Hockey (Last) Night In Canada: One Goal Makes All the Difference

It was another night of close games in the NHL Playoffs. Continuing a theme from the first night, a big underdog picked up a Game One win. The games also made for a total of seven (of seven) games that ended within one goal. There were even a pair of overtime games for the first time this post-season on what was an exciting second night of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Montreal 3 @ Washington 2 (OT) – The fifth game of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs was the first one to need extra time. However, the game held true to form, despite going long, with the underdog picking up the first win of the series. Thirteen minutes into the first overtime of the post-season, Tomas Plekanec, the breakout player on the Habs this season, ripped a shot past Jose Theodore to pick up the win. The big story of the night wasn’t the Habs getting the win over the President’s Trophy winners. Alex Ovechkin didn’t have a shot on goal during the game, though he had about half a dozen attempt either miss or get blocked.
Montreal leads the series 1-0

Boston 1 @ Buffalo 2 – Try as they might, there was nothing that the Boston Bruins could get going in Game One. They outshot and pummeled the Sabres all game but couldn’t beat the man they had too. Ryan Miller stood on his head and made 38 saves (including 23 in the second) to earn the win for Buffalo. Tuukka Rask wasn’t badly outshone by his counterpart making 30 saves on the night. Both teams combined for 71 shots which was probably the ridiculous stat of the night. After all, if you’re looking for two teams geared to low-scoring games, then this is the series for you.
Buffalo leads the series 1-0

Los Angeles 2 @ Vancouver 3 (OT)
Mikael Samuelsson was at the right place at the right time during the extra period to become the hero of the game. Just 8:52 into the extra frame, he took a pass from Henrik Sedin and rips a shot past LA goaltender Jonathan Quick. That game winning goal wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for Roberto Luongo making an amazing save around the six minute mark. Despite the close score, the Kings were outplayed by the Canucks as they were outshot 44 to 27. Quick came off a shaky final month of the regular season (winless in his last 8 starts) and provided a solid night of goaltending, but it wasn’t enough to snatch a W. The Kings are young and lack playoff experience and that may be the key factor in determining who’s going to win this series.
Vancouver leads the series 1-0

Three Stars of the Night:
1. Mikael Samuelsson (Vancouver) – 2 goals
2. Ryan Miller (Buffalo) – 38 saves
3. Tomas Plekanec (Montreal) – 1 goal

Friday’s Schedule:
Ottawa at Pittsburgh – OTT leads 1-0 (TV: CBC, Versus)
Philadelphia at New Jersey – PHI leads 1-0 (TV: TSN)
Nashville at Chicago (TV: TSN2, Versus)
Detroit at Phoenix – PHX leads 1-0 (TV: TSN, Versus)
Colorado at San Jose – COL leads 1-0 (TV: CBC, Versus)

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