Here are your Evening Puck Headlines and Previews: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.
Preview: Boston Bruins at Carolina Hurricanes (7:30 p.m. EST; TV: VS, TSN). Hurricanes lead series, 2-1.
Keys for the Bruins: First off, Shane Hnidy's(notes) in for Andrew Ference(notes) tonight. To hear the Bruins explain it, they need to find a reason to care about Carolina. WEEI's Big Bad Blog reported that Boston had a series of players-only meetings on Thursday in order to figure out why they've been emotionally disconnected in the series in comparison to Round 1. Said Mark Recchi(notes): "We've been sleeping ... To say the least. I think we understand that now." Boston has too many grinders to imagine that they can't put a bit more pressure on the Carolina defense. Win the turnover battle; that's huge. And Zdeno Chara(notes) needs to be a difference-maker in a way he hasn't been.
Keys for the Hurricanes: No Ryan Bayda(notes) tonight for the Canes, via NHL.com. Continue to use Joni Pitkanen(notes) and Joe Corvo's(notes) pairings for the matchups Carolina wants. Hope that the line of Jussi Jokinen(notes), Tuomo Ruutu(notes) and Sergei Samsonov(notes) contributes quality minutes again, taking some of the pressure off the Eric Staal(notes) line. Continue the penalty killing mastery they've shown not only in this series but throughout the postseason. And remember that every victory means another Carolina hockey-basher gets a rhetorical kick the berries.
Preview: Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins (7 p.m. EST; TV: VS, CBC). Capitals lead series, 2-1.
Keys for the Capitals: Tarik El-Bashir of the Post reports Alexander Semin(notes) could be a little banged up, as he's been skipping practice. A scrappy forward named Jay Beagle(notes) is up from Hershey, which means there could be some line shakeups. Obviously, puck possession is going to be a huge key; for all the carping about penalties called or not called in Game 3, the bottom line is that it's hard to draw penalties when you're playing most of the final two periods on your heels. The Capitals need to go hard to the net, earn their calls. And a fast start would be advisable, as ice conditions are a factor after a Dane Cook concert last night. (Japers: Game 4 is "likely to be a third-consecutive unfunny night at The Igloo (zing!)."
The top sports headlines of the day
Keys for the Penguins: Put giant cardboard cutouts of Evgeni Malkin's(notes) parents in every section of the lower bowl to motivate him again. Own the Capitals' zone with forechecking and containment again; the Rangers did it too, and the Washington offense just can't counterpunch when it's working double-time defensively. The Penguins have been talking about crowding Simeon Varlamov(notes); one look at that Bill Guerin(notes) screen from Game 3 shows you how that's going to work. And does having Game 5 in DC on Saturday night change anything in the approach for these teams?
Meanwhile, in the rest of creation ...
• Ted Leonsis: "Yanni concert takes precedence over high quality NHL playoff hockey." [AP]
• Our favorite NHL.com celebrity blogger Jessica Rose breaks down Game 4 between the Detroit Red Wings and her Anaheim Ducks: "We just need to play much harder than we've been playing these first two periods. Come on Ducks!" [NHL]
• Kudos to Jeff Klein for acknowledging the hilarious of irony of his article on Jonas Hiller(notes) stonewalling the competition that ran on the day he was shelled by the Wings. [Slap Shot]
• Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski(notes), center Kris Draper(notes) and winger Tomas Kopecky(notes) are all out for Sunday's game against the Ducks. The Chief relays that Justin Abdelkader(notes) is in. We're pretty sure there needs to be a few extra D's in that name. [A2Y]
• The chances of Canadian hockey fans boycotting the NHL are about as good as Kiefer Sutherland boycotting booze-fueled rage. [THN]
• As yes, the true hallmark of men in suits fighting over hundreds of millions: Hamilton has a "mystery suitor" from the NHL. Sure. [Hamilton Spectator]
• The loss of the Coyotes would mean pretty bad things for the Glendale entertainment complex. [AZ Republic]
• Mike Chen asks some questions of Jim Balsillie's people about his bid to move the Phoenix Coyotes to Canada; gets the expected canned answers from the Make It Seven! movement. [Chen]
• Meanwhile, the timing of the bid is once against taking a hit: "If this jerk Balsillie was any real hockey fan, as he claims, he'd wait to make a bid on any team if the team came up available, and not cause a distraction to the league during the playoffs." [Bleacher Report]
• As Wayne Gretzky's silence on the Coyotes' relocation remains deafening, wondering what The Great One will eventually decide to do if the team moves to Ontario. [Globe & Mail]
• Former Montreal Canadiens coach Jacques Demers offered a player-by-player look at how he'd approach the offseason; Habs Eyes on the Prize takes a look at his looks. [Eyes on the Prize]
• Derek Roy(notes) of the Buffalo Sabres helps send Canada to the gold medal game at worlds. [NHL]
• A power-play goal with less than two-minutes left gives Russia a 3-2 victory over the U.S. at worlds. Coach Ron Wilson said the team came for a medal and intends to win the bronze. Settling for third place? You can take the coach out of San Jose, but you can't ... [AP]
• Finally, the lovely Heidi Androl speaks with super-producer Jerry Bruckheimer about being a Detroit hockey fan, Pens/Caps and maybe making a hockey movie down the line.