Tampa Bay vs. Montreal, 7 PM -- USA, CBC (English), TVA Sports (French)
It's true that the Habs are down two games in the series, but there's something about this team that inspires fans to passion. One Canadiens fan sees little to be happy about, and commented on today's game preview:
However, a different fan has pointed out that there are still a lot of reasons to hope:
All told, those final three games [of the regular season] encapsulated what this team has. Character. And in that room, they're brothers. They care about each other and play for each other, and yes, their coach. They scored 12 goals in three games after losing Pacioretty. And without relying on their goalie to bail them out.
Which team will show up tonight?
Morale on the Lightning bench is pretty determined. Although the team has often come back from a big emotional win to completely (what's the right phrase here) crap the bed, everyone in the room is aware of this propensity and wants to fight it.
My favorite Lightning beat writer, Andrew Astleford, put it very succinctly:
This presents a different sort of test for Tampa Bay, though. The Lightning proved capable of rising to meet all the heat faced against the Red Wings. They showed they could crack Petr Mrazek. They showed they could overcome their offensive woes that led to a pair of shutout losses in the series. They showed they could take two consecutive games to close what had been a series filled with wild momentum swings. They grew as a result of it all.
Now they must display enough maturity to handle success. They've talked a solid game, with Cooper saying that they've proven nothing with a mere two victories. But their actions will speak loudest of all. This is the responsibility that comes with comfort.
In short, Lightnings, please destroy the Habs in four. [These opinions in no way reflect those of the site in general or Elseldo in particular. - Acha]
NY Rangers vs. Washington Capitals, 7:30 PM -- NBCSN, SN (English) and TVA2 (French)
The mood is much lighter over in Washington. Instead of spouting rhetoric about determination, the Capitals are all about doing the booty dance of victory over the bodies of fallen Rangers. I comprehend this feeling, and would probably do the same if the Bolts ever got so lucky as to meet the Rangers again.
Russian Machine Never Breaks reports that some guy made a video entitled "Too Many Caps" that is a total parody of this other parody video that... oh, just go watch. And when the Rangers woke up the morning after their 1-0 shutout by Braden Holtby, they discovered that their Wikipedia page had been entirely "Capitalized."
In New York, everything is sad and terrible. There are bigger problems than Rick Nash, warns Blueshirt Banter. The New York Rangers Have to be Better. With Mats Zuccarello injured, the Rangers only have a few options in their quest to create more offense, says The Score.
But honestly, in a duel between two excellent goaltenders, may the best beard win: