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Pregame skate: another top seed faces elimination

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer
RangersSenators7 ET, New York at Ottawa: We've already seen one top seed go down in these playoffs, and we're one game away from seeing another. The New York Rangers head into Ottawa on Monday night facing elimination against the Senators, needing a win to send the series back to New York. For that to happen, they're going to need do something that's proven to be a problem over the past four games, and that's beat Craig Anderson.

After giving up four goals in a Game 1 loss, Anderson has now stopped 121 of the past 126 shots he's faced, including all 41 he faced on Saturday in a 2-0 win at Madison Square Garden.

It's already been a bad postseason for the NHL's top teams, as Pittsburgh, Detroit and Vancouver have already been eliminated, and several others, including New York, Boston and Chicago are all on the verge of joining them with one more loss in the first round.

If the Senators are able to pull this off tonight (or in a potential Game 7) it will be the first time both No. 8 seeds advanced in the postseason since the NHL went to the current 1 vs. 8 format back in the early 1990s.

coyotesBLACKHAWKS9 ET, Chicago at Phoenix: This has been a really interesting series to watch.

Not only because every game has gone to overtime, but because of the way Chicago has controlled the play for much of the series, only to have Mike Smith do everything he can to steal it for Phoenix. Or, if you're looking at it from the other side, only to have Corey Crawford do everything he can to let it slip away for Chicago. The two overtime winners by Mikkel Boedker are probably goals that Crawford would love to have back.

Through five games the Blackhawks are absolutley pounding Smith with shots, averaging over 40 per game (by comparison, Phoenix is averaging just 27). If Chicago can keep playing it's game like this, it has a great shot to come back and pull this off.

Especially if its luck can change a bit in overtime. Let's face it, to win in the playoffs you need skill, goaltending, good health, coaching and, yes, some luck. Especially if you're playing every game in overtime where one bounce in the other direction can change a game or a series.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
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