NHL Playoff Morning Papers (Thursday Edition): Canucks wouldn’t mind home-ice advantage in round two, Eric Nystrom reminds some his father and Marleau knows his role
San Jose Sharks (1) versus Anaheim Ducks (8)
- Patrick Marleau has to bring his “A” game into tonight’s criticial Game 4 contest, writes Mark Purdy. No question that the additions of Dan Boyle and Rob Blake have improved the Sharks’ power play immensely. Meanwhile, Torrey Mitchell had a hand in his return. If the Sharks win this series, it will be because their support cast has given Joe Thornton some support.
- In shocking news (sarcasm alert), penalties have been the achilles heel for the Ducks. The winner of this series may be determined by which team’s top defensemen play better, explains Dan Wood. Ducks rookie Bobby Ryan has been nominated for the Calder Trophy.
Detroit Red Wings (2) versus Columbus Blue Jackets (7)
- In Columbus, Red Wings Brad Stuart and Chris Osgood save their talking for the ice. Marian Hossa summed it up perfectly when he said that “winning is fun.” It may surprise you that Detroit has not had much success with sweeping teams out of the first round.
- The Blue Jackets have nothing to lose tonight, so they may as well play like it. Ken Hitchcock does not think his team is out of gas. The Wings’ puck possession style has been too much for the inexperienced Jackets.
Vancouver Canucks (3) versus St Louis Blues (6)
- The Canucks players and coaches think the team’s upcoming break can only be seen as a positive. Did Roberto Luongo get in the Blues’ heads? Luongo was the best player for Vancouver in round one, but the Sedins have vastly improved from their past playoff performances. Sure the Canucks won’t say who they want to face, but they would not mind home-ice advantage.
- The Blues can take a lot from their loss to the Canucks, writes Jeremy Rutherford. Both David Backes and T.J. Oshie are heading overseas to play for U.S. at the World Championships.
Chicago Blackhawks (4) versus Calgary Flames (5)
- After an impressive comeback, the Hawks fell short in Calgary and Chris Kuc thinks this series is bound to go seven games. Here are some Blackhawks notes.
- Eric Nystrom is becoming a cult hero in Calgary with his clutch playoff play. Mike Keenan gave credit to Eric’s dad Bobby for his ability to come through when it matters most. Nystrom was great, but Olli Jokinen also brought his top game yesterday. Flames fans were pumped up and relieved at the same time, after the Flames took Game 4. If the Flames advance in the playoffs, Wayne Primeau could return to the lineup.