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Five things to know about the NHL playoffs for May 15

Stars try to eliminate the Avalanche in NHL’s lone match-up
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There’s only one game in the NHL tonight, but it is a big one for the Big D as the Stars look to eliminate the visiting Colorado Avalanche. And it’s an off day for the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers after serving up a classic finish in Game 4 last night.

Here are five things you need to know about the NHL playoffs:

OILERS PREVAIL IN WILD FINISH

Anyone with long fingernails this morning likely didn’t watch the final period of the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 victory over the visiting Vancouver Canucks last night.

With the Oil pumping shots at the Canucks’ net and giving up little on the defensive side, it appeared the visitors were about to lose their first road game of the post-season with little resistance.

But goals by Conor Garland (6:54) and Dakota Joshua, with under two minutes left, injected all the drama lacking in the first 2 1/2 periods.

And just when it seemed like overtime was inevitable, the Canucks failed to clear the puck out of their own end and Evan Bouchard scored on a fortunate bounce with 38 seconds left to win the game.

The first-team-to-win-two-games series shifts back to Vancouver on Thursday. Canucks coach Rick Tocchet said post-game his team still has too many passengers, including some who don’t seem to understand what’s required to play or win in the playoffs.

Stay tuned.

HURRICANES WHIP UP MOMENTUM

A week ago the New York Rangers were talking about an unbeaten streak and back-to-back post-season sweeps.

A funny thing happened on the way to the rink since then.

The Carolina Hurricanes, with back-to-back wins, have trimmed their second-round deficit to 3-2 with Game 6 on Thursday at PNC Arena in Raleigh. More importantly, the ‘Canes seized some momentum and have adjusted to the tactics that helped the Rangers clinch the Presidents’ Trophy this season.

Rangers’ bench boss Peter Laviolette believes his players let their foot off the gas a bit after building a 3-0 series lead and figures they’ll be rested and ready on Thursday to prevent a Game 7 back in New York.

BRUINS BEAR DOWN, EXTEND SERIES

The Boston Bruins went “old school” last night in keeping their post-season alive.

The refuse-to-lose Bruins outhustled the Florida Panthers, hit everything that moved and leaned on goaltender Jeremy Swayman to do the rest.

Swayman made 28 saves, including a highlight reel-worthy stop on Sam Reinhart with eight seconds left on the clock.

The Bruins head home still trailing the best-of-seven series 3-2, but there’s a chance captain Brad Marchand will return to the lineup for the Game 6 tilt at TD Garden on Friday.

GRIPES ABOUT SILENT STRIPES

GM Don Sweeney of the Boston Bruins thinks it’s time to put officials in front of post-game microphones to explain themselves.

The Bruins went into Game 5 last night still steaming about a controversial goal and alleged sucker punch, both involving the Panthers’ Sam Bennett, that went in Florida’s favour.

Sweeney wonders how four on-ice officials can miss “obvious” calls and carry on as if nothing happened.

The GM says the only way teams, reporters and fans will get full access and transparency is if the men in stripes speak.

The Bruins benefited from a controversial call last night when Charlie McAvoy’s goal — which held up as the winner — was ruled not to be goalie interference after a lengthy video review and Panther protest.

STARS GAZING AT BIGGER THINGS

The Dallas Stars can advance to the Western Conference final tonight with a win at home over the inconsistent Avalanche.

But Colorado centre Nathan MacKinnon isn’t waving any white flags, despite trailing the best-of-seven series 3-1.

MacKinnon insisted his squad has the best offence in the league and believed his teammates will increase their intensity and production to extend the second-round showdown. A key, he stressed, is making Colorado’s power play a difference maker.

The Avs’ star accepted some blame for losing 5-1 in Game 4, saying the team “stunk” early and that he was just as bad.

MacKinnon, with nine points (two goals, seven assists) in the first round against the Winnipeg Jets, has only three (one goal, two assists) against the Stars.

READ ALSO: Five things to know about the NHL playoffs for May 14





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