NHL Playoff Morning Papers (Friday Edition): Ovechkin reads Capitals message boards, Sharks lay an egg and who will return to Montreal next season?
Boston Bruins (1) versus Montreal Canadiens (8)
- After being so injured last playoffs, the Bruins realize just how important rest is during the playoffs. This Boston team just has a quiet confidence about them. Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara has been nominated for the Norris Trophy.
- It appears the sale of the Montreal Canadiens this summer is inevitable. It may be an understatement to say that Bob Gainey is not a fan of the Tampa Bay management. Carey Price sat and faced the bright lights of the Montreal media on Thursday. What’s next for long-time Canadien forward and leader Saku Koivu? If there is talk that Bob Gainey won’t be back next season for Montreal, it doesn’t appear to have come from Gainey himself, as he says he has work to do when it comes to the Habs’ off-season. Alexei Kovalev has voiced his interest in returning to the Habs.
Washington Capitals (2) versus New York Rangers (7)
- The Capitals have the same difficult task they were faced with last season against Philadelphia, writes Barry Syrluga. You’d be surprised to know that Alexander Ovechkin reads Capitals message boards. Capitals defenseman Mike Green has been nominated for the Norris Trophy. Illegal Curve’s Ari Baum-Cohen calculated the Capitals’ odds of coming back in this series.
- John Tortorella wouldn’t say whether he’d healthy scratch Sean Avery for Game 5 tonight. Chris Drury has his team pumped up for tonight’s possible clinching game at the Verizon Center.
New Jersey Devils (3) versus Carolina Hurricanes (6)
- After blowing the game late in Game 4, the Devils hung on to defeat the Hurricanes 1-0 yesterday at The Rock. The Devils are now focused on Sunday’s Game 6. It is truly amazing how clutch Martin Brodeur is.
- The Hurricanes were shutout by Martin Brodeur last night, but they are holding their heads high. With last night’s game behind them, the Hurricanes’ focus has shifted directly to Game 6. Anton Babchuk was a healthy scratch on Thursday night.
Pittsburgh Penguins (4) versus Philadelphia Flyers (5)
- “We didn’t play as well as we could,” said Penguins veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar about his team’s performance in Game 5. Petr Sykora was not in the lineup for Pittsburgh on Thursday and was surprised to find out the news. Give Dan Bylsma credit for making a difficult lineup decision concerning Sykora. A storm in Atlanta caused many Penguins fans to miss the majority of yesterday’s game on television.
- Claude Giroux is becoming a Flyers fan favorite with his play in the first round. Giroux is becoming a favorite, but the Flyers couldn’t have won last night without a terrific performance from Martin Biron. Depth helps; as Flyers fourth liner Arron Asham turned the tide of Thursday’s tilt. Right now, Philadelphia simply has to focus on one game at a time.
San Jose Sharks (1) versus Anaheim Ducks (8)
- It will all come down to Saturday for the Sharks, after a terrible performance last night in Anaheim. The Sharks just are not playing with any purpose right now, opines Mark Purdy. When are the Sharks going to trade Joe Thornton?
- Anaheim’s performance in Game 4 was their best of the series so far, writes Dan Wood. Bobby Ryan is playing a ten-year veteran for the Ducks, writes Helene Elliot. Ryan’s linemates were pretty darn good too. In surprising news, the Ducks finished with less penalties than the Sharks.
Detroit Red Wings (2) versus Columbus Blue Jackets (7)
- Not only did the Red Wings sweep the Blue Jackets, but they didn’t even trail in the series once. The Wings really looked like a well-oiled machine the entire series. Columbus fans were not happy after a late third period penalty call and actually hit Wings coach Mike Babcock with debris. In non-playoff news, Nicklas Lidstrom was once again nominated for the Norris Trophy.
- Sure the Jackets were down 3-0 in the series heading into last night’s game, but the way they lost the series may sting for a while, writes Aaron Portzline. For all the anger from the Blue Jackets team and fans, GM Scott Howson says the officials got the late penalty call right. Last night’s loss may have been painful, but there is nothing for the Columbus player to be ashamed of.
Vancouver Canucks (3) versus St Louis Blues (6)
- Just how important is Roberto Luongo to the Canucks’ success? Luongo doesn’t have the best record of playing well after long layoffs, but he is not worried about the past. The Blues were a perfect appetizer for the Canucks, writes Cam Cole.
- Blues defensemen Jay McKee and Eric Brewer will both be undergoing post-season surgery.
Chicago Blackhawks (4) versus Calgary Flames (5)
- Eric Duhatschek talks about the similarities of Eric Nystrom to his father. Andre Roy has been suspended by the NHL for Game 5.
- After a tough Game 4, the Hawks aren’t suddenly going to lose confidence in Nikolai Khabibulin. For a young team, do not expect the Blackhawks players to panic, writes Tim Sassone. Interestingly, the Hawks were given Thursday off. More Chicago players have to play like Kris Versteeg.