Monday, April 18, 2016
Afternoon Player Notes in the Playoffs (Apr 18)
There are three games going tonight and all three have some real potential of becoming very quick series, as they all are going in at 2-0 for one side or another. In two games, the home-ice favourites to start, have the opportunity to flex their muscles, while the other has claimed its own home-ice advantage and gets to operate on that premise. It has been a very interesting playoffs to start, no doubt.
In Philadelphia, the Flyers, who have been outmatched in the first two games, will try and get a lift from their hometown crowd and will likely get an emotional send-off for owner Ed Snider, who passed away recently. The Flyers will certainly need that boost tonight, as their play has been lacklustre, to say the least.
There have been questions as to who would start in net for Philly, but it does appear that Steve Mason will return to the net tonight, taking on the pool favourite, Braden Holtby.
With the series shifting to Minnesota, the Stars and Wild will renew acquaintances, with the home side down 2-0 to start the night. The Wild continue to struggle offensively in this one, without both Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek, who are not expected back any time soon. If they are going to do anything about this series deficit tonight, they will have to work on their defense, first and foremost.
It sounds like Tyler Seguin is doubtful for Game 3, offering the Wild a little less offense to play against, as he stayed behind to heal something that he "tweaked" in Game 2. There are also reports that Kris Russell is under the weather today and his participation in Game 3 is now questionable. Both would be day-to-day moving forward.
No one expects anything different in the crease, as Kari Lehtonen continues to roll for Dallas and Devan Dubnyk will be leaned upon again.
In the possible upset series of the night, the San Jose Sharks return to the Shark Tank with a 2-0 lead over the Los Angeles Kings, but they will have to contend with the playoffs' worst home record in the regular season and a pretty good road record coming to visit. No, San Jose hasn't dominated at home this season, but you have to think that those records don't really matter, rather that they should be pretty pumped and ready to go, trying to put the Kings behind the 8-ball.
It's unclear whether or not Alec Martinez will be able to return from a lower-body injury tonight for the Kings, as he blocked a shot in Game 1 and was unable to go in Game 2. He's still considered to be day-to-day.
No reason to suspect that the goalie match-up should be any different... Jonathan Quick versus Martin Jones.