NHL Playoff Morning Papers (Friday Edition): Canucks pull it out late, Jagr likes Edmonton, Phoenix’s troubles and Jeff Carter played with separated shoulder
2nd Round Playoff Matchups
Boston Bruins (1) versus Carolina Hurricanes (6)
- Kevin Paul Dupont predicts the Bruins win in six games. Former Hurricanes defenseman Aaron Ward knows just how good some of the Carolina weapons are. So far this season, Zdeno Chara has shutdown Eric Staal. Here are the Canes that Bruins fans have to watch for. Also, here are the five keys to winning for the Bruins.
- It is hard not to fall in love with the Hurricanes at playoff time, writes Luke Decock. Decock also provides Carolina’s three keys to winning this series. That said, there is no secret who the Canes will be relying on to win this series. Here is a breakdown of the team’s four regular season matchups. Finally, Decock says Boston in seven.
Washington Capitals (2) versus Pittsburgh Penguins (4)
- Corey Masisak of the Washington Times previews every aspect of this series. (Writer’s note: He did the same on the IC Radio Show this week. Click here to listen to the show, and fast-forward to the 30 minute mark to hear Corey.) After dispatching the lowly Rangers attack, Simeon Varlamov’s task gets a lot more difficult. Ryan O’Halloran thinks a quick start for Washington is imperative. Check out this interesting profile on Capitals defenseman Mike Green. Finally, there was even more rest for Ovechkin on Thursday.
- Crosby versus Ovechkin is going to be as good as people are making it out to be. Since his return from injury, Sergei Gonchar has a been a steadying force on Pittsburgh’s back-end. Gonchar’s countryman wants the Cup as bad as anyone. This series is going to have so much intensity, it will be a fan’s dream.
Detroit Red Wings (2) versus Anaheim Ducks (8)
- The Wings are hoping they get to Jonas Hiller just like they did Steve Mason. Mike Babcock isn’t pulling any punches, as he wants all penalties called this series. Helene St. James breaks down the series position by position. What is Kris Draper’s injury status? Here are predictions for the series from the Detroit Free Press staff.
- Not surprisingly, Ducks coach Randy Carlyle wants his team to cutdown on its penalties coming into Detroit. Speaking of Carlyle, there is a clear mutual respect between him and Mike Babcock. The Ducks are aware just how dangerous the Red Wings are. Here is a recap of the season series between the two squads this season. So, who is going to win?
Vancouver Canucks (3) versus Chicago Blackhawks (4)
- The Canucks pulled out a wild 5-3 win at GM Place on Thursday night. Ed Willes cannot get over how strange yesterday’s game was. Leafs fans may not recognize this Kyle Wellwood, but he was a game-changer last night. Vanouver will take the win, but they know they can be a lot sharper in Game 2. Meantime, the Canucks have added Jeff Cowan to the team’s playoff taxi squad.
- “It’s tough to lose like that, especially with a minute left,” said Blackhawks sniper Patrick Kane. The Hawks blew a pretty good chance yesterday, opines Steve Rosenbloom. Even so, there is a lot that Chicago can take from this game. In fact, Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times thinks yesterday’s performance was a strong statement from Chicago.
Teams that have been eliminated from the playoffs:
- Two Blue Jackets, Jan Hejda and Alex Picard, underwent wrist surgery on Wednesday.
- Jeff Carter was playing in the playoffs with a separated shoulder. (Writer’s note: He really didn’t look right, so this doesn’t surprise me.)
- The city of San Jose and the entire Sharks organization is mourning the passing of Frank Jirik.
- Sean Avery believes that Rangers coach John Tortorella will make him a better player. Just how similar are Avery and Tortorella? Speaking of Tortorella, he came out yesterday and apologized for his water bottle incident. “It was a terrible year, not only the way the team ended, but personally,” said Scott Gomez.
- “We’re 48 hours away from the most devastating loss I’ve had as a coach or a player,” said Devils coach Brent Sutter. Brian Gionta is an UFA this summer and he says he wants to comeback to play for the Devils. Meantime, Zach Parise is just plain tired of losing.
Teams that did not make the playoffs:
- Dan Bickley wonders if the city of Phoenix would miss the Phoenix Coyotes in this morning’s Arizona Republic?
- “And if I ever got there (back to the NHL), they would be my No. 1 pick because they showed me the interest first. I never forget that. I respect that and they would be my first pick,” said Jaromir Jagr about the Edmonton Oilers.
- Ilya Kovalchuk has been playing great over at the World Championships.
- Panthers winger Richard Zednik has left the NHL to sign with the KHL.
- Leafs prospect Dale Mitchell has become a bit of a cult-hero in Windsor. Hey Toronto, remember Paul Maurice?