NHL Playoffs Update - 04.18.08
San Jose & Colorado take 3-2 series leads, Philadelphia & Dallas extend their leads to 3-1
Hockey fans love April as the Stanley Cup Playoffs give us something to look forward to every night as each game gets bigger and bigger as the NHL Playoffs roll on. Pro Hockey Fans staff writer Kevin Chaves brings us his latest update on the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Game 5 – Boston Bruins 5 – Montreal Canadiens 1
Saku Koivu missed his fifth consecutive game of the playoffs, probably because Montreal feels there is no need to rush him back against Boston, as the Bruins should be easily defeated without him. Yes, Montreal should easily handle these Bruins, but Boston will not give up and the Bruins are making this a close and scary series for the Canadiens.
Alexei Kovalev looked like a young Guy Lafleur when he scored the first goal of the game with his helmet-less hair flowing gracefully. It was a great start to a terrible game by the Canadiens who got spanked throughout the rest of the night. Not giving themselves enough opportunities to score and taking bad penalties did not help in this loss.
The Bruins managed an almost perfect special-teams night for the first time in a long time. Phil Kessel and Zdeno Chara scored power-play goals and Marco Sturm added a shorthanded goal that made the Canadiens look like a team of rookies.
Talk about a happy locker room afterwards as Boston will have well-deserved smiles on their faces and a boost of energy taking this series home where they will look to even things at 3-3.
Carey Price got unraveled in the third period of Game #5, letting in ugly goal after ugly goal. The confidence he gained after game four will not be there after this one.
Montreal Canadiens lead series 3-2.
Game 4 – Philadelphia Flyers 4 - Washington Capitals 3 (OT)
These two teams got involved in a marathon game Thursday night in Philadelphia, which was ended by Mike Knuble scoring in the second overtime.
Jeff Carter gave the Philly fans an incredible start by scoring less than a minute into the game. Too bad this celebration only lasted two minutes as Nicklas Backstrom popped in a goal on the PP for the Caps. The first period was full of action and ended with a 2-2 score.
Washington had a one goal lead heading into the third when the Caps took a “too many men” penalty. The playoffs do not show mercy to teams who take bad penalties as the Flyers took advantage and scored. For the first time in this series, and in Alexander Ovechkin’s career, a game went into overtime, and actually ended in two OT's.
The flow of both overtimes was intensely high and the hockey was great to watch. Ovechkin did have two assists in the game, but his poor marking ultimately cost Washington the game. Philadelphia was pressuring the entire second overtime and had the Capitals scrambling, until Mike Knuble finally ended the game, giving his team control of this series.
Game #4 was the best game of the series with circus saves, gorgeous goals and non-stop action from both teams. The Flyers can end this series on Saturday.
After 4 games, Ovechkin has just one goal in this series and it was the only game that the Capitals have won so far. Viktor Kozlov also needs to step up since he has yet to scored in the series.
Philadelphia Flyers lead series 3-1.
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Game 5 – San Jose Sharks 4 - Calgary Flames 3
All I keep thinking about is that 2-1 lead the Flames blew in Game #4 when they were five minutes away from taking a 3-1 lead in the series. They ended up losing that game and had another horrid defensive performance in Game #5 that led them to another tough loss.
This game played out a little slower than the previous games but still showed remarkable goaltending. Calgary did score first and Mikka Kiprusoff was doing his best to keep his team in this series, but he just cannot stop them all. San Jose scored four straight goals, including two from “the train,” Jonathan Cheechoo.
The Flames finished strong in the last half of the third period, when it was too late. Daymond Langkow scored a power-play goal at the ten minute mark, and with a pulled goalie, David Moss shoved a goal in with 1:15 left in the game. Down by one, with a minute left, something told me the Flames may actually tie this game up.
Unfortunately for Calgary, the Sharks held on. The Flames got themselves into a deep hole that they could not get out of. Hopefully, the Red Sea surges Calgary to a win in Game #6.
San Jose Sharks lead series 3-2.
Game 5 – Colorado Avalanche 3 – Minnesota Wild 2
Jose Theodore proved again that he may not be human. He made 38 saves, with at least 25 of them being unbelievable, incredible and game-saving. No question, he won this game for the Avalanche and gave them a lead in the series.
Marian Gaborik led the Wild in regular season points this year, with twenty more points than his second place teammate. However, he has yet to register a single point in the 2008 NHL Playoffs. He must start producing for the Wild to rebound and win this series.
The Avalanche are getting production from all four lines in different ways. The signing of Peter Forsberg has paid off again as he assisted on two goals.
Colorado Avalanche lead series 3-2.
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Game 4 – Dallas Stars 3 - Anaheim Ducks 1
Corey Perry made his debut in this year's playoffs and I hoped his presence would make a difference for Anaheim, but it did not. This is not looking good for my prediction of Anaheim as the 2008 Stanley Cup champs. The Ducks are in deep water as they lost Game #4 in Dallas.
The Stars got the game-winning goal from the veteran Stu Barnes on a beautiful break-away finish. Jean-Sebastien Giguere did not look good in this game. He looked like a bear ready to hibernate, just a big hunk of lard. Anaheim has to now win the remaining three games of this series or it's off to the golf course.
In the other net, Marty Turco is on the verge of winning his first playoff series in three attempts. He made 27 of 28 saves and has emerged as his own complete opposite of his past. Dallas showed great defense and poise at crucial times. Jinx, Jinx.
I am completely shocked by this. The Ducks are not showing the drive and will to win this series.
Dallas Stars lead series 3-1.
By Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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