Friday and Saturday NHL Playoffs Recap
The action has really been starting to pick up here during the first round of the NHL playoffs. Games have been close, highly contested and we have even seen a bunch of overtime games already. Here's a recap of Friday and Saturday's NHL playoffs action.
On Friday night in New Jersey, the Carolina Hurricanes evened up their series against the New Jersey Devils by winning 2-1 in overtime. Both teams got on the board in the first period, however no scoring was done in either the second or the third periods of play. In overtime, Carolina found an edge, and out shot the Devils 5-0 in just under three minutes of action. Tim Gleason put home the winning goal 2:40 into the extra session.
Game 2 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers also went into overtime, although it would extend much farther than the Devils and Hurricanes foray. The Flyers looked like they would be able to tie the series at one a piece. They held a 1-0 and a 2-1 lead, but couldn't hold it on either occasion. For the Penguins, it wasn't youngsters Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin that led the day, it was veteran, trade deadline acquisition Bill Guerin. Guerin scored twice, including the game winner on a 5-3 Power Play with just about 90 seconds remaining in the first OT period. The Penguins won 3-2 now lead the series 2-0.
In Vancouver now extra time would be needed for the Canucks to take care of the St. Louis Blues and capture a 2-0 series lead. The game started with a fast pace and back and forth action, although neither team scored through almost an entire two periods. Finally, veteran Mats Sundin put the Canucks ahead with less than two minutes remaining in the second. It would be all that Roberto Luongo needed, as he turned away all 30 shots he faced to notch his first career playoff shutout. The Canucks tallied two more goals, including an empty netter, to win by a final score of 3-0.
Moving to Saturday's action, the New York Rangers stunned the home-standing Washington Capitals for the second straight game. In an intense and highly charged game, Henrik Lundqvist took control and shut out the vaunted Capitals attack. He saved all 35 shots that he faced, enabling the Rangers to cling onto a 1-0 lead they acquired early in the first period. Standout young star Ryan Callahan had the only goal of the game. The Rangers defense shut down Alex Ovechkin and committed a minimal amount of penalties, never allowing the Capitals power play to get off the ground running. The Rangers now head back to Madison Square Garden with a 2-0 series lead.
For a brief few minutes in the second period, it looked like the Montreal Canadiens might be able to win Game 2 against the Boston Bruins. Losing 2-0 after the first, Alexei Kovalev scored just 46 seconds into the second to bring the score to 2-1. Four minutes later the Bruins answered to regain a two goal advantage. By the time the second period was over, the score was 5-1 and the Canadiens were reeling. Boston leads 2-0 in this rivalry match up.
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The Detroit Red Wings continued their dominating performance over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets, a feel good story for the season, have been terrifically outmatched by the veteran defending champions. On Saturday, the Red Wings won 4-0 to capture a 2-0 series lead. The Wings got three of their four goals on the power play, while continuing to shutdown the Blue Jackets, out shooting them 39-25.
The Calgary Flames were getting into a groove against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday. Star Jarome Iginla gave the team a 1-0 lead on a power play goal midway through the first period. Iginla then assisted on Adrian Aucoin goal later in the period to extend the lead to 2-0. The second period would not be so kind to the Flames, as the upstart Blackhawks charged back to gain control of the game. Bookending the period with a goal within the first and last minute of action was young captain Jonathon Toews. In between, Patrick Sharp notched a goal for the Blackhawks. Altogether it was enough for a 3-2 lead, and when nobody scored again in the third, it would be the final score. The Blackhawks now lead the Flames 2-0 in the series.
By Jake Emen
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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