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Stanley Cup Playoffs: Round 2

PenaltykillWEST OK, let’s face facts here, Chicago were unlucky. I’m not saying that to rub it in that the reigning Stanley Cup champions couldn’t hold it together, but simply that they were losers in the worst possible way. Game 7 Overtime.

Vancouver progressed to meet Nashville, who disposed of the Anaheim Ducks in 6 games, with the final one being a 4-2 victory.

As mentioned in the previous installation of mine, the Red Wings swept the Coyotes 4-0, meaning they had a long break between games. Now usually, the rusty factor shouldn’t come into it. The players are top athletes and as such, should be fit and ready for the next game. The rust isn’t in the bodies, but the minds. That long without a competitive game is going to alter the way Detroit enter their second round.

They will meet the San Jose Sharks, victors in 6 games over the LA Kings. Once again, the Kings fall short in the Playoffs, and whilst the Sharks did show some defensive and goaltending frailties, they are winners over Detroit in 9 or the last 11 games. There are not many teams Detroit would rather play less than San Jose.

Vancouver v Nashville

Pekka Rinne was able to save 29 of 30 shots in the opening game of Round 2. Unfortunately for Rinne, the only goal he allowed became the winner, as the Canucks ran out 1-0 winners to take a series lead. Chris Higgins 2nd period wrist shot was enough to see off the Predators in the first game, with Vancouver outshooting their visitors 30-20.

Game 2 saw the Predators pull even, with a 2-1 in double overtime. Nashville came out the blocks a lot faster than their hosts, outshooting them in both the 1st and 2nd periods, but yet fell behind when Burrows scored shorthanded half way through the 2nd. Vancouver looked to be holding on for another 1-0 win, and into the last couple of minutes, the Predators pulled their goalie. Suter followed in his own blocked shot, rounded the goal and was able to bank a shot off Luongo’s skate to even up the score with 1.07 remaining. Into overtime and the Canucks turned up the heat, testing Rinne repeatedly with 18 shots as the OT period stepped into the 2nd 20 minutes. With Rinne keeping the Predators in it, Matt Halischuk fired a wrister past Luongo’s glove side to split the series.

Current status: Series tied 1-1

Upcoming games (if required):
@Nashville, Tuesday 3rd May 2011
@Nashville, Thursday 5th May 2011
@Vancouver, Saturday 7th May 2011
@Nashville, Monday 9th May 2011
@Vancouver, Wednesday 11th May 2011

San Jose v Detroit

The overtime specialists were at it again, as San Jose won their 5th post-season game, 4 of which came in overtime. Howard’s 44 of 46 saves were not enough as the Sharks seemed to be a step ahead of the Wings at all times. Nick Lidstrom’s opening goal in the first period put the Sharks on the back foot, but a resurgent team fought hard and threw 30 shots at Howard in the 2nd and 3rd periods. Pavelski’s goal in the 3rd was followed by a deliberate snow shower on Howard after he’d collected the puck, and a melee ensued where Howard punched Pavelski with his blocker, resulting in roughing minors for both. If it was Pavelski’s attempt to get under Howard’s skin, then it worked. Ferriero’s first playoff game was capped with a goal after the Wings had just killed a 4 minute penalty from Abdelkader’s high stick, when the Sharks fired home the winner, to take the first game of the series.

The second game saw the Wings move faster, and with more determination. That long break between the Phoenix game and the Sharks series did them no favours at all. This time, they looked a little sharper, but San Jose still had the edge. White scored a powerplay goal from the point, as he unleashed a laser into Howard’s net. The second became a scrappy affair, with Eager being given a misconduct for attempting to fight Bertuzzi, but ending up wrestling the Wings forward through the door into the bench. Into the 3rd, Wallin’s effort hit Howard and bounced over his shoulder into the goal. Freak occurrence, but the Sharks had a comfortable lead. Detroit came back with gusto and Zetterberg’s effort pulled one back for the Wings with Setagouchi in the box.

Current status: San Jose lead 2-0

Upcoming games (if required):
@Detroit, Wednesday 4th May 2011
@Detroit, Friday 6th May 2011
@San Jose, Sunday 8th May 2011
@Detroit, Tuesday 10th May 2011
@San Jose, Thurs. 12th May 2011

EAST

Washington’s fans were not comfortable with playing the Rangers in the opening round, but as it turned out, their fears were unfounded as the Capitals saw off the Rangers with a convincing 4-1 series win.

