SPORTS

NHL playoffs: 3 things to know for tonight

04/20/2015 12:13 EDT | Updated 07/10/2015 01:59 EDT
It will be Whiteout night in Winnipeg, literally, with snow falling before the MTS Centre stands become a sea of white for the first Jets home playoff game since 1996.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh and Minnesota return home after tying their first-round series.

Here's what you need to know for tonight's NHL playoff games:

Bracing for Whiteout

The weather gods got a jump on the Whiteout in Winnipeg as fans prepare for the Jets' first playoff game in the city since 1996 in Game 3 of their first-round series against Anaheim. With snow falling in the morning and flurries forecast throughout Monday, fans will try to warm up despite their team trailing the Ducks 2-0 in the best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final.

The Whiteout tradition started in Winnipeg in the 1980s, with the Jets' crowd sporting anything white, from t-shirts to homemade pompoms made of white garbage bags. They sometimes even write songs to lend support to their team (see below). The Jets could use some help, especially in the third period. After Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf combined for three goals in the third to help Anaheim pull out the series opener, teammate Jakob Silfverberg scored with 21 seconds left in regulation for a Ducks win in Game 2.

Anaheim set an NHL single-season record with 18 wins when trailing at any point in the third during the regular season and was a league-best 12-23-0 when it didn't have the lead after two periods. Is it time for Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice to go best-on-best and reunite Bryan Little with Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler to go head-to-head with Patrick Maroon, Getzlaf and Perry, who have combined for four goals and 10 points in the series? The Jets trio had 74 goals in the regular campaign.

Pens need more than Sid

The Pittsburgh Penguins managed to even their first-round series against the Rangers by minimizing the impact of New York's speed and transition game and were fairly effective creating and capitalizing on rebounds, but many believe they need more of what Sidney Crosby provided in Game 2 to have a chance of advancing in the playoffs. Crosby scored twice and was a presence on each of his shifts (see below), but more of his teammates need to follow suit as the series shifts to Pittsburgh.

They also need to stay out of the penalty box, as the Penguins survived being short-handed 12 times, with the special-teams goals at 2-2.

New York, which won three of the four games in Pittsburgh in last year's second-round series, including a pair while facing elimination, was 1-0-1 at Consol Energy Center in the regular season.

Rangers defenceman Kevin Klein (broken arm) is on the trip but will miss a 19th straight game.

Trying to buck road/home trends

The Minnesota Wild return home with their first-round series against St. Louis tied 1-1 and maybe thinking about how to solve rookie Blues goalie Jake Allen in Game 3, prevent Vladimir Tarasenko from repeating his hat-trick performance in Game 2 and ignore the taunts, slashes and big hits from superpest Steve Ott. But it's their recent poor play at home that is a hot topic. Minnesota is winless in three at Xcel Energy Center and 4-5-1 in its past 10 there.

The good news for the Wild is St. Louis has lost eight in a row on the road in the post-season, last tasting victory on April 19, 2012 in San Jose. However, the Blues have excelled in enemy territory in the last three regular seasons combined, going 57-39-10.

Game 3 could be decided by which team scores first, with St. Louis 36-6-4 in that scenario in the regular season and Minnesota 35-6-4. The Blues are also healthy while Wild forward Justin Fontaine is expected to play Monday after missing Game 2 with a stomach bug.

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