Monday, April 26, 2010

The Playoffs, Day 12: Game Seven, but not for LA

Knew I should've stuck with my earlier prediction.

Phoenix forces special Game 7
One of the biggest storylines after Game 1 of Phoenix-Detroit was the Coyotes' woeful power play keying the victory. Then the power play sucked. Now it's good again.

But it was Lauri Korpikoski's shorthanded goal that sparked Phoenix to a 5-2 victory over Detroit to force Game 7 back in Glendale on Tuesday. The Coyotes scored three power play goals and their penalty killing foiled Detroit on all five of its attempts. Their power play had been 0-for-19 since Game 1.

Special teams is where the Red Wings lost the game. They'd gotten three power plays in the game's first five minutes, including two 5-on-3's, though one lasted only one second. The other was for over one minute and came shortly after Korpikoski staked Phoenix to a 1-0 lead at 4:10 of the opening period.

Ilya Bryzgalov was strong, particularly in the first period. He made 31 saves overall, including 14 in the first. In the second period, Mathieu Schneider's power play marker doubled Phoenix's lead, only for Brad Stuart to score 24 seconds later.

But the Coyotes took something of a stranglehold on the game by netting the next two goals before the second period expired. Radim Vrbata's power play goal off a nice pass from Robert Lang made it 3-1, and Petr Prucha's shot deflected off teammate Wojtek Wolski for Wolski's fourth goal and a 4-1 lead.

Taylor Pyatt made it three straight goals by converting Phoenix's fifth man-advantage of the game five minutes into the third period. Darren Helm made the score respectable with a goal in the last four minutes.

With few true snipers or playmakers, Phoenix has to rely on balance in its offense. It did Sunday, as only two skaters registered more than one point despite putting five goals behind Jimmy Howard. Pyatt had two and Keith Yandle posted two assists.

Sedin steps up, Vancouver ousts LA
A knock on the Sedin twins is they can't perform in the postseason. They're starting to do away with that reputation.

Daniel Sedin scored his fourth goal of the playoffs with 2:03 remaining in the third period to snap a 2-2 tie and Vancouver advanced to the second round following a 4-2 victory over Los Angeles. The Canucks won the series in six games.

Sedin also assisted on Kevin Bieksa's goal early in the final frame that tied the score at 2-2. On his game-winner, he picked up a loose puck and fired a shot that Kings goalie Jonathan Quick didn't seem to see until it was too late.

Alex Burrows sealed the victory with his first goal of the playoffs into an empty net. Henrik Sedin assisted on his brother's goal, giving Henrik eight points in the six games. Daniel Sedin recorded 10 points. Mikael Samuelsson didn't score but posted two helpers.

Alexander Frolov had given the Kings a 1-0 lead in the first period and Ryan Smyth had an excellent chance to double the score, but Roberto Luongo, who'd been flailing a bit in his cage, made a sensational glove save. Shortly afterward, Steve Bernier tied the score on the power play.

The Los Angeles power play failed to score for the first time in the series, but Drew Doughty laced a one-timer past Luongo (30 saves) three seconds after a power play ended to restore the Kings' lead. Officially, Los Angeles was 0-for-5 on the power play.

Quick started to show either nerves or fatigue as the series went along. He started off the playoffs admirably but his performance turned disappointing. Still, Quick individually and the Kings as a whole took an important first step. Another piece or two and a little more experience should turn Los Angeles into a dangerous team.

Stat of the night
1-3 - Vancouver's record in its last four series when holding a 3-2 lead. The Canucks had lost the previous three.

Quote of the night
"I said it before the series, home-ice advantage is only good if it comes down to a Game 7."
Phoenix coach Dave Tippett. The road team has won two games each in that series.

Monday predictions
Washington 6, Montreal 2
Buffalo 3, Boston 1
Chicago 4, Nashville 0 (following the trend)

No comments: