San Jose Sharks (1) versus Anaheim Ducks (8)
- Rest assured, if the Sharks lose Game 5 tonight, the team will look a lot different come next season. When asked about the Sharks’ playoff struggles this season, coach Todd McLellan had a very interesting answer. Wasn’t this Sharks team put together to avoid this type of first round result?
- The Ducks’ top three forwards are doing a terrific job of mucking it up against the Sharks. One of the reasons for the Ducks’ success has been their success in the face-off circle. The pressure really is squarely on San Jose to prove the critics are wrong, writes Dan Wood. Mid-season acquisition Ryan Whitney is someone Ducks fans should get to know because he will be with the team for a long time. Bobby Ryan isn’t only a young man, he is the man in Anaheim.
Detroit Red Wings (2) versus Columbus Blue Jackets (7)
- Helene St. James thinks that the Wings would defeat the Ducks in six games if the teams meet in the second round. For these Wings, playing on the road doesn’t really matter. Be smart and don’t mess with the Johan.
- He had a terrific rookie season, but the Blue Jackets admittedly overplayed Steve Mason. Rick Nash loves Columbus, but he was non-commital yesterday when it came to talking about his future. (Writer’s note: Let the Leafs rumours begin…)
Vancouver Canucks (3) versus St Louis Blues (6)
- For his Canucks teammates, it was nice to see Taylor Pyatt back on the ice yesterday. Meantime, Mats Sundin may not be ready for the start of the second round. Roberto Luongo is not talking about dehyrdation. Ryan Johnson is getting credit on a pretty cool national platform for his solid defensive play.
- Keith Tkachuk is a pending UFA, but he says he wants to return to St. Louis next season.
Chicago Blackhawks (4) versus Calgary Flames (5)
- Chicago players know they have to clamp down on Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen. Nikolai Khabibulin is not going to replaced in net by Cristobal Huet.
- Dion Phaneuf has been less noticeable for the Flames through the first four games of this series and that is actually a good thing, writes Steve Macfarlane. If Calgary wants to win this series, they have to win a game on the road. It looks like the Hawks woke up a sleeping giant in Jarome Iginla and are regretting it. Apparently the Hawks claim they aren’t getting worn down by the Flames’ physical play.