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Stanley Cup Playoff Storylines: May 11, 2022

One series is on the ropes, while two others are still completely wide open. Get ready for what should be an excellent day of action in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

One series is on the ropes, while two others are still completely wide open. Get ready for what should be an excellent day of action in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers

How do the Rangers answer back and force an extension?

With injuries hitting every position in the Penguins lineup, and with the Rangers boasting the league's top goalie, a star defender and a stout offensive group, this should have been a 3-1 series advantage for New York.

Instead, Pittsburgh has fought tooth and nail to earn three wins and push the Rangers to the brink of elimination heading back to Madison Square Garden. New York's defense has been shaky, and Igor Shesterkin can't do it all himself.

Sidney Crosby and Co. deserve to be in this spot the way the Penguins have played. But the Rangers are too good of a team to just roll over as they have in this series. Expect a fighting attitude and a team determined to kick its contention window off on the right track.

Washington Capitals vs. Florida Panthers

Capitals offense needs to rebound

Looking at the regular season results, this series was quite lopsided. But here we are, heading into Game 5, with a split series, with both teams winning a blowout each. For the Capitals, they're back to being the underdogs again, and going back to Florida to play a team fresh off of an energizing overtime win will take scoring by committee. 

The Caps have 13 goals through four games but struggled to generate much in Game 4. Washington's defense has stepped up, and the goaltending has done a decent enough job outside of Game 3. But going up against the Presidents' Trophy winners, the Caps will need a bit extra to edge above.

Dallas Stars vs. Calgary Flames

Will Jake Oettinger stand on his head again?

The theme heading into Game 4 was getting the team's top scorers to contribute more offensively. So, Johnny Gaudreau had two points, Elias Lindholm had a goal and Matthew Tkachuk and Tyler Toffoli both grabbed points.

That was a nice change for the Flames, but they can't stop. Dallas' defensive play has been too strong and Jake Oettinger was huge with 50 stops. Oettinger is Dallas' key to winning this series because for how good the Stars have played, Calgary is a team with far too much talent to roll over like they did in their two losses.

At 5-on-5, Oettinger's .969 save percentage is good for second to, of all goalies, Calgary's Jacob Markstrom. His goals saved above average, however, is 4.43, good for first, while also holding the top spot in the high-danger save percentage category. Markstrom has been fantastic for Calgary, as expected, but Oettinger's play has been a huge reason why this lopsided series on paper hasn't been so one-sided.



Can the Rangers Weather the Hurricanes?

The star-caliber players at the top of the Rangers lineup will need to be firing on all cylinders in this series in order to compensate for some lackluster depth in areas. And Igor Shesterkin needs to be the King he was in the regular season, too, to beat Carolina.

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