Montreal Canadiens at Boston Bruins
Game 1: 7:00 Thursday
Notes: In three playoff runs under coach Claude Julien, the Bruins have been knocked out each time in Game 7… Talk about even, Boston and Montreal both registered 207 shots in six regular season meetings… Montreal won the series with four wins, but Boston outscored the Habs 22-20… Montreal was one of three teams (Vancouver, Tampa Bay) to finish top 10 in both PK and PP… Boston was one of just two playoff teams (Phoenix) to finish in the bottom half of the league in both PP and PK… Carey Price has lost eight straight playoff games… Memorial Cup MVP Milan Lucic plays best when his team need it most: he has three goals in three NHL Game 7 appearances.
Quote worthy: "He's one of our best players so I assume he would be - I'd be disappointed if he wasn't. You go after their best players, they're going to go after ours. That's the name of the game. That's the playoffs. That's why it's fun." - Montreal defenseman Hal Gill on if partner P.K. Subban will be targeted by the Bruins.
What they’re saying in Boston: Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe writes Julien has to win eight games during this run or else his job is in jeopardy.
What they’re saying in Montreal: Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette writes that only a strong playoff will redeem Scott Gomez’s atrocious season.
Poll:Who will win Game 1?
Buffalo Sabres at Philadelphia Flyers
Game 1: 7:30 Thursday
Notes: Flyers captain Mike Richards did not practice with the team Wednesday, saying he had a head cold… Danny Briere was one of the three game stars in three of four meetings with Buffalo this season… In their four meetings this season, the team that scored first lost every game… Philadelphia’s 13 shorthanded goals are tied with Pittsburgh for the most this season amongst playoff teams… Buffalo had the most points of any team in their final 10 games this season (17)… Through 14 games this season, Buffalo was last place in the NHL with a 3-9-2 record… Andrej Sekera missed the final two games of the regular season to injury, but it probable for Game 1… Chris Pronger, who hasn’t played since March 8 with a broken right hand, is expected to miss Game 1.
Quote worthy: "Ryan is as fresh as he's ever been for a post-season, with only a couple periods of play in the last couple weeks and four days before we start a series. He should be as strong as he's ever been." - Sabres coach Lindy Ruff on Ryan Miller’s fatigue factor.
What they’re saying in Buffalo: John Vogl of the Buffalo News writes that the Sabres are preparing for Philadelphia’s inevitable odd-man rushes.
What they’re saying in Philadelphia: Marcus Hayes of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes how Claude Giroux will be a target of Buffalo’s.
Poll: Who will win Game 1?
Los Angeles Kings at San Jose Sharks
Game 1: 10:00 Thursday
Notes: Despite their slow start, the Sharks registered the most shots and lowest penalty minutes per game in franchise history… The Sharks had seven 20-plus goal scorers this season, but no one else reached 10… Antti Niemi was named the Sharks’ player of the year by the team… Jonathan Quick became the first Kings goalie to register back-to-back 30-win seasons… Joe Thornton led the league in takeaways (114)… Los Angeles’ Justin Williams has missed the past nine games with a shoulder injury, but is expected to play in Game 1… L.A.’s penalty kill ranked fourth on the season, while San Jose’s power play ranked second.
Quote worthy: “A team that's tough in every aspect is very intimidating to play. We're a heavy team that has a lot of guys who can take care of themselves." - San Jose’s Scott Nichol on the new and gritty Sharks squad.
What they’re saying in San Jose: Mark Emmons of the San Jose Mercury News writes San Jose’s new-found grit will be the difference in this series.
What they’re saying in Los Angeles: J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles Daily News writes this matchup will be an uneasy one for the Kings, who are missing their leading scorer, Anze Kopitar.
Poll:Who will win Game 1?
The NHL Game Day Preview will appear each day throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs to prepare you for the action ahead.