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Stanley Cup Playoff Storylines: May 5, 2022

Pittsburgh's goalie situation is getting interesting, Florida needs to shake off the nerves, the Predators are in a tough spot early and the Stars need to wake up the offense. The fourth day of the Stanley Cup playoffs are going to be a doozy.
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Pittsburgh's goalie situation is getting interesting, Florida needs to shake off the nerves, the Predators are in a tough spot early and the Stars need to wake up the offense. 

The fourth day of the Stanley Cup playoffs are going to be a doozy. Here's your look at the action ahead:

New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Game 1 was fun, but can Louis Domingue get the job done again?

One of the best storylines in the early days of the post-season was seeing Louis Domingue come in relief of Casey DeSmith five periods into Game 1. That was great, and he ended up pulling off the win, but can he do it again?

Domingue has never started a playoff game in his career, and his first is coming against a goalie that's expected to win the Vezina Trophy. That's a lot of pressure for any goalie, but look at how DeSmith played in Game 1 after being forced to start with Tristan Jarry out of the picture. Sometimes, you don't know what you don't know when it comes to playoff experience.

Domingue will need to have a strong outing to take away any chances from the New York Rangers. The Penguins might have the early leg up, but the Rangers are the higher-seeded team, and one you don't want to mess with.

Washington Capitals vs. Florida Panthers

Can Florida shake off the nerves?

Winning the Presidents' Trophy has typically been a death sentence for Stanley Cup hopes, but the Panthers -- who won it for the first time this year -- are hoping to change that. Game 1 didn't go to plan, but thankfully for them, it's still early days.

The Panthers didn't look like their usual self, which typically includes beating teams with speed and skill and showing confidence with and without the puck. They allowed the Capitals to take control, and when the core nucleus includes Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom, that's asking for trouble.

The Panthers are a great hockey team, and it's time to show that with a good response. They need to revert to what made them successful all season long and force the older, more experienced Capitals lineup to chase them instead.

Nashville Predators vs. Colorado Avalanche

Do the Preds have anything for the Avalanche?

When your goalie is as important to your playoffs hopes as Juuse Saros was in Nashville, losing him for an undetermined time can put you in a black hole of sorts. And that was obvious in a 7-2 loss in Game 1, where the Avs put up five goals in the first period and chased David Rittich in the process.

There's a clear talent disparity here, and nobody expected it to be close. But the fact that Game 1 was such a blowout had to be a huge gut-punch for a Predators team featuring one of the best defensemen in the world and a renewed offensive punch.

Nashville can't keep up with the skill, so they'll need to play total lockdown defense and get some lucky bounces along the way. The issue? Nashville has Josi, but the Avalanche has Makar. That's not exactly one you want to deal with.

Calgary Flames vs. Dallas Stars

Will Dallas get the offense it needs?

It's hard to win games 1-0, but that's what Calgary did in a tight-knit opener. And if you're the Dallas Stars, you can't let that happen again.

The Stars took just 16 shots and went 0-for-5 on the power play, with just three shots in the third period. Dallas did a good job of shutting down Calgary's biggest offensive threats, even with John Klingberg out of the lineup for most of the game after getting ejected in the first period. Jake Oettinger was, as expected, a shining point for the Stars.

This is the type of game Joe Pavelski was born for. He's a solid playoff performer, and after the season he has had, he needs a big Game 2. Same goes for Jason Robertson, Tyler Seguin and Roope Hintz -- Calgary can match you in just about every category, so you need to force them to chase you instead.   

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