Hockey (Last) Night In Canada: Resurgence of Key Players

It’s a series of game twos in the semi-finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Perhaps there was some sort of wake up call last night because key players from certain teams really stepped up. After a beating from the Penguins last game, Jaroslav Halak seems to be back in top form. Meanwhile in the shark tank, the big guns from San Jose finally found their offensive touch.

Montreal 3 @ Pittsburgh 1 – When Andrei Markov went down in game one and didn’t dress for game two, we heard preidctions of the demise of the Habs. They were 14-20 without their star blueliner, after all. The talking heads forgot about the one man who could make or break Montreal’s run to the Cup. Jaroslav Halak bounced back in a big way with a 38 save performance to tie the series up. Mike Cammalleri had the second and third goals of the game for the Habs while Scott Gomez chipped in with a pair of helpers. On the Pittsburgh side of things, it was a tough day for their stars. Crosby and Malkin combined for 4 shots and a -3 on the day. The Pens will need more than that if they want to repeat as Cup champs.
The series is tied 1-1

Detroit 3 @ San Jose 4 – It was another close one between the San Jose Sharks and the Detroit Red Wings. Taking the home advantage, San Jose quickly jumped into a 2-0 series lead after another victory with a one goal difference. In fact the final score is identical to game one of this series. It would be no surprise that Joe Pavelski took the offensive charge once again contributing 2 goals and an assist for the win. The big surprise is the sudden resurgence of the key San Jose players like Dany Heatley and Joe Thornton. While these two are normally quiet in the playoffs, the former had 3 assists for the night while the latter had a goal and a helper. Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard had a busy night stopping 41 pucks in a losing effort. Detroit’s penalty kill was also a bit weaker last night as the Sharks capitalized on two powerplay goals. If the Red Wings want to make it to the conference finals for the 4th straight year, they got some hard work to do. Meanwhile it’s the first time the Sharks have held onto a 2-0 series lead since 2006. However they did end up losing to the Oilers in 6 in that series, so they shouldn’t be sitting too comfortably yet. In the meantime, the Sharks should seriously consider a pay raise for centre Joe Pavelski for his hefty contribution during this playoff run so far.
San Jose leads the series 2-0

Three Stars of the Night:
1. Jaroslav Halak (Montreal) – 38 saves
2. Joe Pavelski (San Jose) – 2 goals, 1 assist
3. Mike Cammalleri (Montreal) – 2 goals

Monday’s Schedule:
Philadelphia at Boston – BOS leads 1-0 (TV: TSN, Versus)
Vancouver at Chicago – VAN leads 1-0 (TV: CBC, Versus)

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