2nd Round Playoff Matchups
Boston Bruins (1) versus Carolina Hurricanes (6)
- Coach Claude Julien gave his players the day off with the hope that time away from the rink will help shake the Bruins from their two-game slide, writes Fluto Shinzawa. Game 3 was a bad deal from the start, as evidenced by Bob Ryan’s notes and he feels that fate is swaying Carolina’s way. Marc Savard takes responsibility for his penalty on Cam Ward after reviewing the video.
- Two players who were deemed expendable on other teams played a large part in helping the Canes defeat the Boston Bruins in Game 3. It wasn’t just fans who erupted in celebration when the Canes made the 2nd round, so did bar owners, hotel managers, store clerks — even high school band parents. On a lighter note, it appears some people don’t love the music being played during the Canes games.
Washington Capitals (2) versus Pittsburgh Penguins (4)
- The relationship between Caps coach Bruce Boudreau and Pens coach Dan Bylsma dates back more than 15 years. While Gary Bettman is distracted in Phoenix, Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee voiced his displeasure with the officiating in his team’s second-round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Dan Steinberg tells us that for their first 33 years of existence, the Washington Capitals never played two playoff games in consecutive nights in different cities. Credit the organization as a whole for putting the team in position to get the most out of its success.
- Max Talbot knows his role on the team. That’s one of the reasons the Pens have been successful. Pens fans wonder if Gonchar needs to be on the power play since it appears he’s lost a step. The teenager who was questioned in connection with the death threat against Ovechkin has not been charged. Penguins defenseman Kris Letang follows a ritual before every game, he showers, then stretches, then sits alone in silence inspired by the memory of his friend. Both the Capitals and Penguins were not exactly ecstatic to hear they were playing back-to-back games in Round 2.
Detroit Red Wings (2) versus Anaheim Ducks (8)
- The Red Wings earned the result they wanted, even if it started off on the wrong note, writes Ted Kulfan. However, this time there were no controversies or premature stoppages of play, as Marian Hossa finally lived up to his reputation. The entire Wings team contributed to yesteday’s victory although what was probably most encouraging to Wings fans was the play of the team’s stars. Don’t expect the highly coveted Jim Nill to end up taking any of the current GM openings around the NHL.
- “Our team didn’t play very well,” said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle after yesterday’s loss to Detroit. James Wisniewski was seething over being elbowed in the head by Tomas Holmstrom while he was reeling from the shot. Helene Elliot’s questions for the Ducks now is whether they can silence the Detroit offense after it awoke with a roar on Thursday.
Vancouver Canucks (3) versus Chicago Blackhawks (4)
- The Vancouver Canucks lost a game, momentum and maybe a key defenceman Thursday night. Iain MacIntyre laments on how the Canucks were within three minutes of building a 3-1 series lead against the Chicago Blackhawks. If you don’t shoot, you can’t score. Rose Dimanno thinks Mats Sundin is a good fit as a support scorer. Dimanno also writes about the tragedy that Taylor Pyatt deals with everyday.
- The Blackhawks came to life at exactly the right time on Thursday. “We had good chances all game and I thought we deserved to win tonight,” said Duncan Keith. The emotional swings of the NHL playoffs are something else.
Teams that did not make the playoffs:
- Patrick Roy is in Denver today meeting with Pierre Lacroix.
- Pierre McGuire would be the Wild’s gain if they decide to hire him for their open GM spot, opines Bruce Dowbiggen.
The Coyotes situation:
- Who controlled the Coyotes and for how long?
- It won’t matter in a court of law, but Jim Balsillie has much support in the court of public opinion.
- The date to circle on your calendar is May 19, writes Craig Harris of the Arizona Republic.
- Dave Perkins says the owners aren’t going to welcome Balsillie to their club.
- “We were up against a time frame by the NHL that a decision had to be made, this was the only option,” said Jerry Moyes.
- Don’t underestimate Gary Bettman.
- Stephen Brunt of the Globe & Mail tries to figure out how Phoenix got to the point of bankruptcy.
- Here are the arguments of both sides.