It's must-win game time (already)

One game in and we're already in must-win game territory, at least for a few teams. After all, going down 1-0 in a playoff series is no big deal. But 2-0 — that's a problem.

This is especially true if you're one of the favourites, like Carolina and Dallas, who lost Game 1 at home and now have to scramble to even the series. Lose, and you're headed for two tough games in your opponent's building without a win. If you win, of course, it's a whole new series.

Hockey people always talk about which game is the most 'pivotal' in a series, and many point to a Game 3 or 4. (The real answer, likely, is that they're all important, but that won't really stimulate much debate.)

At least for Philadelphia and New York, they've got an ace in their backpocket. Losing tonight really isn't a great option, but if it happens — well, hey, you've still got two games to play in your home rink. Of course, you'll have to win them both or fall into that dreaded down 3-1 scenario.

There's a lot on the line tonight, especially for the Hurricanes and Stars.

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