Things are shaping up a lot differently than they did last year. While in 2010 we saw a ton of lower-seeded teams taking early leads on their higher-seeded foes, 2011 has brought about more "expected" results as only one underdog - Montreal - is up on the series. As we all know, however, anything can happen in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Here's where things stand as of today, prior to the commencement of Game 3 for any club:
|Eastern Conference||Western Conference|
|WSH: 2, NYR: 0||DET: 2, PHX: 0|
|PIT: 1, TBL:1||VAN: 2, CHI: 0|
|BOS: 0, MTL:2||ANA: 1, NSH: 1|
|PHI: 1, BUF: 1||SJS: 1, LAK:1|
Washington Capitals (#1) v. NY Rangers (#8): Another shutout gave the Caps a 2-game lead on the Rangers. Michal Neuvirth, the Caps' 23-year-old rookie goaltender, has been stellar in net, allowing only one goal in 47 shots. The Rangers spent a lot of time in the offensive zone, so the Caps really need to step it up or this series might even out. Washington's two goals both came in the second period from the Jasons (Chimera and Arnott).
Pittsburgh Penguins (#4) v. Tamba Bay Lightning (#5) : Tampa Bay lit up the Penguins, tallying 5 goals to Pittsburgh's 1. The Bolts got offensive help across the board, with two goals coming on the power play. Pittsburgh's lone goal came from Craig Adams in the second, but by then, Tampa had the game in hand. I wouldn't be surprised to see this one get to 7 games.
Boston Bruins (#3): v. Montreal Canadiens (#6): Montreal took advantage of Zedno Chara's absence Friday night. The towering defenseman was a last minute scratch as he was taken to a hospital to be treated for dehydration. The Canadiens scored just 43 seconds into the first to take the lead. They wouldn't lose it, finishing the game 3-1 with goals by Michael Cammalleri, Mathieu Darche and Yannick Weber. Patrice Bergeron scored the lone goal for the Bruins.
Philadelphia Flyers (#2) v. Buffalo Sabres (#7): If you're only going to watch one series in the quarters, this is the one you want. Playoff hockey at its best, the Flyers and Sabres are not holding back. More huge hits, classic fights, dozens (and yes, I mean dozens) of penalties, and a tight score with 6 goals in the first period alone made this a thriller for sure. Philly pulled out the win 5-4.
Vancouver Canucks (#1) v. Chicago Blackhawks (#8):It looked like Vancouver was going to run away with this one as they were dominating the Hawks from the opening puck drop. The Creepy Twins were doing their thing, and Daniel got a power play goal 30 seconds into the second to put the Canucks up 2-0. Chicago battled back though and traded goals with Vancouver through the second and into the third. Unfortunately, they came up one short, losing 4-3 at the final horn.
Anaheim Ducks (#4) v. Nashville Predators (#5): The Ducks decided to play hockey instead of having another gang fight for Game 2, and in so doing, tied the series up at 1. Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf, and Corey Perry combined for 4 goals and 5 assists; Teemu Selanne netted the fifth goal for the Ducks to give them a 5-3 win over the Preds. Shea Weber, Patric Hornqvist, and Joel Ward scored for Nashville. Unfortunately for the Ducks, they will be without the help of Ryan for the next two games as he was suspended for stomping on the foot of Predators' defenseman Jonathon Blum.
San Jose Sharks (#2) v. Los Angeles Kings (#7):The Sharks were like fish in a barrel as the Kings completely schooled them from start to finish on this one. Frustration bled through, and San Jose ended up in the box 7 times, with two of LA's power plays ending in goals. Drew Doughty was on fire, putting in two goals and two assists and bringing the physical game on hard. Jonathan Quick was perfect, turning away all 34 shots he faced. Final score: 4-0. (In case you hadn't heard, Jarret Stoll missed last night's game after receiving a one-game suspension for his hit on Ian White in Game 1.)