Hockey (Last) Night In Canada: Revenge Is Sweet

It was a busy night of hockey in the NHL Playoffs. Continuing a theme from the first two nights, a big underdog picked up a Game One win. A few series were tied up. The empty net goal also made a few appearances. There was also a high-scoring overtime game between the Avalanche and the Sharks to cap off the third night of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Ottawa 1 @ Pittsburgh 2 – The first game was a show of firepower. The second game was all about defense and goaltending. The goal total from Game One was cut by two-thirds in Game Two as the defending Cup champs were able to draw their first blood of the series. The Pens were led by their captain, Sidney Crosby, who tied the game early in the first and had a supreme physical for an assist on Kris Letang’s game winner. Despite the loss, no blame can be placed on playoff rookie Brian Elliott. The Sens’ backstop made 29 saves in the losing effort.
The series is tied 1-1

Philadelphia 3 @ New Jersey 5 – Another evenly matched game between the two divisional rivals was determined by one thing: Martin Brodeur’s playoff beard. The veteran netminder is growing his first bit of post-season facial hair and it proved to be the difference the Devils needed. A back and forth game saw Ilya Kovalchuk have his biggest game as a Devil and lead them to the win. Both teams held two leads during the first two periods. It was a Dainius Zubrus goal that gave the Devils win.
The series is tied 1-1

Nashville 4 @ Chicago 1 – Not surprisingly, we had another first game upset. What at first glance looked like a blowout was actually a close fought game. The game was scoreless for the first half of the game before Pat “20 Cent” Kane opened the scoring. A pair of JP Dumont goals gave the Preds the lead and their first playoff road win. Nashville padded their goal count with two empty netters in the final minute. Both playoff newcomer goalies were respectable but not stellar. Pekka Rinne made 25 saves for the win while Antti Niemi had 22 in the loss.
Nashville leads the series 1-0

Detroit 7 @ Phoenix 4 – Detroit may have gone off with a slow start, but the team made an explosive return in the second game against Phoenix. With 6:06 left in regulation, Henrik Zetterberg tapped in a rebound from Todd Bertuzzi to give the Red Wings the lead. That’s all the Red Wings needed to win, but they added more salt to the wound when Zetterberg snatched a hat-trick by scoring the empty netter at the end. For two strong defensive teams, it was quite surprising to see such a high scoring game. The red light kept coming on as the puck bounced back and forth between the nets. Within a span of less than four minutes, 5 goals were scored between the teams in the second period. Another Red Wing Valtteri Filppula managed 2 goals and an assist to contribute to the win.
The series is tied 1-1

Colorado 5 @ San Jose 6 (OT) – The Sharks bit back at everyone who thought they were going to choke in the playoffs tonight with a victory in overtime. During the final minute of regulation, Joe Pavelski scored the game tying goal to send it to OT. In the extra frame, Devon Setoguchi stepped up and scored the game winning goal to tie the series. This was definitely a high scoring game, but it didn’t need to be one. The lackluster goaltending from Evgeni Nabokov (17 saves from 22 shots) was covered up by the offensive firepower of the Sharks. Meanwhile it was a busy night for Craig Anderson as he stopped 46 of 52 shots in a losing effort. The Sharks should be concerned. If Nabokov can’t step up, it might be the second straight year where the top Western Conference seed is upset by the 8th place team.
The series is tied 1-1

Three Stars of the Night:
1. Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit) – 3 goals
2. Ilya Kovalchuk (New Jersey) – 1 goal, 2 assists
3. JP Dumont (Nashville) – 2 goals

Saturday’s Schedule:
Boston at Buffalo – BUF leads 1-0 (TV: CBC, NBC)
Montreal at Washington – MTL leads 1-0 (TV: TSN, Versus)
Los Angeles at Vancouver – VAN leads 1-0 (TV: CBC, Versus)


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