They will the Tampa Bay Lightning, who won their game 7 matchup with the Penguins 1-0, after some excellent work from Dwayne Roloson to keep the shutout and give the Lightning their victory. After being 3-1 down in the series, Roloson’s efforts in goal gave his team the defensive ability they needed to turn the series around.

Philly finally came good in their series against Buffalo, winning their Game 7 match 5-2, and showing what they were capable of after a few stuttering moments along the way. The goalie situation still needs to be addressed though.

Their next opponents are the Boston Bruins, who won the series against Montreal, and the final game 4-3 at the 7th time of asking. Nathan Horton won’t score many goals more important than his OT winner to clinch the series.

Washington v Tampa Bay

Game 1 saw the goalie matchup of Roloson vs Neuvirth, two of the best goalies in the post-season, according to stats. As it turned out, there were enough goals to go around, as the Lightning took the lead through Bergenheim, before Semin and Fehr put the Caps in front, and Downie then equalised. At 2-2, Stamkos scored the go-ahead with just seconds remaining in the 2nd. The 3rd period was a game of attrition and the test of Tampa Bay’s defence. With less than a minute left, Neuvirth left his net for the extra man, leaving Moore able to slot home an empty netter, sealing a 4-2 win for the Lightning.

Washington definitely came out the gate looking for revenge, and despite outshooting the Lightning 28-9 in the first two periods, they found themselves in a 1-1 tie. Veteran LeCavalier had given Tampa Bay a powerplay lead in the 1st nearly tearing the back of the net off with his powerful wrister, before the scores were levelled in the second by Laich’s backhander. St Louis and Ovechkin both scored wristers to keep the scores level, Ovechkin’s coming with just over a minute left in the 3rd. Into OT, and the Lightning came good with Vincent LeCavalier’s second goal, slotting the puck into the roof of Neuvirth’s net.

Current status: Tampa Bay lead 2-0

Upcoming games (if required):
@Tampa Bay, Tuesday 3rd May 2011
@Tampa Bay, Wednesday 4th May 2011
@Washington, Saturday 7th May 2011
@Tampa Bay, Monday 9th May 2011
@Washington, Wednesday 11th May 2011

Philadelphia v Boston

The opening game of these two teams, both Game 7 victors, was a hefty victory for the Bruins. With a 5-1 lead in the middle of the second, the Flyers clawed two goals back to make the Bruins a little nervous before Marchand and Campbell scored 3 minutes apart to secure a 7-3 victory and a 1-0 lead in the series. Philadelphia swapped Boucher out for Bobrovsky after 5 goals, and yet the backup still couldn’t settle, giving up 2 goals on 10 shots.

James Van Riemsdyk gave the Flyers great hope in game 2, scoring twice in the opening 10 minutes of the game. The Bruins didn’t roll over however, pulled two back themselves, Kelly and Marchand on the scoresheet. Some truly outstanding goaltending from Vezina candidate Tim Thomas kept the Bruins in it, especially in the 3rd where Thomas saved 22 shots in 20 minutes. At the end of the second, Boucher took a shot to the arm, and left the ice to be replaced again by Bobrovsky. Boucher was fine though, and returned for the 3rd. Into Overtime, and Boucher was beaten by David Krejci to win the second of the two games. Thomas saved a whopping 52 of 54 shots.

Current status: Boston lead 2-0

Upcoming games (if required):
@Boston, Wednesday 4th May 2011
@Boston, Friday 6th May 2011
@Philadelphia, Sunday 8th May 2011
@Boston, Tuesday 10th May 2011
@Philadelphia, Thurs. 12th May 2011

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Discussion

One comment for “Stanley Cup Playoffs: Round 2”

  1. I was at the game on Sunday and I was mentioning to my nephew that this is the third time we’ve been to a San Jose Sharks/Detroit Red Wings playoff series in the last, what, 5 years. So please tell me if I’m wrong BUT it seems like for the first time the Sharks are actually frustrating your Red Wings. Your team is usually like the terminator, they just keep coming after you no matter what you do. But this series I’ve actually seen tantrum-like outbursts (gasp) from your boys. Is it me or is that something new?!

    Posted by sharksfanNo Gravatar | May 3, 2011, 8:37 am

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