NHL Playoff Morning Papers (Saturday Edition): Ovechkin’s hit on Gonchar, Bieksa will play in Game 5 and Staal getting the better of Chara
2nd Round Playoff Matchups
Boston Bruins (1) versus Carolina Hurricanes (6)
- A tremendous Bruins season has come down to the need to win three straight games, writes Fluto Shinzawa. Bob Ryan is wondering where Jussi Jokinen has come from? “Our team has picked the worst time of year to play their worst hockey,” said coach Claude Julien. Meantime, Blake Wheeler continued to struggle yesterday. The pressure is on Zdeno Chara to step up his game.
- The Hurricanes are not getting ahead of themselves even though they are only one game away from the Conference Finals. For all the talk before the series about Zdeno Chara shutting down Eric Staal, Staal is proving that certainly is not the case. Jussi Jokinen has been playing so well the crowd has been chanting his name.
Washington Capitals (2) versus Pittsburgh Penguins (4)
- The confidence the Capitals had coming into Pittsburgh is now gone, as they head back to Washington for tonight’s Game 5 all tied at two. Simeon Varlamov picked a bad time to have his worst game of the playoffs. Where has Alexander Semin been?
- Pittsburgh made it an even series with a 5-3 home victory over the Capitals on Friday. The Penguins were not happy with Alexander Ovechkin’s hit/knee of Sergei Gonchar. In terms of Gonchar’s playing status for tonight, while it is up in the air, it looks likely that he won’t play. At least both sides agree the ice during this series has been terrible. In other news, Sidney Crosby commented on the Alexander Ovechkin threat.
Detroit Red Wings (2) versus Anaheim Ducks (8)
- The Wings returned to Motown brimming with confidence, writes Helene St. James. They may be confident, but they’ll have to play Game 5 without Tomas Kopecky. Both Kris Draper and Brian Rafalski will miss Game 5. Good thing Marian Hossa is playing his best hockey of the season at just the right time.
- How will Randy Carlyle react to Mike Babcock’s changes in Game 5? The Ducks are happy there are two days off between games.
Vancouver Canucks (3) versus Chicago Blackhawks (4)
- If the Canucks want to win Game 5, they will need to get more shots on Nikolai Khabibulin. Don’t worry Canucks fans, Kevin Bieksa is going to play in Game 5. Here is some bulletin board material the Canucks can use. If Vancouver wants to win this series, their best forwards need to step up.
- “Now we’re going there tied and with a confidence boost. We can get in there and get at them right away,” said Hawks center Dave Bolland. Andrew Ladd has been clutch for Chicago. Hawks fans should not expect the Canucks to sit back again in Game 5.