Hockey (Last) Night In Canada: Taking Charge or Staying Alive

There was 2 themes going on last night in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Take charge or stay alive. Two teams won their games to break the tie in the series while two others that were on the brink of elimination managed to pull of victories to stay in the playoff race.

Montreal 2 @ Washington 1 – After a shaky performance by Carey Price, it was Jaro Halak’s turn between the pipes again. Unexpectedly, this game between two high-powered offenses turned into a goaltenders duel. This time, it was 37 saves by Halak that bested 26 saves by Semyon Varlamov to keep the Habs alive for another game. Two early first period goals by Montreal was all they needed as Varlamov pitched a shutout for the final 53 minutes of the game. Alex Ovechkin had the only goal for the Caps. The series heads back to Montreal where we will find out if Ovi snowing a small child will throw the Habs off there game again and out of the playoffs.
Washington leads the series 3-2

Boston 1 @ Buffalo 4 – When you back a team into a corner, they come out swinging. Adam Mair scored less than two minutes in and the Sabres held the lead through the end of the game as they staved off elimination for one night. Four different players scored for Buffalo and Ryan Miller made 34 saves to lead the Sabres to the win. The most interesting part of the game was the brawl at the end of the game that saw 45 minutes in penalties handed out. Involved in the brawl was Zdeno Chara who got an instigator penalty for his troubles. Normally that would include a one-game suspension but that’s pending a review by Colin Campbell. If Chara is suspended, we could be looking at a seventh game.
Boston leads the series 3-2

Los Angeles 2 @ Vancouver 7 – The Canucks have finally found their offensive firepower as they blew the Kings right out of the water in game 5 of their series. The first few games were rather shaky for the Canucks but last night they finally demonstrated they can pull off a convincing win. The charge was led by Vancouver’s top line of Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Mikael Samuelsson. Samuelsson had 2 goals and 1 assist for the night. Pavol Demetra had a goal and two assists and Steve Bernier also contributed 2 goals in the win. Luongo made 24 stops to earn the win while Jonathan Quick of the Kings had a night he would want to forget. He allowed 4 goals in 21 shots and was yanked from the game. However, backup goaltender Erik Ersberg didn’t fare any better as he let in 2 goals on 4 shots. Horrible night for the Kings as they head back home to the Staples Center to regroup. If that fails, they will be packing their lockers real soon.
Vancouver leads the series 3-2

Detroit 4 @ Phoenix 1 – The Red Wings finally claimed the lead in the series for the first time in the Western Conference quarter finals. It appears that playoff experience is a key factor. With the game knotted at one, Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom scored a goal each 70 seconds apart midway through the third period to seal the deal. Jimmy Howard was solid in net stopping 30 of 31 pucks to help lift the Red Wings to victory. The Coyotes struggled during the game without their captain Shane Doan. In addition to that, their penalty was an abysmal 0-5. If the Coyotes don’t win the next game, they may have just played their last game at Jobing.com Arena.
Detroit leads the series 3-2

Three Stars of the Night:
1. Jaroslav Halak (Montreal) – 37 saves
2. Mikael Samuelsson (Vancouver) – 2 goals, 1 assist
3. Ryan Miller (Buffalo) – 34 saves

Saturday’s Schedule:
Nashville at Chicago – Series tied 2-2 (TV: TSN, NBC)
Pittsburgh at Ottawa – PIT leads 3-2 (TV: CBC, Versus)
San Jose at Colorado – SJ leads 3-2 (TV: CBC, Versus)

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