2nd Round Playoff Matchups
Boston Bruins (1) versus Carolina Hurricanes (6)
- The Bruins are at their best when they are not looking for the perfect play. “We would just throw pucks at the net. We weren’t patient with it. We didn’t hold onto it. That’s a big key to our game,” said veteran forward Mark Recchi. That impatience also translated to poor special teams play, writes Steve Conroy. Over on the other side, Ron Francis is still having a great effect on the Hurricanes organization.
- “I don’t think we have the kind of hockey team right now that thinks this season has been good enough,” said coach Paul Maurice about his Hurricanes squad. The Bruins are beatable, but it won’t be easy, writes Luke Decock. What are some ex-Whalers/Hurricanes doing these days?
Washington Capitals (2) versus Pittsburgh Penguins (4)
- This matchup is somehow living up to all the hype, writes Tarik El-Bashir. “Thus, in the series’ first two games — both won by Washington — unmatchable hype is being matched, because the two best players have four goals apiece and are delivering the kind of performances that forge true rivalries,” opines Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post. “I think it’s great for our sport,” said Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau after yesterday’s contest. Hockey historian Joe Pelletier tells us just how rare two hat tricks in the same playoff game has been. Simeon Varlamov did a good job of holding onto the lead as well. Tyler Sloan filled in on the back-end for the Capitals last night and did a solid job.
- Where have all the Penguins’ secondary scorers been? Chris Kunitz doesn’t think his struggles are due to a lack of chemistry with Sidney Crosby. If you think Sidney Crosby can’t score goals, you haven’t been watching these playoffs. Simeon Varlamov is frustrating the Penguins with his solid play. Are the Penguins running Varlamov?
Detroit Red Wings (2) versus Anaheim Ducks (8)
- Wings coach Mike Babcock isn’t concerned at all about Pavel Datsyuk’s point struggles so far this series. Not surprisingly, the Wings did not have a hard skate on Monday. Dave Dye of the Detroit News says the Wings need more secondary scoring. With so many veterans on board, Detroit isn’t going to let the downer of Game 2 carryover into Game 3. Speaking of veterans, both Brian Rafalski and Kris Draper have been ruled out for tonight’s game.
- The Ducks have complete confidence in the goaltending ability of Jonas Hiller. Even if the veterans on both sides are tired, they won’t be telling the media anyhow, writes Dan Wood. “Ryan Getzlaf is the best, I really believe that,” said teammate Teemu Selanne. Meantime, Randy Carlyle wants a better performance from Bobby Ryan tonight.
Vancouver Canucks (3) versus Chicago Blackhawks (4)
- “We don’t want to trade chances with them,” said Canucks winger Alex Burrows. Sami Salo won’t be dressing tonight for Vancouver. Do not expect the Canucks to panic after one loss. Big Dustin Byfuglien is having a huge impact on the series thus far, opines Eric Duhatschek.
- As Duhatschek pointed out, Byfuglien is doing his best to irritate Luongo. Jonathan Toews has denied rumors that he has a shoulder injury. The Canucks know they have to limit Chicago’s speed.
Teams that have been eliminated from the playoffs:
- Current televison color commentator and former NHL All-Star Danny Gare has been let go by the Blue Jackets organization.
- Darryl Sutter says he isn’t looking to change up the core of his team in Calgary.
- Markus Naslund was a class act that was never the same after the Todd Bertuzzi incident, writes Larry Brooks.
- Flyers GM Paul Holmgren has confirmed reports that he’s interested in signing Ray Emery.
Teams that did not make the playoffs:
- Short-time Sabres netminder Mikael Tellqvist has signed overseas.
- The top two candidates for the Wild GM post appear to be Pierre McGuire and Chuck Fletcher, explains Michael Russo.