Another exciting night of hockey playoffs. A few teams are pulling away and are closing in on clinching the series while others are tied up once again. At the end of the night, a few things felt all too familiar. Whether it was the score of the game or the player that saved the day or a situation that resembles a matchup that took place back in 2000, it certainly brought up some good hockey memories no matter when it took place.
Phoenix 0 @ Detroit 3 – Coming into the playoffs, people were questioning how effective young Wings goalie Jimmy Howard would be. After a couple of shaky games, last night’s 29 save shutout performance could quiet all the doubters. A controversial second period tip-in by Henrik Zetterberg was the only offense that the Wings would need to win the game. The Coyotes were buzzing all night but had trouble finding the net. They were stuggling to get that extra step needed to get around the Wings without captain Shane Doan. But heading into the season, who would have thought that Phoenix would play a best-of-three with the twice defending Western Conference champs?
The series is tied 2-2
Pittsburgh 7 @ Ottawa 4 – The defending champs haven’t looked back from losing in Game One. The Pens lit up Brian Elliott for three quick goals in a five goal second period to decimate Ottawa. The Sens answered back with three of their own in the second but couldn’t keep the pressure on late in the fram. Sidney Crosby had two goals and two assists on the night to bring his playoff totals to 11 points which leads the NHL. The Pens still have some goaltending woes, though. Marc-Andre Fleury managed 26 saves on 30 shots which isn’t stellar by any stretch and will make things harder as the playoffs roll on.
Pittsburgh leads the series 3-1
New Jersey 1 @ Philadelphia 4 – Martin Brodeur’s cursed playoff runs continue. After a rough go in the Olympics and the last two playoffs, it looks like Philly has his number this year. Four unanswered Flyers goals were more than enough for them to top the Devils. Jeff Carter and Danny Briere led the way for Philadelphia with three points each. Part of the problem for New Jersey is the non-existant power play. They went one for seven with the man advantage while Philly was two for eight. The good news for the Devils is that the last time that Philly coughed up a 3-1 series lead was against the Devils in the 2000 playoffs when the Devils won the Cup.
Philadelphia leads the series 3-1
Chicago 1 @ Nashville 4 – For the second time this series, the Predators beat the Blackhawks with a score of 4-1. David Legwand led the charge for the Predators with a goal and two assists for the night. It was also a momentous occasion for the franchise as Martin Erat scored the first ever playoff penalty shot goal in Nashville’s franchise history. Pekka Rinne had a solid night while Chicago’s Antti Niemi’s shaky performance cost the Blackhawks another game this series.
Nashville leads the series 2-1
San Jose 2 @ Colorado 1 – Once again Joe Pavelski saves the day for the San Jose Sharks. Just like game 1, Pavelski stepped up for the team and scored the game winning goal because no one else could put it in the net. Dan Boyle made up for his mistake in the previous game by scoring the powerplay goal in the 1st period to give the Sharks the lead. Paul Stastny of the Avalanche tied it up in the second and that was the last goal in regulation. It was another night featuring the battle of the goaltenders. Craig Anderson had a busier night stopping 43 of 45 shots while Evgeni Nabokov managed to land the win with 33 saves.
The series is tied 2-2
Three Stars of the Night:
1. Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh) – 2 goals, 2 assists
2. Jimmy Howard (Detroit) – 29 saves, shutout
3. Joe Pavelski (San Jose) – 1 goal, 1 assist
Washington at Montreal – WSH leads 2-1 (TV: TSN)
Buffalo at Boston – BOS leads 2-1 (TV: CBC, Versus)
Vancouver at Los Angeles – LAK leads 2-1 (TV: CBC, Versus)