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2011 NHL Playoffs: 1st Round Update, 4/26

Western Conference

San Jose Sharks 4, Los Angeles Kings 3 (OT) - The Sharks finally close out the series against the short handed but physical Kings with yet another overtime game, the third of the six game series. Sharks forward Joe Thornton beat Jonathan Quickwith the first (and only ) shot just two minutes into the extra session for the game (and series) clincher. The two teams battled back and forth all game, matching goal for goal. Quick stopped 31 of 35 shots faced, but it will be that last shot from Thornton that will haunt him all offseason. No one gave the Kings a chance in this series after the loss of top forward Anze Kopitar to an ankle injury, but they played solid defense and took a highly regarded Sharks team to six games, with three of the four losses in overtime.

San Jose wins the series, 4-2.

Eastern Conference

Tampa Bay Lightning 4, Pittsburgh Penguins 2 -- The Penguins did their best to end this series in Tampa Bay and prevent a Game Seven, but their efforts weren't enough to stop a suddenly resurgent Lightning offense. Tampa Bay only managed 21 shots on goal, but Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 17 of them in the second straight loss for Pittsburgh. Lightning winger Steve Downie scored the game winning goal less than five minutes into the third period (on top of his assists on the two previous Tampa Bay goals) and guaranteed that the series will go the distance. After being down 3-1 in the series, the Lightning have come back and scored 12 goals in their past two games. Their offense has scored 17 goals in their three victories in the series. If Pittsburgh wants to advance, it'll have to be on the shoulders of their goalie Fleury.

Series tied at 3-3.

Games To Watch Tonight

Boston Bruins at Montreal Canadiens, at 7:00 p.m. EDT -- Game Six between these archrivals have the Bruins up in the series and with a chance to close out in Montreal. Carey Price played well in game Five, but was beat by a bad rebound in overtime. Here is his chance for redemption; a victory will give the Canadiens new life in the series. Montreal's forwards have outplayed their Boston counterparts so far, and will need to figure out a suddenly human Tim Thomas.

Buffalo Sabres at Philadelphia Flyers, at 7:30 p.m. EDT, on Versus -- The first Game Seven of the playoffs takes place in Philadelphia, with a Flyers team that has survived with three separate goalies on a carousel this series. Brian Boucher is likely to get start, but don't be surprised to see Michael Leighton play in net if Boucher struggles early. The Sabres will counter with Ryan Miller, and will also welcome their top forward Derek Roy back in this do-or-die game. Roy has been recovering from a knee injury suffered in December, and may be limited in his ability, but his presence should provide a boost to a Sabres team that has struggled to close out an uncertain Philadelphia team.

Chicago Blackhawks at Vancouver Canucks, at 10:00 p.m. EDT, on Versus -- Talk about an unexpected (and potentially historic) Game Seven. After falling down 3-0 in the series, the defending champion Blackhawks have dominated the Canucks, sticking goalie Roberto Luongo with three straight painful losses -- including one in overtime. If the Blackhawks can complete the comeback, it would only be the fourth comeback in NHL history and the second one in as many years (the Flyers accomplished the feat last season on their way to the Eastern Conference championship). Luongo is expected to get the start against a Chicago team that has his number.