Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Playoffs, Day 11: Overtime thrillers; Boyle's Revenge

Wow. Those first two games were incredible.

From goat to hero
When Dan Hamhuis went flying into the boards Saturday afternoon, my friend said, "There's another city who hates Marian Hossa." Don't know if he was referring to Chicago or Nashville, but the five-minute major in the final 63 seconds with the Blackhawks losing by one probably turned Illinois against Hossa.

Oh how things can change.

Patrick Kane scored an improbable shorthanded goal with Antti Niemi on the bench for an extra attacker with 13.6 seconds remaining in regulation and Hossa scored his first goal of the playoffs in overtime 10 seconds after his major penalty for boarding expired to give Chicago a stunning 5-4 victory over the Predators to take a 3-2 series lead.

The Predators have to be wondering what the hell went wrong. They'd scored three straight goals, including a pair in the third period by Martin Erat, to take a 4-3 lead. David Legwand put Nashville ahead 1-0 before goals by Andrew Ladd, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Tomas Kopecky put the Blackhawks in front by two.

Joel Ward's shorthanded goal sparked Nashville's comeback. It was the Predators' first special teams goal of the series. They are 0-for-21 on the power play.

Penguins storm back to eliminate Ottawa
Damn Penguins are taking years off my life.

Pascal Dupuis laced a wrist shot over Pascal Leclaire's shoulder 9:56 into overtime and Pittsburgh capped off a three-goal comeback to eliminate Ottawa, 4-3, in six games. The Penguins had an 18-4 shots edge in the third period, which they entered trailing 3-1.

Matt Cooke scored twice, once coming 1:08 after the Senators took a 3-0 lead, and again with 7:36 remaining in regulation to tie the score at 3-3. In between his goals, Bill Guerin's power play marker got Pittsburgh to within one. The Penguins won despite getting no points from Sidney Crosby for the first time in the series and just one assist from Evgeni Malkin.

Dupuis also had an assist and Jordan Staal posted two helpers, including setting up Dupuis' winner. Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves.

Ottawa built its three-goal lead on goals by Matt Cullen, Chris Neil and Daniel Alfredsson. Leclaire was valiant in defeat, stopping 39 shots and couldn't do a whole lot on the goals. Anton Volchenkov was again phenomenal at blocking shots, finishing with six, including one off his chest at the end of the second period.

Going to be interesting training camp next season for the Senators. Brian Elliott basically got them to the playoffs, where he was awful, and it was Leclaire who kept them alive. Ottawa didn't lose Game 6 because of Leclaire.

Thank goodness for the other Joe
If not for Joe Pavelski, who knows where San Jose would be. At least Dan Boyle can now laugh off - for good - his Game 3 blunder.

Boyle scored to tie the game at 2-2 in the third period and Joe Pavelski scored his second of the game 1:29 later in San Jose's 5-2 victory over Colorado to win the series four games to two and advance to the second round.

Pavelski's first goal of the game came less than a minute in and staked the Sharks to an early lead. He has five goals in the playoffs, four more than the combined total of teammates Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau.

The Avalanche grabbed a 2-1 lead on goals by Marek Svatos in the second period and Brandon Yip early in the third before Boyle and Pavelski struck. Devin Setoguchi and Douglas Murray scored empty net goals in the final minute to seal the series.

Evgeni Nabokov needed to make just 16 saves. Both Pavelski and Murray had three points.

Stat of the night
3-13 - San Jose's record in Game 6 of a series.

Quote of the night
"Nothing tops it. Thirteen seconds left to tie and keep us in the series, probably. Going to Nashville down 3-2, that would be a tough game to win."
Kane, on his game-tying goal

Sunday predictions
This is tough. I picked Detroit to win its series in seven. Do I predict a Phoenix win in Game 6?

Detroit 4, Phoenix 2 (Nope)
Los Angeles 3, Vancouver 2

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