Another night of close hockey games as two required overtime to determine the winner and none of the games had a goal differential greater than 2. It was a night of solid goaltending from two of the winners. Most of the teams that lost their last game managed to claw back yesterday night. With all this back and forth, could all the series end up going to game sevens?
Phoenix 4 @ Detroit 2 – They may be a young team on the road in a hostile environment against the twice-defending Western Conference champions but don’t tell the Phoenix Coyotes that. Holding to their strategy of start strong and answer back fast, the Coyotes picked up their second win of the series. Sami Lepisto scored 29 seconds in to start the scoring and Radim Verbata responded to a Johan Franzen goal after only 90 seconds to seal the deal. The biggest story of the game isn’t the poise that the Coyotes showed but who they pulled off the win without. Captain Shane Doan left the game in the first with an upper body injury (which was later updated to be an undisclosed injury but it’s likely his shoulder). The question now becomes how Phoenix can cope with most of their playoff experience sitting in the press box.
Phoenix leads the series 2-1
New Jersey 2 @ Philadelphia 3 (OT) – It was another close, physical game between the divisional rivals but the NHL’s arch-villains picked up win. Even worse for haters of NHL pugilists was that Dan Carcillo (frontrunner for the Lady Byng Award) put home the game-winning goal in extra time to give the win to the Broad Street Bullies. The Devils stayed in the game thanks to a pair of Brian Gionta goals but the team as a whole could only manage 19 shots on Brian Boucher. Without sustained offensive pressure, the Flyers apparent goaltending woes were invisible last night.
Philadelphia leads the series 2-1
Pittsburgh 4 @ Ottawa 2 – Just when you thought that home ice was stolen from the defending champs, they took it right back with authority. After losing their first game on home ice, the Pens repaid the favour to Ottawa with a convincing win over the Sens. Four different players scored forPittsburgh, including Sidney Crosby who scored the game-winning goal. Both goalies stopped 20 shots. While 20 saves on 22 shots is respectable for Marc-Andre Fleury, 20 saves on 24 shots by Brian Elliott won’t do Ottawa much good if they want to get to the second round.
Pittsburgh leads the series 2-1
Nashville 0 @ Chicago 2 – It was only fitting that since the first game of the series followed the usual pattern that Game Two did as well. After a surprising Game One loss, the Blackhawks came back with a win to even the series before they hit the road for the next two games. Dave Bolland’s second period goal was all that Chicago needed for the win as Antti Niemi made 23 saves for the shutout. In the losing effort, Pekka Rinne outshone his counterpart by making 31 saves. By the end, the game started getting chippy as both teams tried sending a message for Game Three in Nashville.
The series is tied 1-1
San Jose 0 @ Colorado 1 (OT) – From a high scoring affair to an almost goal-less match, the Sharks and Avalanche clash at the Pepsi Center for game 3. Once again the game needed overtime to determine the winner and it was a weird one! The goal was credited to Ryan O’Reilly 51 seconds into the extra frame and he wasn’t even sure how he scored. Dan Boyle attempted to pass the puck from behind the net and it ended up on O’Reilly’s stick. A pleasant surprise for the 19 year old rookie. Nabokov only faced 17 shots in the loss while Craig Anderson of the Avalanche had a busy night stopping all 51 pucks. The Sharks are known to choke in the playoffs and it looks like they’re paving the way for an early exit once again.
Colorado leads the series 2-1
Three Stars of the Night:
1. Craig Anderson (Colorado) – 51 saves (shutout)
2. Antti Niemi (Chicago) – 23 saves (shutout)
3. Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh) – 1 goal, 1 assist
Washington at Montreal – Series tied 1-1 (TV: TSN)
Buffalo at Boston – Series tied 1-1 (TV: CBC, Versus)
Vancouver at Los Angeles – Series tied 1-1 (TV: CBC, Versus)