The NHL playoffs are underway and there were some pretty amazing games last night. Let’s jump in it:
1. Pittsburgh Penguins v. Tampa Bay Lightning (Pittsburgh lead series 1-0)
No Crosby and no Malkin? No problem. The Penguins beat the Lightning 3-0. It was a scrappy hard-fought game but, the Penguins were able to get their offense going in the third period. Marc-Andre Fleury was amazing. He was the main reason Tampa Bay got shutout. He had 32 saves in a variety of ways. He used his glove and had great lateral movement. Alex Kovalev, Arron Asham, and Chris Kunitz each scored a goal. Pittsburgh’s Jordan Staal was relentless and he was rewarded with an assist. The Lighting have a few problems to address. They were out shot and they weren’t able to win as many faceoffs.
2. Phoenix Coyotes v. Detroit Red Wings (Red Wings lead series 1-0)
Detroit got out of the gate a little slow but soon righted the ship in the second period and they eventually won the game 4-2. I think that Detroit can win this series pretty easily. It just looks like they have more offensive firepower. Pavel Datsyuk scored first for the Red Wings followed by Johan Franzen, and Brian Rafalski. Jiri Hudler scored for the Red Wings in the third period. Goal scorers for the Coyotes were Kyle Turris who struck early in the first period and Radim Vrbata who scored in the third.
3. Nashville Predators v. Anaheim Ducks (Predators lead series 1-0)
The Predators came out of the gate swinging as they win 4-1. Nashville’s Mike Fisher had 2 goals and an assist to teammate Shea Weber who scored in the first period. It was a dominating performance. Nashville’s offense was certainly fun to watch last night. Steve Sullivan scored the other goal for the Predators. Teemu Selanne had Anaheim’s only goal.
4. Washington Capitals v. New York Rangers (Capitals lead series 1-0)
The Capitals were my pick to win the Stanley Cup this year. They squeaked out a victory over the Rangers in the first overtime game of the postseason. Both goalies Lundqvist and Neuvirth were amazing. Matt Gilroy scored for the Rangers early in the third period. Then halfway through the third, Alexander Ovechkin essentially bullied a goal in for Washington. It was nice head up play that kept Washington in the game. During overtime the Caps dominated. They kept attacking and eventually wore Lundqvist down enough that Alexander Semin was able to hit the overtime goal.
5. Chicago Blackhawks vs. Vancouver Canucks (Canucks lead series 1-0)
Vancouver shutout Chicago 2-0. The Canucks scored their two goals early and never looked back. Their defense, it appeared, was their offense. They attacked the Blackhawks so often in the first two periods that Chicago never had a chance to do anything really. When the Blackhawks got aggressive in the third period they simply weren’t able to beat Roberto Luongo. Luongo allowed nothing at all. I thought Chicago didn’t move the puck enough and because they didn’t Luongo never had any trouble finding it. He always knew where it was coming from.