First round playoff hockey. You can’t beat it! But if you’re looking at gettin’ a good night’s sleep and being well rested for your day job while all this is going on, forget it. The offices of The Rat Trick are fully involved in all the playoff action, and after following parts of five games last night we find ourselves running a bit behind schedule. As you can see from the above photo, of my business partner bringing me to a meeting this morning that we’re a bit late for.
Anyways, starting with Pittsburgh and Ottawa, a series that many thought would be closer than it’s really been, is finding the Penguins pulling away after last night’s 7-4 victory in Ottawa. The Pens are just too much for Ottawa, a team that’s just not able to keep pace, has some injuries, and is looking for more compete from their star players. Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza, two of the missing links, scored their first two markers of the series and may be waking up, although a bit late. Crosby (see I was nice), had a stellar game with two goals and two assists, now has 11 points so far in the series. The Scotiabank Place was packed and loud, but that didn’t make a difference in this one as starting goalie Brian Elliott was chased in favor of Pascal Leclaire. No difference. The Sens just can’t keep up. On the brink of elimination, Ottawa must win Thursday night. Or it’s over!
Over in Detroit, the Red Wings needed a big game from rookie netminder Jimmy Howard, or the possibility of seeing Chris Osgood wake up from his nap was going to become a reality. Howard came through with a 29 save performance against the Desert Dogs, who were missing their leader Shane Doan, out with a shoulder injury. Hank Zetterberg scored twice and Pavel Datsyuk added a goal himself to lead the Wings to a 3-0 victory and evening up the series at two a piece. Howard was so good and composed he even made a save without his helmut to add to the theatrics. Ilya Breezy (too tired to spell it right) made 32 saves for Phoenix, and after one the game was locked at zero, but Hank put the Wings on the board with less than five minutes to go in the second and Detroit just took over from there. Back to Phoenix for game five and now this becomes a best of three. Something tells me it’s going down to the wire.
The Flyers on the other hand are about to leave Marty Brodeur and the Devils behind as they now have a commanding 3-1 series lead. Jeff Carter and Danny Briere came out of hibernation leading Philly to a 4-1 victory. When the Flyers lead a series three games to one their record is 17 -2. One of those blown leads was with current goaltender Brian Boucher in net, and now ten years later Booosh is looking to make up for that. I won’t say he’s been great, but he’s certainly been good enough and is making the right saves when needed. New Jersey’s problem seems to be scoring. Nine goals in four games just isn’t enough and not even Marty Brodeur is going to be able to save them this time unless the offence picks up. No word on Ilya Kovalchuk, as in where is he, and Jamie Langenbrunner is also nowhere to be found. Philly has firepower and is playing solid defensively. Just what you need in the playoffs. This could be over Thursday night.
David Legwand the first player ever drafted by the Nashville Predators was one of the keys to victory last night for the Preds as they handled the Chicago Blackhawks quite nicely beating them 4-1. Pekka Rinne is looking like an all-star goalie as well, with a number of clutch and timely saves. Rinne made 26 saves last night and has allowd only two even strength goals, while his Preds teammates have seemingly figured out a way to shut down the Hawks. Penalties played into this one as last night in the first the Hawks had to kill three in a row, which took them out of their game. Instead of Chicago playing puck control, the Preds beat the Hawks at their own game. Coach Q has some work to do and has to stop juggling the lines so much. I probably counted 20 different combinations and after that I stopped. That shit might work in the regular season, but it’s not gonna work now. I’m not going to say I’m nervous, but I am concerned. Although Nashville has never won more than two games in any playoff series. This one probably goes seven. I think I just threw up in my mouth alittle.
Redemption is a wonderful thing and for Dan Boyle it couldn’t come fast enough. After Sunday nights gaffe where he scored the winner for Colorado, he got San Jose on the board first last night, and also made a stellar defensive play to thwart a Colorado scoring attempt in overtime with a diving play. Joe Pavelski scored the winner in O.T. and San Jose now has the series tied at two a piece. It’s amazing to me how the Sharks are hanging on with out anything from Joe Thornton, Patty Marleau, and Dany Heatley. The big line has been invisible. Thornton known for his playoff disappearances was defended yesterday on Hockey Central (Fan 590 radio in Toronto)by T.V.analyst Drew Remenda, that Joe’s playing hard and he’s creating chances. He’s working and things will come together. Seeing is believing, and we’ll see how this turns out, but if the Sharks are eliminated, you can bet big/nice Joe gets most of the blame. He’s great during the regular season, but as for playoffs? This one I think goes seven as well.
More action tonight and don’t forget to check out our Versus link for all the highlights.
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