Quick playoffs update as the work week begins. Saturday afternoon the Washington Capitals managed to win a series in fewer than seven games (!) for the first time since 1998 by taking out the New York Rangers in five games.
They’re the only Eastern Conference team to know they’re moving on to the second round. The Pittsburgh Penguins not only couldn’t take care of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday, they allowed themselves to be decimated at home 8-2. Time for some revenge on Monday night in Tampa.
The Philadelphia Flyers forced a game seven with the Buffalo Sabres, thanks to one of their 1,928 goaltenders that they’ve used so far this season. Philly’s goals allowed hasn’t been too hot thanks to that carousel, but Ryan Miller’s GA in the last game was inexcusable. Five goals for a goalie of his quality in a game that was an elimination one for Philly is rough.
The two big stories coming out of the holiday weekend were from the Western Conference. The Anaheim Ducks, despite Teemu Selanne’s firepower (his six goals leads all players in the playoffs) couldn’t hold on to a lead Friday night, and they couldn’t regain control of the series on Sunday. The Nashville Predators had never been to the second round before; last night the Bridgestone Arena erupted like they had just won the Stanley Cup when David Legwand scored the empty netter to seal the Ducks’ fate. The Preds took both the game and the series 4-2.
Nashville’s opponent is as yet undecided, because both the San Jose/LA series and the Vancouver/Chicago series are still underway. Vancouver managed to blow a couple of leads despite playing an overall dominating game against the Blackhawks. Not helping the Canucks’ cause was goaltender Corey Schneider going down at the start of the third period thanks to dehydration. Roberto Luongo wound up playing after all, giving up the game winning goal to Ben Smith with four and a half minutes to go in overtime. With their 4-3 win, the Blackhawks hope to be the second team in two seasons to come back after being down 3-0 in the series. We’ll see how this wraps up Tuesday night in Vancouver.