NHL Playoff Morning Papers (Tuesday Edition): Willie Mitchell motivated Patrick Kane, Brian Rafalski a game-time decision and Crosby/Ovechkin set for seventh game
2nd Round Playoff Matchups
Boston Bruins (1) versus Carolina Hurricanes (6)
- Aaron Ward is questionable for tonight’s game. The Bruins are hoping that Blake Wheeler can learn a lot from watching the game up in the press box. If the Bruins want to win, they will need another monster game from Zdeno Chara. The Hurricanes haven’t been in this situation this playoffs but know how important it is to close the door at home. The in Carolina hasn’t been very good this series.
- Carolina need to take care of business tonight. If you didn’t read yesterday, Scott Walker was fined but not suspended. Will Walker’s punch unnecessarily motivate the Bruins?
Washington Capitals (2) versus Pittsburgh Penguins (4)
- “He’s a big-game guy,” said Bruce Boudreau about Capitals checking line center David Steckel. Steckel wouldn’t have had the ability to score the overtime winner, had it not been for Viktor Kozlov’s two big goals. FSN Pittsburgh recorded the best rating ever for a FSN regional hockey broadcast. It’s a shame this series has to only go seven games.
- Game 7 should be a classic. Why are the Penguins being so secretive about Sergei Gonchar’s injury? The Penguins have been very happy with the play of Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi against Alexander Ovechkin. Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin have been as good as advertised. The Game 7 ending is going to be fitting, writes Mike Prisuta.
Detroit Red Wings (2) versus Anaheim Ducks (8)
- Drew Sharp says that the Wings have been physically intimidating the Ducks. Henrik Zetterberg has turned up his game lately. Zetterberg’s been good, but he’s no Mule. Brian Rafalski will be a game-time decision for tonight’s tilt.
- The Wings’ depth is one of the big advantages they have over the Ducks. This Wings team is built to go on a Cup run. Which Ducks team will show up tonight? Anaheim does have a lot of players who have never experienced playoff intensity like this before.
Vancouver Canucks (3) versus Chicago Blackhawks (4)
- Roberto Luongo took the blame last night and placed it squarely on his own shoulders. The Blackhawks were better than the Canucks in all the important categories. The Hawks’ speed and youthful exuberance seemed to intimidate the Canucks. Daniel Sedin says the better team won.
- Patrick Kane took over the United Center last night. Apparently Kane was fired up by some comments made by Willie Mitchell. What a night, writes Dan McGrath. Canucks coach Alain Vigneault says he has a lot of respect for the Blackhawks’ defense. Meanwhile, Tim Sassone recaps what was a memorable night at the United Center.
Teams that are not in the playoffs:
- What the heck is going on in Colorado?
- The NHL is hiding its game by putting it on Versus, writes Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch.
- Mike Modano is returning to the Stars next season.
- Philadelphia should forget about signing Ray Emery, writes Ed Moran.
- The Lighning have made Rick Tocchet the team’s official head coach. The team also had an open forum yesterday.
- Jonas Gustavsson is currently with his ailing mother, so Brian Burke and the Leafs have decided to give the young man some space.
The Coyotes situation:
- The city of Phoenix is holding a rally to save the Coyotes.
- Are the Stars going to follow the Coyotes and also file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy?
- Apparently Hamilton is close to an arena deal.
- What do Canadians think about Balisillie’s bid?
- Some legal experts expect Balsillie to lose his court battle.
- Even if he loses, Balsillie has set the wheels in motion for another team in Southern Ontario, writes Stephen Brunt.