Hockey (Last) Night In Canada: The Final Stretch

Four teams remain in the chase for Lord Stanley’s Cup. They’re each only eight wins away from lifting the Stanley Cup and being crown champions of the National Hockey League. Three of the teams weren’t expected to make it this far. Two teams are from the original six. One is a perennial choker. One has revolving door goaltenders. It’s a hodgepodge of teams where anyone can win and it all started with the first games of the conference finals yesterday.

Chicago 2 @ San Jose 1 – This series was supposed to be about offenses. Instead, game one was a goaltenders duel. Antti Niemi and Evgeni Nabakov stopped a combined 82 shots over three periods but it was the young netminder who won the battle. Niemi made 44 saves to upstage the veteran and lead the Blackhawks to victory in the opening game of the conference finals. It wasn’t the big stars that were contributing the goals either. Jason Demers scored his first career playoff goal to post San Jose’s only marker. The usual secondary scorers picked up the slack for Chicago as Patrick Sharp and Dustin Byfuglien scored in the second and third periods, respectively, to earn the victory on the scoreboard. With the win, the Hawks take home-ice advantage away from the Sharks. However, with the way this post-season has gone. Is home-ice really an advantage?
Chicago leads the series 1-0

Montreal 0 @ Philadelphia 6 – It wasn’t supposed to be this way for the team of destiny. Jaroslav Halak was supposed to dominate the Flyers with his red hot goaltending. Instead, Halak got a red light tan while Michael Leighton shutdown the Habs with a 28 save shutout. The offensive load was spread out for the Flyers with six different goal scorers and seven players ending the game with two points. Braydon Coburn got the game-winning goal on the power play in the first period. It was a tough night for Halak, allowing four goals on 14 shots. The good news for the Habs is that Halak has played one off game in each of the first two series. If he got it out of the way now, it should be relatively smooth sailing for Montreal from here on out.
Philadelphia leads the series 1-0

Three Stars of the Night:
1. Antti Niemi (Chicago) – 45 saves
2. Michael Leighton (Philadelphia) – 28 saves, shutout
3. Danny Briere (Philadelphia) – 1 goal, 1 assist

Tuesday’s Schedule:
Montreal at Philadelphia – PHI leads 1-0 (TV: CBC, Versus)
Chicago at San Jose – CHI leads 1-0 (TV: TSN, Versus)


One thought on “Hockey (Last) Night In Canada: The Final Stretch

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s