All three games last night were game sixes as there was a team in each game on the brink of elimination. One of the three made it out alive and it might not be the one you were expecting.
Washington 1 @ Montreal 4 – At the end of 2009, it seemed a near certainty that Jaroslav Halak would be heading out of town sooner rather than later. Then the Olympics happened and Halak became an overnight sensation. Then Game Six happened and Halak should now be the guy and the legend after his performance. Halak stopped all but one of Washington’s 54 shots to force a seventh and deciding game on Wednesday night. Mike Cammalleri scored a pair of quick goals in the first to provide the Habs with all the offense they needed. Now it’s back to the US capital for a one game, winner-takes-all matchup. If the same Jaro Halak shows up on Wednesday that was in Montreal last night, we could have a monumental upset.
The series is tied 3-3
Buffalo 3 @ Boston 4 – The Buffalo Sabres had a hell of a regular season. However, when push came to shove, no Thomas Vanek and a less than Olympian effort by Ryan Miller left the Sabres high and dry. A three-point effort by David Krejci and another great effort by 42-year-old Mark Recchi launched the underdog Bruins into the second round. It was expected that the Bruins would be easily fodder for the Sabres with Miller’s goaltending leading the way. For stats fans, the Bruins improved their goals for per game to 2.67 from 2.51 during the regular season. Not a remarkable improvement but it was their biggest weakness heading into the Stanley Cup playoffs and they improved when it counted.
Boston wins the series 4-2
Chicago 5 @ Nashville 3 – The way this game started, it certainly led one to wonder whether either team knows the concept of defense or goaltending. There was an offensive explosion going back and forth between the Blackhawks and the Predators during the first period of the game. It was tied at 3-3 with less than a minute to go in the first. Twenty four seconds later, Jonathan Toews scored to give Chicago the lead, which was all that Chicago needed for the win. All but one of the goals were scored during the first period and that was an empty netter by John Madden near the end of the game to seal Nashville’s fate. With the victory, the Blackhawks advanced to the next round of the playoffs to face off against the Vancouver Canucks again. This will be a rematch of the 2009 semi-finals series when the Blackhawks downed the Canucks in six games.
Chicago wins the series 4-2
Three Stars of the Night:
1. Jaroslav Halak (Montreal) – 53 saves
2. David Krejci (Boston) – 2 goals, 1 assist
3. Jonathan Toews (Chicago) – 1 goal, 2 assists
Detroit at Phoenix – Series tied 3-3 (TV: TSN, Versus)