to see two rivals going at each other). For Tampa, they will again be without Steven Stamkos as he is still trying to come back from injury but will look to win their second of three round robin games and put the regular season Eastern Conference leader Boston Bruins at the bottom of the round robin standings with one game to go. The good news for Boston is Tukka Rask is expected to be in net this afternoon. This could be a preview of a series down the road as well.

Colorado Avalanche (1-0-0) at Dallas Stars (0-1-0)

Rogers Place, Edmonton

Time: 6:30pm ET


Team Sites: Defending Big D, Mile High Hockey

Colorado comes into game two of the Western Conference round robin games flying high on the heels of win over defending Stanley Cup Champions St. Louis via a last millisecond goal from Nazem Kadri. Dallas comes in looking to right the ship a little after giving up four goals in the third period to Vegas two nights ago to turn a 3-1 lead into a 5-3 loss. Dallas had a hard time with Vegas’ speed in the third period of their game, and Colorado arguably has even more speed.

Pittsburgh Penguins (5) at Montreal Canadiens (12)

Scotiabank Arena, Toronto

Best of 5: Series tied 1-1

Time: 8:00pm ET


Team Sites: Habs Eyes on the Prize, Pensburgh

After a disappointing overtime loss in game one, Matt Murray and the Pittsburgh Penguins rebounded in game two to tie the series at one a piece. The question for this one is will Montreal be able to find that next gear to answer the Penguins or will the loss in game two spell midnight for the Canadiens.

Edmonton Oilers (5) at Chicago Blackhawks (12)

Rogers Place, Edmonton

Best of 5: Series tied 1-1

Time: 10:30pm ET


Team Sites: Second City Hockey, Copper & Blue

The Edmonton McDavid’s also rebounded nicely in game two after a disappointing showing in game one, lead of course by the best player on the planet Connor McDavid’s first career playoff hat trick. Offense has not really been Edmonton’s issue though. It has been their goaltending, and while Mikko Koskinen did better in game two than Mike Smith did in game one, they will need more from their goalies going forward. Their skill up front might be enough on paper to out score Chicago, but the Blackhawks have a ton of winning playoff experience on their side and enough scoring of their own to compete with the Oilers if they do not shore up their back end.