Quantcast NHL Playoffs Update - 04.22.08
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NHL Playoffs Update - 04.22.08

Montreal Prevails In Blowout, Ovechkin Rises to Defeat Flyers

 

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 7 – Montreal Canadiens 5 - Boston Bruins 0

Holy smokes! What a lopsided game in this series finale. Montreal definitely came out to play last night, embarrassing Boston with an unexpected five goal win. The Canadiens had a huge game from the Kostitsyn brothers, Alexei Kovalev and Carey Price who blanked Boston. For the Bruins, their top two defensemen, Zdeno Chara and Aaron Ward, were a combined -7, making for disastrous night.

Montreal got off to quick 1-0 lead in the first period but seemed to disappear for the remainder of the frame. If not for Carey Price, the Habs would have been down by at least four goals. He played like an unbreakable machine in the period and held the Bruins offense off the scoreboard for the remainder of the game. The 20-year old Montreal goalie showed incredible composure and concentration as he stopped everything Boston could throw at him.

Kovalev contributed two assists in Game #7 while the Kostitsyn brothers tallied five points together. The importance of these players is crucial for a victory, yet we cannot forget the laborers of the team. Steve Begin, Tom Kostopoulos, Bryan Smolinski all provided pressure and punishment on the opposition that helped create turnovers. Take this, with the speed of the Montreal defense, besides Mike Komisarek, and this makes for a true contender in today’s hockey.

Boston went 0 for 6 on the power-play and did not manage great opportunities during these man advantages. Chara did not even apply one shot in the entire game, including on all the PP’s. Tim Thomas played stellar in this series, but he seemed to just give up as this game progressed. It was noticeable that every goal that got by him took a piece of his heart with it. The look of depression and disappointment was obvious in his eyes.

The Habs survived this series because of the play of Price and well-timed offense, but the PP was terrible. Terrible is actually being polite. Montreal finished the season with the number one power-play, and yet, only scored three goals on 33 chances during these seven games. This statistic will not get them by their next round opponent; changes are needed.

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This series came down to the educated guesser, in Tim Thomas, versus the student, in Carey Price. Hands down, Price won the match-up with his two shutouts and is no doubt the current Conn Smythe leader, for most valuable player in the playoffs.

Things that must change for Montreal to contend for the Cup:

  • Power-play must improve.

  • Must not depend as much on Carey Price.

  • Stay out of the penalty box.

Things that must continue for Montreal to contend for the Cup:

  • Carey Price.

  • The team stars to continue playing amazingly.

  • Carey Price.

Boston wrote a story this year that did not finish the way they wanted. I had Boston finished 14th in the Eastern Conference, and they made playoffs as the #8 seed. I also had the Bruins losing this series in five games, expecting no contest, and they forced seven games. The state of Massachusetts will agree that this team over-achieved this year and were one game away from advancing to the conference semifinals. No reason to feel ashamed.

Montreal Canadiens win series 4-3.

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Game 6 – Washington Capitals 4 – Philadelphia Flyers 2

Philadelphia looked to be advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals when they were up 2-0 early in the second period. That was until Washington broke out with four straight goals, two which came from Alexander Ovechkin. The Flyers failed to capitalize on three power-plays in the third period thanks in large part to Cristobal Huet, who again played a phenomenal game. Two games ago, the series was 3-1 in favor of Philly, but now these teams have a meeting in Game #7, in the nation's capital.

The Caps’ managed to tie the game by the end of the second period, after trailing 2-0 earlier in the period. Philadelphia has done a great job keeping Ovechkin frustrated, away from the net and had only allowed him to score one goal in the first six and half games of this series. “Alexander The Great” was a true game-breaker in Game #6, by hammering in two goals in the final period, leading his team a successful win.

Huet had a terrible start to the game, but he and Martin Biron stood on their heads again, making a total of 69 saves during the game. This was the first time in the series that the team that scored first had lost.

We should all realize how lucky we are to see a series like this one. The action, drama and expectations of each team have made for great hockey.

Game #7 should be a crazy finish to a crazy series.

 

 

By Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer

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