First Round NHL Playoff Action Continues: Tuesday Night
On Tuesday night there was an exciting full slate of first round NHL playoff games for us to enjoy. One team has moved on to the next round, as other series are continuing to shake out. Here's a look at everything that happened in the NHL on Tuesday night.
The Pittsburgh Penguins dealt the Philadelphia Flyers a tough hand as they extended their lead to 3-1 in the series and now move back to Pittsburgh for game 5. The Penguins won 3-1 in the game on the strength of Marc Andre Fleury's amazing play in net. The Flyers had an astounding 46 shots in the game, but Fleury's excellent netminding kept the Penguins in control of the game.
Sidney Crosby scored the first goal of the game in the second period, as he slid into the goal and the puck bounced off of his stick and then his body and into the net. Tyler Kennedy opened the lead to 2-0 just four minutes later. Dainel Carcillo finally got a shot past Fleury midway through the third before the Penguins tacked on an empty netter in the last minute of action.
D doesn't just stand for Detroit, it stands for Dominance, as the Red Wings flew past the Columbus Blue Jackets yet again to open a 3-0 series lead. In the first ever NHL playoffs game in Columbus, the Red Wings took the crowd out of the game early, scoring just one minute into the first period on a Tomas Holmstrom backhand shot, assisted by Marian Hossa. Dan Cleary added a goal in the last minute of the first period, and Henrik Zetterberg scored in the second for a 3-0 lead.
The Blue Jackets finally got on the board in the last four minutes of the game on a R.J. Umberger power play goal, and Zetterberg closed the game out with an empty netter for his second of the game. Final score was 4-1. The Red Wings have scored four goals in all three games thus far, and have only given up a combined two to the Blue Jackets, both by Umberger.
The Vancouver Canucks have become the first team to advance to the second round as they completed their sweep over the St. Louis Blues. It's not that the Blues didn't try to win, they out shot Vancouver 49-36 over three periods and an overtime session. It's just that in a series that was far closer than the results indicated, the Canucks managed to escape every time while the Blues could never capitalize.
Midway through the second period the Canucks had opened up a 2-0 lead. St. Louis then scored twice in the next seven minutes to tie the score. With no scoring in the third, the game went into overtime. It took 19 minutes and 41 seconds of the first overtime session until Alexandre Burrows scored his second of the game and third of the series to put the final nail in the Blues' coffin.
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In the most evenly matched first round NHL playoff series this year, the Carolina Hurricanes managed to tie themselves up at two a piece with the New Jersey Devils. It was a game the Hurricanes needed to win, not just to avoid a 3-1 series deficit, but because in the game they once held a 3-0 lead. That lead lasted until the final 30 seconds of the second period, when Brian Gionta finally put the Devils on the board. The first two periods were utter domination for Carolina, as they out shot New Jersey 37-17.
In the third period the Devils scored twice in the first ten minutes to shockingly tie the game. With the score tied at three and a golden opportunity seemingly lost for the Hurricanes, a third straight overtime game seemed assured. Then, with .2 seconds left on the clock – literally - Jussi Jokinen tipped in a shot from Dennis Seidenberg for the win. The good news for the Devils is that despite their failed comeback efforts, the teams have been alternating wins, which means it's New Jersey's turn. They'll also have home ice in game 5 to work with.
In the final game on Tuesday evening, the San Jose Sharks were able to scratch out a win against the Anaheim Ducks. It's not often when an overall number 1 seed in the playoffs has to scratch out a win in the opening round. But down 2-0 in the series and being on the road, the Sharks were in desperation mode. They captured the lead just five minutes into the game on a Rob Blake goal. The story of the night though would be the Ducks' responses, as three times in the game San Jose got the lead and three times Anaheim answered back to tie the score. Finally, midway through the third captain Patrick Marleau got his first goal of the playoffs on the power play to give the Sharks the decisive 4-3 advantage. Dan Boyle tallied two goals and an assist on the evening for the Sharks.
By Jake Emen
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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