The Philadelphia Flyers and Vancouver Canucks will attempt to join the Colorado Avalanche as teams to force Game 7 in a second-round Stanley Cup playoff series.
The Flyers and Canucks remained alive in their respective series against the New York Islanders and Vegas Golden Knights by winning Game 5 Tuesday.
Philadelphia earned a breakthrough against the Islanders behind the play of a few veteran forwards who struggled prior to Game 5.
Vancouver flipped an offensive-heavy series into a defensive battle, as it used a great performance from backup goalie Thatcher Demko to remain in the playoffs.
Taking a second game in a row from the teams in the lead will be tough, though, since the Golden Knights and Islanders have not lost back-to-back games since the resumption of play.
Upcoming Stanley Cup Playoff Schedule
Thursday, September 3
Game 6: New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
Game 6: Vegas vs. Vancouver (9:45 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
Friday, September 4
Game 7: Dallas vs. Colorado (Time TBD)
Game 6 Previews
New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia
The biggest difference for the Flyers in Game 5 compared to the first four contests was the play of Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk.
Giroux was one of three skaters to pick up three points Tuesday, and he was one of two to produce a goal and an assist. Van Riemsdyk's first-period tally was his first point of the series in four appearances.
Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault noted how much his team relies on its veteran leadership, per NHL.com's Adam Kimelman.
"We've got a good leadership group that's been in this position before that can help their teammates put the focus in the right areas and come to play tomorrow," he said.
Even if Giroux and Van Riemsdyk are at their best and the young forwards create plenty of chances, the Flyers may not have enough to get past Semyon Varlamov.
The Russian goaltender hasn't suffered back-to-back defeats in the Toronto hub and has made at least 25 saves in three of his last four starts.
The Islanders defense could be crucial to winning Game 6 as well. New York has allowed four goals on two occasions at Scotiabank Arena and has not conceded more than two tallies in every win in Toronto.
If Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock, Nick Leddy and the Islanders defensemen neutralize Philadelphia's offensive threat, New York could be in control.
If the Islanders rebound properly, they will set up a showdown with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final. If the Flyers win, Game 7 will be Saturday.
Vegas vs. Vancouver
Goalies have been the story of the Vegas-Vancouver series.
Robin Lehner and Marc-Andre Fleury have combined for a .931 save percentage in five games for Vegas, while Jacob Markstrom made 126 saves for Vancouver in the first four contests.
But the story going into Game 6 is the play of Demko, who marveled in Game 5 with 42 saves.
According to NHL.com's Nicholas J. Cotsonika, Canucks head coach Travis Green did not comment on the status of his goalies Wednesday. Markstrom was deemed unfit to play for Game 5.
No matter who starts in net, Vancouver needs another strong defensive performance to remain in the series. That starts with containing the production from the point. Vegas defensemen Shea Theodore and Nate Schmidt have two of the team's three highest shot totals and combined for 11 points.
If the Canucks cut off the point of attack at the blue line, they could stop the pucks that go into Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith and others and take some pressure off the goalie.
Vegas has 189 shots compared to Vancouver's 132. If it continues to own a large gap in attempts on goal, it could break down the Canucks defense.
The Canucks have the potential to match Vegas' offensive output through J.T. Miller, who has been the catalyst of the attack with six assists.
If Miller produces a few quality feeds and helps out on power-play opportunities, he could be the difference-maker to force Game 7.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.
Statistics obtained from Hockey Reference.