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Stanley Cup Playoff Storylines: Now It's Getting Serious

The Florida Panthers and New York Rangers are hoping to avoid going down 3-0 in their second-round playoff series', while Calgary and Edmonton are both looking for a stable 60-minute effort. Get ready for Sunday's Stanley Cup playoff battles.
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The Florida Panthers and New York Rangers are hoping to avoid going down 3-0 in their second-round playoff series', while Calgary and Edmonton are both looking for a stable 60-minute effort. 

Get ready for Sunday's Stanley Cup playoff battles:

Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Managing an unusual back-to-back

It's extremely rare in a non-COVID-19 impacted schedule for a back-to-back in the post-season. Blame a Kane Brown concert on Saturday at Amalie Arena for making this a thing.

Florida and Tampa Bay will start a back-to-back on Sunday, the only one scheduled in the second round. During the regular season, it's a normal occurrence throughout the season. But in the playoffs, it presents new challenges. Teams will typically use a different goalie between the games, switch out a player or two and shake things up to keep everyone fresh.

Luckily, neither team needs to travel, so that's not an issue. So, really, it's about not wearing yourself out too much today and saving yourself for a quick jump on Monday -- but if you're the Florida Panthers, there's truly no room for error right now.

New York Rangers vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Where is New York's offense?

This, uh, is a pretty easy one. Through two games, the Rangers have scored just one goal, with Filip Chytil grabbing one in Game 1. It's been deuces for everyone else, and against a Hurricanes team that can suffocate you at all ends of the ice, that's killer. 

Igor Shesterkin has looked good for the Rangers and has been the main reason why this series hasn't been full of blowouts. But the focus all playoff long has been giving Shesterkin some goal support, which, against Pittsburgh, was easier said than done some nights.

New York's best response would be to get goals from Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad to spark the group and show they're serious about a Cup run this year. Obviously, easier said than done, but the Rangers are in must-win territory at Madison Square Garden over the next two games.

Calgary Flames vs. Edmonton OIlers

Calgary needs to lock their doors

Two games, two blown leads. That's the story for the Calgary Flames, who now sit 1-1 heading to Rogers Place in Edmonton.

They at least got the first win in that wild 9-6 Game 1, but the last thing you should be doing is giving Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl the time and space to do what they do best when they're down by a few goals. 

Calgary's smothering defense was a big factor in winning Game 7 against Dallas and, by all accounts, should be able to contain Edmonton, for the most part. But they haven't, and the Flames lost the valuable edge they had after the first half of Game 2.

Edmonton's slow starts have crushed them, forcing them to have to play harder than they should. If the Oilers start strong, and make the Flames chase, can Calgary overcome that? 

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