Hockey (Last) Night In Canada: The Beginning of the End

Another night of conference final games in the Stanley Cup playoffs. In the East, Montreal is at Philadelphia again trying to redeem themselves from an embarrassing game 1 loss while the Sharks hope to even up the series at home before heading off on the road again. However, both their attempts seems to be ambitious, but rubbish.

Montreal 0 @ Philadelphia 3 – Flyers goaltender Michael Leighton is red hot right now and extended the shutout streak to 165:50 as the Flyers pulled off another clear victory. Unlike the Canadians, the Flyers continue to carry forward the momentum from the previous series into this. The Canadiens have been blanked twice in this series so far and Jaroslav Halak is not looking like the saviour that the fans have painted him to be. Despite outshooting the Flyers (including an impressive 16-6 tally in the first period), the Canadiens have failed to crack Leighton, however they did play a much better game compared to the first one of the series. In this game, it was the powerplay goals that made the difference. It was Danny Briere who scored the first powerplay goal in the first period while Simon Gagne potted in the second one in the following frame. It was Montreal’s somewhat lackluster penalty kill that cost them the game this time around. The Canadiens may have come from behind twice already, but unless they can somehow pick themselves back up by game three, this series might end sooner than we thought.
Philadelphia leads the series 2-0

Chicago 4 @ San Jose 2 – In another series that looks like it’s headed for a quick end is the match-up between the Blackhawks and the Sharks. Unlike game 1 of the series where the shots were flying back and forth, it was noticeably quieter in this game despite the higher score by the end of the game. It was Chicago that opened up the scoring in the first by Andrew Ladd. Two more goals were scored in the second including a powerplay goal by Jonathan Toews, which eventually turned out to be the game winner. Despite getting a second beating, the Sharks did have one bright spot. Partrick Marleau was the only Shark that was able to beat Antti Niemi twice during the night. The other Joe (Pavelski), continues his cold streak as he has his performance has dropped off dramatically since the last series. The Blackhawks have been solid on the road and stole the two Sharks home games to take the early lead in the series. If the strong play continues, this series might be ending in 4 games!
Chicago leads the series 2-0

Three Stars of the Night:
1. Michael Leighton (Philadelphia) – 30 saves, shutout
2. Jonathan Toews (Chicago) – 1 goal, 1 assist
3. Duncan Keith (Chicago) – 2 assists

Thursday’s Schedule:
Philadelphia at Montreal – PHI leads 2-0 (TV: CBC, Versus)


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