Hockey (Last) Night in Canada: 3 Is the Magic Number

Another night of Stanley Cup playoffs, another night of game threes. Last night, both games ended with a 3 goal difference. One team takes a 3-0 lead. Also a certain player managed to get his first ever career playoff hat-trick. It’s a special night for #3 indeed.

Boston 4 @ Philadelpia 1 – Somewhere in the world, the folks at MLSE are kicking themselves for letting John Ferguson Jr. send Tuukka Rask from Toronto to Boston for Andrew Raycroft. Where is Raycroft now? Oh right, playing backup to Roberto Luongo and the struggling Canucks. More on them later. With another solid performance from rookie goaltender Rask, the Boston Bruins are now one win away from reaching the Eastern Conference Finals. That being said, it’s not like the Flyers aren’t trying. They kept on firing pucks at Rask, but the only one that managed to beat him was a goal by Arron Asham early in the first period. Meanwhile the offensively weaker Bruins managed to get past Philly goaltender Brian Boucher 3 times on 19 shots. The Bruins also benefited from the contributions by veteran players like Miroslav Satan and Mark Recchi last night as they had a goal each. Patrice Bergeron capped the game with an empty netter. The odds are now against the Flyers as they have never came back from a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs and the Bruins are 16-0 when leading the series 3-0.
Boston leads the series 3-0

Chicago 5 @ Vancouver 2 – The Chicago Blackhawks lead an early charge in the first period and never looked back as they took the win and the lead in the Western Conference semi-finals against the Canucks. Thanks to Dustin Byfuglien’s first career playoff hat-trick, the Blackhawks walked all over the Canucks in the game. In fact, to demonstrate the Canucks’ weak penalty kill, 2 of the goals by Byfuglien were powerplay goals. The shots were almost equal among both teams, but Chicago came out on top since Antti Niemi made 31 saves on 33 shots while Luongo once again struggled with 30 saves on 35 shots. At this rate, it just might be a repeat exit for the Canucks unless they can find their offensive touch again. The Sedin twins were effectively shut down last night. It’ll be a tough battle against the young guns of the Blackhawks, but the Canucks can only hope that the wildly inconsistent Niemi to start cracking soon.
Chicago leads the series 2-1

Three Stars of the Night:
1. Dustin Byfuglien (Chicago) – 3 goals
2. Tuukka Rask (Boston) – 34 saves
3. Jonathan Toews (Chicago) – 3 assists

Thursday’s Schedule:
Pittsburgh at Montreal – PIT leads 2-1 (TV: CBC, Versus)
San Jose at Detroit – SJS leads 3-0 (TV: TSN, Versus)

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