Pittsburgh (25th on power play; 1st on penalty kill)
How rough is it for the Pittsburgh power play without Crosby and Malkin? Michalek, who went into the month of March without a goal, was anchoring the left point on the first power-play unit. Minus Crosby's 10 power-play goals, Kunitz and Kennedy were next best with seven each. Pascal Dupuis (four), Matt Cooke (three), Maxime Talbot (two) and Craig Adams (two) all scored multiple shorthanded goals for the league's best PK unit, a Penguins first.
Tampa Bay (6th on power play, 8th on penalty kill)
Stamkos finished second in the NHL with 17 power-play goals. Lecavalier netted nine power-play goals in the last 28 games and was eighth in the league with 12. Clark scored a career-high six power-play goals, good for a tie for ninth among defensemen. St. Louis (41), Stamkos (36), Lecavalier (28) and Teddy Purcell (21) all topped 20 power-play points. The Lightning scored a league-low one shorthanded goal, Nate Thompson burying it.
Edge: Tampa Bay
Kennedy stepped up his game in the absence of others, scoring a career-high 21 goals. Max Talbot, scorer of Pittsburgh's Cup winner in 2009, always seems to come to the fore at this time of year. And make no mistake, the Pens will miss the suspended Cooke, whose irascible presence is a deterrent to the opposition. He was second on the team with 192 hits.
Dominic Moore, such a grinding presence for Montreal as the Canadiens rolled to the Eastern Conference final last spring, looks to be rounding into playoff form. Finishing with 18 goals, he posted 5-2-7 numbers in his last 10 games. Adam Hall dished out a team-leading 152 hits and won 55 per cent of his faceoffs. Thompson blocked 81 shots to lead all Lightning forwards.
Edge: Tampa Bay
Who would have thought at the start of the season that mercurial Alexei Kovalev would become part of Pittsburgh's mix — an important part, minus the skill of Crosby and Malkin? Kovalev isn't the Kovalev of old, but he's still capable of making magic happen with the puck and a motivated Kovalev would provide the Pens with much-needed mileage. But he only scored two goals in 20 games for Pittsburgh.
He used to be a Penguin, and an important one in their 2009 Stanley Cup win. Missing much of the second half of the season due to an upper-body injury, Ryan Malone returned to action March 31 and looked like he hadn't missed a beat, scoring three times in the last four games. A healthy, impactful Malone only makes Tampa Bay deeper up front.
Edge: Tampa Bay.
This could be the most entertaining, closely-contested first-round series, with some of the best storylines. Will the Lightning be happy just to be here? Can the Penguins make a run minus Sid and Geno?
Prediction: Tampa Bay in 7
Live Extra: After cutting into the Kings' lead with an OT win in Game 3, the Sharks look to level the series in tonight's Game 4.
Video: NHL from NBC Sports
Quick gloves a few Sharks
Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick is usually gloving pucks, but in Game 4 he's been getting his hands on some Sharks as well. After making a save late in the first period, Quick let a pair of Sharks know they weren't welcome near his crease as he gave a quick shove to TJ Galiardi and after Tommy Wingels came a little closer Quick landed a left glove to his face.
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