NHL Playoffs Second Round Coverage Continues
Thursday May 7
The Chicago Blackhawks again came from behind to secure a win, this time in game 4 against the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks scored first, midway through the second period. The score remained 1-0 until there was two and a half minutes left in the game, when Martin Havlat of the Blackhawks got his fourth playoff goal, sending the game to overtime. Just three minutes into the extra session, Andrew Ladd scored his second playoff goal to win the game for Chicago. The series was tied at 2-2, with game 5 taking place on Saturday.
The Detroit Red Wings opened up the flood gates against the Anaheim Ducks to tie their Western Conference semifinals match up at two a piece. Corey Perry gave the Ducks a lead just forty seconds into the game, however Johan Franzen would score twice in the period to give Detroit a 2-1 lead. Perry again opened up the scoring in the second period only to be outdone by another Red Wings player. This time Marion Hossa scored twice, and the Red Wings held a 4-2 lead. The Red Wings extended the lead to 5-2 in the third, and the Ducks scored once more on a Scott Neidermayer power play goal midway through the period. Detroit added an empty netter to win by a score of 6-3, with game 5 being held on Sunday.
Friday May 8
The Pittsburgh Penguins evened up their Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Washington Capitals by winning their second straight game, this one by a score of 5-3. Nicklas Backstrom gave the Capitals a lead just thirty seconds into the game; however the Penguins would score three times in the first period to answer. The Capitals scored the lone goal in the second period to bring the game closer at 3-2. Sidney Crosby then grabbed his ninth of this postseason four minutes into the third. The Capitals answered once more, this time on a short handed goal by Milan Jurcina. However Maxime Talbot sealed the game on a wrist shot with five minutes left in the third.
The Carolina Hurricanes won their third straight game against the Boston Bruins to gain a 3-1 series lead. Eric Staal got the only goal of the first period on the power play for this 8 th of the playoffs. Marc Savard answered for Boston in the second, also on the power play for his 5 th of the postseason. However the third period was all Carolina. Jussi Jokinen scored on the power play to retake the lead and the Canes never looked back, scoring twice more in the session, including Staal's second of the game, to win by the final tally of 4-1. Game 5 was held on Sunday in Boston, with the top seeded Bruins playoff lives at stake.
Saturday May 9
In game 5 of the Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks series, the Blackhawks won their second in a row to capture a 3-2 series lead. Chicago actually scored first at about 15 minutes into the opening period, although Vancouver answered two minutes later on a Ryan Kesler power play goal. In the second Mats Sundin gave Vancouver a 2-1 lead midway through the session and Chicago answered seven minutes later when Dustin Byfuglien scored on the power play for his second of the night. Fifteen minutes into the third, Dave Bolland gave Chicago the lead on a power play goal, and Martin Havlat added an empty netter for the final tally of 4-2. Game 6 will be on Monday evening in Chicago, as the Blackhawks have a chance to clinch on home ice.
In a rare playoff game played without a day's rest, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals met for game 5 of their series on Saturday. The Penguins won their third straight game in this Eastern Conference semifinals duel and now hold a 3-2 series lead. While Jordan Staal gave the Pens a 1-0 lead in the second period, by the end of the stanza the Capitals held the edge due to an Alex Ovechkin goal and a Nicklas Backstrom goal with an Ovechkin assist. The Penguins then scored twice in the first six minutes of the third period to regain a lead, now 3-2. Ovechkin got his second goal of the night and 10 th of the playoffs to tie the score at three and send the game into overtime. It looked like the Capitals had the momentum in their favor however it was Pittsburgh that scored three minutes into overtime via an Evgeni Malkin power play goal. Pittsburgh will have a chance to close out the series on home ice on Monday night.
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Sunday May 10
The Boston Bruins kept their postseason run alive for at least another game, forcing a game 6 to be held against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Bruins put on a dominating performance, winning 4-0, led by the all around play of Zdeno Chara and the goaltending of Tim Thomas. Phil Kessel tallied two of the team's four goals, both on assists from Marc Savard to help secure the win for Boston. The club needed to win game 5 at home just to extend the series, after they fell behind 3-1 on the strength of three consecutive Carolina wins. Game 6 in Carolina will be held Tuesday night.
The Detroit Red Wings continued to assert themselves over the Anaheim Ducks, this time winning 4-1 to grab a 3-2 series lead. Johan Franzen continued to prove to be worth his new contract, scoring his 7 th of the playoffs three minutes into the second to give Detroit a 1-0 lead. Jiri Hidler added a goal just forty seconds later for the Red Wings. Ryan Whitney scored on the power play for the Ducks ten minutes later to bring the score closer at 2-1. The score remained there until deep into the third period when Darren Helm grabbed his first postseason goal to boost the lead to 3-1. Henrik Zetterberg added an empty netter for his third point of the night to finish the Ducks off. The Red Wings will have a chance to clinch their Western Conference semifinals series on Tuesday night in Anaheim.
By Jake Emen
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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