NHL Playoffs Update - 04.22.08
Bye Bye Caps & Sharks Put Out Flames
The first round of the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs is complete after several exciting opening series. Pro Hockey Fans staff writer Kevin Chaves brings us his latest update on the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs as we now look ahead to the NHL conference semifinals.
Game 7 – Philadelphia Flyers 3 – Washington Capitals 2 (OT)
After leading the series 3-1, the Flyers finished this marathon the hardest way possible; winning in the seventh game in overtime. Joffrey Lupul, who has not done anything productive for about two weeks, instantly becomes a hero by scoring the early OT winner. As I predicted, the “Alexander Ovechkin Trip” would stop here.
This game was full of madness and emotion. Martin Biron made 39 saves, including Ovechkin's game high, nine shots on net. The entire game was back and forth with lead changes, hits, opportunities and clutch saves, until Tom Poti was called for the most crucial tripping penalty in his career during overtime.
"To have the referee decide the series like that, with two teams battling like that, is tough to swallow. I definitely didn't think it was a penalty," Poti said after the game to the press.
This penalty allowed the Flyers a power-play on which they scored, costing Washington their Stanley Cup hopes. Though his timing was extremely bad, this playoff series cannot be blamed on one player. Ironically enough, this was the first loss in the playoffs for the Caps in a game where Ovechkin scores.
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Washington is a very young team with an abundance of players experiencing the NHL playoffs for the first time. Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin and Mike Green all played exceptional during these seven games, but they may have been a little too small to grind with Philly for an entire series. The Olaf Kolzig era is more than likely over in Washington, with Cristabol Huet’s unbelievable play in the past month.
The Flyers officially advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals to face the #1-seeded Montreal Canadiens.
Just think. Philadelphia was the absolute worst team in the entire league last year...
Philadelphia Flyers win series 4-3.
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Game 7 – San Jose Sharks 5 – Calgary Flames 3
Well, my big upset was not absurd after all. I did pick the Flames to win this series in seven games, but it was the Sharks that stopped my parade in the seventh game. San Jose exploded in the second period to put this game out of reach for Calgary, while the fans in the Shark Tank got what they paid for.
After being benched for a few games this series, Jeremy Roenick was given a chance to prove his days of the past, and play in Game #7. He played this game as if it was his last in his career. Roenick has always been a player to lead as an example with his heart and desire to want to win.
So, after watching Game #6 in the suite upstairs, he rose to the occasion in the series finale with two goals and two assists. A clutch performance from a proven veteran.
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The Flames put on a great show this series, coming in as a severe underdog and almost stealing this match-up. Mikka Kiprusoff led the team this far and also sadly sent them packing home. There was not much else he could do after letting in four goals, on 30 shots before being pulled late in the second period.
Jarome Iginla and Dion Phaneuf scored all they could, conducting this team to three wins. The major problem for the Flames was the secondary scoring, or should I say none of. Craig Conroy and Kristian Huselius did not score one single goal - very disappointing.
This was a great series to watch as every game ended up being really close. The winning Sharks only outscored the Flames 19-15 in the seven games with each goalie earning a shutout.
San Jose now begins a new series with the Dallas Stars.
San Jose wins series 4-3.
By Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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