NHL Playoffs Update - 04.19.08
New York Advances, Anaheim Survives, Franzen Becomes Overtime Hero In Detroit
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 – New York 5 – New Jersey 3
The newly-built arena showed bad luck this year in New Jersey, as the Devils lost all three playoff games in their inaugural season. These three loses, plus the one in New York, add up to their exit out of this year's playoffs and ends another poor playoff showing.
Martin Brodeur got out-played by Henrik Lundqvist in every game this series, even the one game that the Devils won. For the second consecutive game the Rangers scored five goals on Brodeur, thanks a large part to Sean Avery, who visibly got on the nerves on the Devils goalie. The bad blood was proven at the end of the game, when during the traditional series ending hand shake, Brodeur decided to ignore and not shake the hand of Avery.
During the postgame conference, the New Jersey goalie was quoted saying: "I shook everybody's hand but one.” That was obviously the hand of the smartest, grittiest player on New York.
Brian Gionta scored the first goal of the game for New Jersey but this lead did not last long. Eighteen seconds later, Michal Rozsival scored an equalizer followed by three more New York goals, giving the Rangers a lead they would keep to finish this series. John Madden did miss an essential penalty shot in the third period that could have tied the game at that point. This, as we now know, proved very costly.
This was the first game in the entire series that the team that scored first, lost.
All credit to the Rangers, who have played extraordinary hockey in every domain. The goaltending has been remarkable as we all saw Lundqvist out-last and out-play the experienced Brodeur. New York only allowed twelve goals to the nineteen that they scored in the five games played.
The Rangers will either have a date in Montreal or Pittsburgh for the second round, with the current odds being with the Canadiens.
New York Rangers win series 4-1.
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Game 5 – Anaheim Ducks 5 - Dallas Stars 2
As I wrote previously, Game #4 saw Jean-Sebastien Giguere play like a pylon who needed to pick up his game for the Ducks to have any chance in this series. In Game #5 he played his post-season game of the year, making forty saves to keep his team from being eliminated. Anaheim pulled off a vital win to keep their hopes alive in their Stanley Cup defense.
The Ducks did an excellent job of drawing penalties in this game, capitalizing on two of those opportunities. Ryan Getzlaf and Teemu Selanne each ended the game with a goal and an assist each, while combining for eleven shots. Chris Pronger did a great job shutting down the Dallas offense, using his size at a high tempo, despite the fact he played twenty-seven minutes of this game. Game #5 showed that the Ducks have some fight left in them and will not die easily.
The Stars take this series home to Dallas where they hope to win the series. Marty Turco has another opportunity to break his history of first round exits.
Dallas Stars lead series 3-2.
Game 5 – Detroit Red Wings 2 - Nashville Predators 1 (OT)
Detroit's head coach, Mike Babcock, chose to start Chris Osgood over Dominic Hasek in Game #5 after pulling "The Dominator" in Game #4 for Osgood. This proved to be a wise decision considering that Osgood only allowed one goal and helped the Wings win this emotional game early in overtime.
The Predators played the game without Jason Arnott and David Legwand due to a foot injury and flu-symptoms respectfully. This helped the Detroit defense enormously, as the Nashville offense was not present for the first fifty-nine minutes of the game. According to my math, that leaves one minute of offense on which they scored a gigantic goal.
Radek Bonk scored the tying goal in the last minute of the game after Nashville pulled their goalie and applied serious pressure. After the goal, the emotions were high for the Preds’ as this game headed to overtime. Unfortunately for the third time in this series, the Preds’ wasted a great performance from their goalie, Dan Ellis.
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But an unlikely hero emerged as Johan Franzen put a goal away that seemed to shatter the dreams of the Nashville Predators. Detroit is now one win away from ending this series that has taken much longer than expected. I do feel bad for the Preds’ who are putting their hearts and souls into this, but they just do not have the power to beat the Wings in a seven game series.
While the road teams have not won a game yet in this series, the time has come for this to change. Elimination is coming for Nashville in Game #6 in their own barn.
Congratulations to Nicklas Lidstrom for playing in his 197th playoff game for Detroit, surpassing former NHL great and Red Wing captain Steve Yzerman.
Detroit Red Wings lead series 3-2.
By Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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