Remaining First Round Matchups
Washington Capitals (2) versus New York Rangers (7)
- Could Chris Clark return to the Capitals lineup tonight to replace the suspended Donald Brashear? The Capitals have a chance to redeem last season’s Game 7 heartbreak versus Philadelphia tonight at the Verizon Center, writes Mike Wise. Nothing like ESPN reporting that Mike Green would be suspended.
- According to coach John Tortorella, the Rangers have absolutely nothing to lose tonight. Jay Greenberg takes issue with Tortorella’s methods in this morning’s NY Post. Tortorella aside, the Blueshirts have a chance if Henrik Lundqvist stands on his head. If hockey was on people’s radars, then maybe there would be a big outcry about the two Game 7s of the NY area being aired at essentially the same time.
New Jersey Devils (3) versus Carolina Hurricanes (6)
- Amazingly, Jamie Langenbrunner had knee surgery after Game 2 of this series and somehow came back to play Game 6. The Devils’ top young duo of Travis Zajac and Zach Parise is nervous but looking forward to tonight’s Game 7. As Mike Rupp says, the team that is the most relaxed will win tonight. Stopping Eric Staal may be the key to winning tonight’s game. Off the ice, Lou Lamoriello is reportedly going to be relieved of his business duties with the team. That report is now being denied.
- Sure it is Game 7 tonight, but the Hurricanes have learned that every game is important. Don’t expect any lineup changes by Paul Maurice.
Second Round Matchups
Detroit Red Wings (1) versus Anaheim Ducks (7)
- Kris Draper thinks he will be able to return for the start of Round 2. Darren Helm, who has picked up the slack in Draper’s absence, played extra physical in the first round.
- Helene Elliot says that last night’s result in favor of Anaheim proves that the regular season means very little. Ryan Getzlaf led the Ducks from beginning to end, writes Dan Wood. “I thought we were hungrier,” said Teeme Selanne. Yesterday’s game was good old playoff hockey.
Vancouver Canucks (3) versus Chicago Blackhawks (4)
- If the Canucks were going to take the next step this season, they had to replace Markus Naslund, opines Ed Willes. Coach Alain Vigneault is confident his entire defense corps will be ready for the start of Round 2. Speaking of Round 2, the Canucks now know their opponent. If you think the Canucks are taking it easy at practice, you are sadly mistaken.
- The Blackhawks defeated Calgary on Monday, marking the first time the organization has won a playoff round in thirteen years. Yesterday’s series victory was an impressive feat for the young Hawks. Even post-series, Adam Burish claims he was never told by any teammates or coaches to stop yapping. The Seabrook brothers have a great bond, explains Shannon Ryan.
Boston Bruins (1) versus TBA
- Tim Thomas is now recognized around the NHL as one of the league’s top netminders, so he won’t be surprising anyone anymore. Earlier this playoffs, Matt Hunwick had his spleen removed, so he’s hoping the Bruins make a long run to enable him to return to the fold. It doesn’t appear the Bruins will start Round 2 until Friday.
Pittsburgh Penguins (4) versus TBA
- The Penguins don’t know who they’ll play in Round 2, but they know they’ll probably play on Thursday or Friday. During Dan Bylsma’s day off, he paid a visit to Wilkes-Barre. More talk on whether fighting can change the momentum of a game. (Writer’s note: Good points by Starkey, but I still don’t agree in this case.)
Teams that have been eliminated from the playoffs:
- The San Jose Sharks lost in the first round for the first time since 2001. Mark Purdy says the Sharks never got a hold of the series.
- Jarome Iginla says he didn’t do enough in the Flames’ six-game series loss to the Blackhawks. Last night’s loss means that the Flames have lost four first round matchups in a row. Miikka Kiprusoff says fatigue was not a factor in his playoff performance. Excuses may be for losers, but the Flames did have some valid reasons for losing to Chicago. Mike Keenan was outcoached, writes Eric Francis. What will become of the Flames’ pending free agents?
- Steve Mason’s first time in Vegas this June for the NHL Awards should be fun.
Teams that did not make the playoffs:
- After undergoing hip surgery, Niklas Backstrom got some good news yesterday, writes Brian Stensaas.
- If Sabres fans don’t knoiw the name Jhonas Enroth, they should get to know it.
- Apparently the Oilers are interested in Tom Renney for the vacant head coaching position.