NHL Playoffs Open Thread: Friday, April 25th

What will Dan Carcillo come up with next?

SB Nation 2014 NHL Playoff Bracket

"The Montreal Canadiens are into their third day of no hockey. Meanwhile, Game 4 between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers begins tonight. NHL scheduling!" -Joseph

Quick story: Joseph had to work last minute so he pretty much wrote one half of a joke that is probably less funny than mine (which is really saying something) and I've inherited the formatting from him. Cool, right?

Also, when you have a roommate who is as addicted to his iPhone as mine is, definitely don't call him out on it because it'll bite you back at some point. I learned this the hard way when I called him out on it at 3:00pm (he had it in bed with him until about 4pm) and he pointed to me watching NHL highlights of the Kings-Sharks game from last night.

Anyway, long story short, it's always funny when a team wins game four to avoid getting swept into the night (or day) and injects the slightest little sliver of hope into the fanbase only to eventually get disappointed. I'm not saying the Kings are not going to come back, but the Sharks are just something else.

Kudos to Ryan Miller for crapping the bed and letting in softies every game against the Blackhawks, thank you Marc-Andre Fleury for making the free agent goaltending market for this summer 1000x more interesting, and even more props go out to every western conference team for actually playing entertaining playoff hockey unlike the eastern conference.

Here are tonight's matchups:

New York Rangers at Philadelphia Flyers: 7:00pm (Series 2-1 NYR)

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SB Nation Blogs

Rangers: Blueshirt Banter
Flyers: Broad Street Hockey

The Matchup

The rivalry that goes along I-95 between New York and Philly is a strong one, but in this case I call it the battle of the moronic GMs. From Scott Gomez and Wade Redden to Ilya Bryzgalov and Andrew MacDonald (that contract will suck, but there are worse ones on the books), Glen Sather and Paul Holmgren are two men who shouldn't have jobs, yet they still do.

The Rangers came off of a pretty dominant game three and got scoring from friends in low places. They're moving the puck effectively and playing a balanced game, which is all you can ask for at this time of the year.

At the same time, the Flyers are getting Steve Mason back in goal (an upgrade?) tonight for the first time since his injury against Pittsburgh late in the regular season. It's a must-win for Philly because other than in game two, historically they have had extensive misfortune at Madsion Square Garden.

Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues: 8:00pm (Series Tied 2-2)

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SB Nation Blogs

Blackhawks: Second City Hockey
Blues: St. Louis Game Time

The Matchup

While St. Louis squeaked by in games one and two, they never actually had a lead until the third period of game 4 when Vladimir Tarasenko scored on Corey Crawford with about seven minutes to go in the third period. They would blow that lead four minutes later and ultimately lose in overtime on a wrister by Patrick Kane. Was that his first playoff overtime game-winner?

I love Ryan Miller as a goaltender. I really do. But he cannot continue to give up questionable goals and then shut the door for the rest of the game. The Blues brought him in to be better than Jaroslav Halak, yet they have gotten worse results in reality. He has to be better and almost perfect if the St. Louis wants to win. Chicago didn't get much scoring from its forwards in the first few games, though they seem to have woken up. That doesn't bode well for the Blues at all, nor does the fact that David Backes is probably done for the series thanks to the hit from Brent Seabrook.

The Blackhawks have the edge here. Win tonight and they can win on home ice. Lose tonight and they can tie on home ice with a plausible game 7. It's been a fun and entertaining series, though something has to give.

Dallas Stars at Anaheim Ducks: 10:30pm (Series Tied 2-2)

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SB Nation Blogs

Stars: Defending Big D
Ducks: Anaheim Calling

The Matchup

Here we are one full season after the Wings pulled off an upset against the Ducks and Anaheim still hasn't been able to get through the first round without a sizable scare.

Dallas has given Anaheim quite more than it can handle. They played extremely well in both of the opening two games despite going down early on, but once the series shifted back to Dallas, the Stars turned the jets on and didn't look back. Jamie Benn has been exceptional and dangerous, though he suffered a bit of a setback in his leg back in game four after scoring a goal. At the same time, the Ducks played game four without Ryan Getzlaf, who will be playing tonight along with the now re-inserted Teemu Selanne.

As always, keep it clean, play nice, and have fun. Hopefully some of you are actually going out to watch these games, but in any case, hockey on TV is hockey on TV.