NHL Playoffs 2018 scores, updates, news, odds: Sharks complete sweep, Lightning and Predators rebound, Penguins crush Flyers
The Sharks are heading to the second round to face the Golden Knights
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There's only one team with a shot of getting eliminated on Wednesday night when the NHL playoffs resume. The San Jose Sharks will try to close out the Anaheim Ducks in what's been an ugly series, while the Avalanche will look to even up their series after each earning a win on home ice on Monday.
In the opening game of the night, the Penguins smoked the Flyers in a pivotal Game 4. There hasn't been a competitive game yet in this series, and that trend continued as Pittsburgh took home a 5-0 win on Wednesday. The victory puts the Pens up 3-1 against their Pennsylvania rivals.
The Lightning managed to bounce back from a surprising Game 3 loss and get back on track against the Devils, beating them in New Jersey and pushing the series to 3-1 in Tampa's favor. The Predators also managed to rebound after a loss and go up 3-1 on the Avalanche
Meanwhile, Sharks capped off the night by completing a sweep of the Ducks in San Jose.
Wednesday's full schedule
Sharks complete sweep of Ducks
It wasn't the prettiest Sharks win of the series -- nor was it Anaheim's ugliest loss -- but this year's Battle of California between San Jose and Anaheim came to a close on Thursday night. It wasn't much of a battle after all, as the Sharks took care of business to complete a four-game sweep of the Ducks.
The Sharks got an early first-period goal from Marcus Sorensen and held on for dear life through the first couple of frames. Martin Jones was great in net for the Sharks, making a number of impressive stops and keeping Anaheim off the board until Andrew Cogliano finally broke through to put the Ducks on the board nearly eight minutes into the third period.
But that tie game didn't last long, as Tomas Hertl netted the eventual game-winner a little over a minute after Cogliano's equalizer.
Jones made 30 saves in the win.
The Sharks will move on to face the Golden Knights, who completed a sweep of the Kings on Tuesday night, in the second round.
Filip Forsberg did it again
Listen, I know it's early, but this is starting to look like the postseason of Filip Forsberg. The Predators winger already owns the best goal of the playoffs withagainst the Avalanche, but now he might own the second best as well.
This is what Forsberg did in the first period of Game 4 on Wednesday night in Colorado.
That's such an awesome display of speed, strength and skill all at once, and a friendly reminder why Forsberg is not to be messed with when he's on the attack. The kid is filthy.
A call coming for Kucherov?
This hit from Nikita Kucherov forced Sami Vatanen from Game 4, leading to some discussion about whether or not it should yield a call from the league's Department of Player Safety. It's somewhat similar to Drew Doughty's hit on William Carrier earlier in the first round (which landed Doughty a one-game suspension) so it's not out of the question. It's tough to tell where the principal point of contact is, but Kucherov appears to launch upwards on Vatanen a bit.
Kucherov wasn't whistled for a penalty on the play, so we'll see if the league thinks it warrants a phone hearing.
Jets' Josh Morrissey suspended one game
Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey was suspended one game by the league's Department of Player Safety on Wednesday after he cross-checked Minnesota's Eric Staal during Game 4. Morrissey delivered a dirty check to Staal's head on Tuesday night, one that somehow wasn't penalized on the ice. Now, Morrissey will have to sit for Friday's Game 5 as the Jets look to clinch.
David Puddy in the house!
Gotta support the team.
Shoutout to old man Puddy for staying surprisingly buff these days.
Penguins taking it to Flyers once again
We knew Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin could be in for a big game with Sean Couturier out of the lineup, and they got off to a hot start by connecting on the first goal less than five minutes into the game. Crosby found Malkin on an early power play opportunity for the Penguins. Crosby's pass had eyes.
Then, things got worse for Philly. About 10 minutes later, Brian Elliott, who has struggled mightily at points in this series, gave up a terrible goal to Phil Kessel. Elliott can't be giving up softies like that if the Flyers are going to climb back into the series. The Penguins' offensive attack is good enough without giving them gifts.
Things only got worse in the second period for Philly. Elliott was pulled after Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald accidentally tipped a Kris Letang shot into his own net, making it 4-0. Michael Neuvirth came into the game to replace Elliott and promptly gave up this goal to Sidney Crosby. Mrazek had absolutely no idea where the puck was prior to it entering his net.
With that goal, Crosby passes Mario Lemieux for the most playoff points in Penguins franchise history.
Golden Knights now front-runners in Stanley Cup odds
Nashville's Pekka Rinne a Vezina Trophy finalist
It should come as no surprise to anyone that Pekka Rinne joins Connor Hellebuyck of the Jets and Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Lightning as a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, but with two of those three goalies in action tonight, we can watch some of the best goalies in the league play on Wednesday.
How to watch all the Stanley Cup playoff games
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Odds for each series
The experts at SportsLine have run simulations and have your betting odds for the eventual Stanley Cup champions. Both conferences have genuinely interesting sleepers and matchups. You can find all of those odds here.
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