Friday, April 16, 2010

The Playoffs, Day 2: Overtime goodness

Still mad at Chris Stewart, but we got two overtime games Thursday. Good stuff.

Good God, that's Craig Rivet's music!
But before we get to the OT games, let's take a moment to honor the career of Buffalo defenseman Craig Ri...wait, he's still playing?! Good Lord.

That's right, the Ghost of Playoffs Past proved to be one of the pivotal players in Buffalo's 2-1 victory over Boston. Sabres captain Craig Rivet, who's had two semi-decent offensive seasons in his career (peaking at eight goals in 2001-02 and 35 points in 2007-08), scored at 14:10 of the second period to snap a 1-1 tie.

Actually, I don't know why I'm using the Christmas Carol joke for Rivet. It doesn't make much sense, but it sounded good when I thought of it at the time. Anyway.

The goal was the fourth of Rivet's playoff career. He'd scored just three goals in 142 regular season games with Buffalo over the last two seasons. Thomas Vanek also scored for the Sabres. Mark Recchi scored for Boston.

Shockingly, Ryan Miller played well, making 38 saves. Counterpart Tuukka Rask made 30.

Plekanec adds to top seeds' misery
I know what the Penguins' excuse is for losing to Ottawa. (They suck.) I guess I kinda know what New Jersey's is. (The Devils aren't good in the playoffs anymore.) Washington's? Dunno.

It might have something to do with Slovakia though. Or the former Czechoslovakia in its entirety, actually. Jaroslav Halak made 45 saves - including 18 in the first period - and Tomas Plekanec took advantage of the opening defenseman Joe Corvo gave him and lasered a shot past Jose Theodore with 6:41 left in overtime to give Montreal a 3-2 victory over Washington, the third lower-seed to win in the East and the second eight-seed to win Game 1 of its series.

Alex Ovechkin logged 26:26 of ice time (including 7:39 of a possible 8:00 on the power play) but failed to register a shot on goal. He had five shots blocked and three that missed the net. Credit Jaroslav Spacek - who assisted on Plekanec's goal - and Hal Gill for excellent defensive work on Ovechkin. Gill blocked an astounding nine shots and Spacek three.

Michael Cammalleri scored his first goal since the eighth grade picnic and Scott Gomez also scored for Montreal. Gomez's goal tied the score at 2-2 with 12:26 left in regulation.

Nicklas Backstrom and Corvo had goals for the Capitals. Jose Theodore made 35 saves.

Quick learner, slow loser
I so wanted to go with just "Quick learner" after the start Jonathan Quick had to his first career playoff game. It ended poorly, but it wasn't his fault.

Mikael Samuelsson scored his second goal of the game with a blistering one-timer nine minutes into overtime and Vancouver became just the third home team to win its series opener, 3-2 over Los Angeles. Fredrik Modin had forced overtime with a power play goal when the Kings enjoyed a five-minute man-advantage when Andrew Alberts was ejected for boarding.

Quick was sensational, particularly early. He made 41 saves, 17 in the first period. Several of those were phenomenal stops. Alex Burrows had a couple prime chances but was stopped by Quick.

Jarret Stoll opened the game's scoring in the first minute of the second period with a power play goal when Alberts was in the box, but the Canucks countered with goals by Samuelsson and a real nifty one by Daniel Sedin. Henrik Sedin had two assists and Bob Luongo made 25 saves. Luongo also made a sprawling play to swipe a puck literally from off the goal line shortly before Samuelsson's winner. A couple more inches and the Kings would've won. But then, we could all use a couple more inches, am I right?

Stat of the night
1 - Times during the regular season Ovechkin was held without a shot on goal.

Quote of the night
"There was a couple of jokes thrown at (Plekanec) after the game, I'm not going to lie to you."
Cammalleri, referring to the trash-talk earlier in the week between Plekanec and Theodore. Plekanec said Washington's goalies weren't exactly Martin Brodeur or Ryan Miller. Theodore said Plekanec isn't exactly countryman Jaromir Jagr. Montreal listed Plekanec's number in the locker room as Jagr's 68 instead of Plekanec's 14. By the way, Plekanec is not a fun name to type. Fun to say, but not type.

Friday's predictions
Pittsburgh 4, Ottawa 2
New Jersey 3, Philadelphia 1
Chicago 3, Nashville 2
Detroit 4, Phoenix 1
Colorado 4, San Jose 2 (That's right, I might already be off the "San Jose in six" prediction.)

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