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Tonight should be another great night of NHL playoff hockey, with some big games going on in the East.

Thrashers @ Rangers, GM 3, Rangers lead 2-0
The New York Rangers are looking to take a commanding three games to none lead over the Thrashers as they return home tonight.The Blue shirts took away home ice from Atlanta by winning a pair of one goal games, 4-3, and 2-1.
The X-Factor

Sean Avery, as much as people hate him, has been a huge difference in this series. Avery got lucky on an odd bounce and scored the opening goal in game two, and he also assisted on the winner. What he really has been doing is taking th Thrashers stars off their game. With his trash talknig and antics, he has limited the roles of the former Blue Keith Tkachuk, who took penalties late in the game for attacking Avery. Kieth did assist on Kovalchek's goal, but he needs to focus on helping the Thrashers win and keep him temper.
The Moose is loose

Johan Hedberg, The Moose, was great in game two for the Thrashers. Despite being the backup and only playing 16 games this year, The Moose stepped in and showed some flashes of his amazing playoff run with the Penguins years ago. Hedberg stopped 37 shots, and really only gave up one legit goal as Avery's was just an awful bounce. Expect him to start tonight and he will have to be good again as the Thrashers still look for their first franchise playoff win.
Prediction
The Rangers have won eight of their last nine home games, and expect the team to add another win tonight. I think we will have another one goal game, but the Rangers will prevail in front of the home crowd. Lundquist will have to be on his game, as will Hedberg, but I think the Rangers squeak this one out. Shanny will be big again for the Rangers.

Ottawa @ Pittsburgh, GM 4, Ottawa leads 2-1
After dropping game three in front of their home crowd, the Penguins will look to respond tonight with a series tying victory. Marc-Andre Fluery will need to respond from a shaky game three as he will battle Ray Emery, who only saw 17 shots in that game.
The X-Factor

Dean McAmmond is not noted for his scoring touch. A guy noted for his speed and hard work, McAmmond was a fourth line hero in game three as the posted a goal and an assist in the 4-2 win in game three. He had a "Gordie Howe Hat Trick" as he also stood up for his teammates when he got in a fight to defend Patrick Eaves, who was injured by the hit of Colby Armstrong. Eaves will not play tonight.
For teams to succeed in the playoffs, they need guys who don't get a lot of ice time to perform at their highest level when they do get that occasional shift. McAmmond is doing that and hopes to help Ottawa push the Penguins backs against the wall.
PENGUINS-SHOOT THE PUCK!

Pittsburgh only fired 17 shots on Ray Emery in game three. Gary Roberts scored early and Crosby scored on a nice play later, butteh Penguins need to fire more pucks on the young netminder and test him. The team just needs to put the puck on the net and crash for rebounds instead of trying to be too fancy.
Prediction
I think the Penguins come out firing on all cylinders. Crosby and Stall will be big and Ryan Malone will play a large part. Marc-Andre Fluery will bounce back and play large in front of the Penguins faithful, as Pittsburgh will tie the series
Filed Under:   Crosby   Senators   Penguins   Thrashers   Rangers   Avery  
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