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Thursday's notes: Lightning advance, Bruins & Sharks lead 3-0

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Lightning in a bottle?
Lightning in a bottle?

After a competitive opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, which drew "best ever" consideration from several observers, this second round is headed towards the opposite extreme. Last night, not only did the Tampa Bay Lightning complete their sweep of the Washington Capitals, but the San Jose Sharks and Boston Bruins have pushed their opponents to the brink of disaster as well.

Follow after the jump for a look at these series, a host of previews for tonight's Game 4 between Nashville & Vancouver, and a whole lot more!

Before the news, let's check out Matt Halischuk's best hit from Tuesday night:

Nashville Predators News

Vancouver Plays the Part | Pull My (Fang)Finger
AJ wonders if the Preds can get inside the Canucks' heads like Chicago had been for a couple years.

Preds On The Glass: The Vancouver Green Men Are Living It Up in Nashville
Jackson got his picture taken with Vancouver's famous emissaries.

Preds On The Glass: Game Four Preview: Canucks - Predators, "It's Huge" - Trotz
Will the Preds respond now that their backs are against the wall?

Preds On The Glass: POTG Thursday News, Headlines, and Links
Buddy's up & early with his morning links...

Hockey Night in Nashville: WCSF Game 4: Nashville Must Even Series
Robby will have his eye on Alex Burrows tonight.

WCSF – Canucks @ Predators, Game 4 – Could be the deciding factor? | The Predatorial
Could the Preds benefit from a makeup call tonight? That would surely help.

Music City Mindset: The Predator Way Has Never Been Easy
Understatement of the year, here.

WCSF Game 4 Preview: Predators Look To Bounce Back Thursday Night - Predlines
Amanda speculates that Blake Geoffrion might be scratched to allow both J.P. Dumont and Colin Wilson to play tonight.

Ward's NHL road went through CIS - Vancouver Sun
I can't believe they left out his roller hockey background!

Nashville has Little Boom Boom - Toronto Sun
Another intro-style piece, this time on Blake's lineage.

Hockey in Nashville is a smash - Toronto Sun
You have to wonder how far these last two weeks have gone to dispel some of the myths around hockey in Nashville.

Predators show consistent ability to rally during postseason | Nashville City Paper
Playing with the lead? Say, that does sound like a good idea.

Nashville Predators may play Colin Wilson after injury to Steve Sullivan - The Tennessean
Barry Trotz drops Willie's name during media time yesterday, fueling speculation that he'll finally get some playoff action.

Nashville Predators, Vancouver Canucks each used to defensive battles - The Tennessean
When two Vezina Trophy finalists meet in a series, we shouldn't be too surprised at the dearth of goals.

Around the NHL

Sweet Sweet Sweep: Bolts Down Rival Caps In Four - Raw Charge
It's amazing how quickly things have come together for the Tampa Bay Lightning this season.

Video: After tough call, Sharks’ Setoguchi ends Game 3 vs. Wings - Puck Daddy
Now this is the way hockey karma should work - San Jose's Devin Setoguchi gets a garbage call in OT when Todd Bertuzzi pulls off a Ryan Kesler-like move, but the Sharks kill off the penalty and Setoguchi ends up scoring the game winner. Good for them....

ECSF Game 3: Out of gas, the Flyers are pushed to the edge - Broad Street Hockey
Down 3-0 against the Bruins, are the Philadelphia Flyers simply out of answers?

Ryan Kesler’s the total package - The Globe and Mail
He made the difference Tuesday night, after going the first 9 games of the playoffs without a goal.

Canucks starting to look like old selves - The Globe and Mail
Are the Presidents Trophy winners beginning to hit their stride?

World Championship: Day 7 Open Thread - Puck Worlds
Switzerland vs. Norway... it'll be a WAR!!!

Qualification, Relegation Round Schedule - Puck Worlds
Team USA's next game is against Canada tomorrow.

Today in the "A": Schedule Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes - The Cannon
You don't see this every day, a reduction in the number of games a league will play.

Washington Capitals: Why Hiring Craig MacTavish Makes Sense | The Hockey Writers
You can expect to see this article copied several times over the next several weeks, just with a different team in the headline.

On Hockey: After another playoff collapse, the Capitals must make changes - The Washington Post
Cue the jerking of knees.

How Good Is That Goalie? - US News and World Report
It's interesting to see a mainstream news magazine pick up on hockey stats analysis. This article covers a piece of goaltending analysis presented at this year's Sports Analytics conference at MIT.