The Game of the Night...er, Day - #7 Washington Capitals at #2 Boston Bruins, Game 2, 3:00 pm Eastern, NBC & CBC
Game Number 1 was a goaltending dual, for sure, with the game going into overtime tied at zero. A surprise to no one, Timmy "Anarchist" Thomas was the man as he got the first shut out of the playoffs. However, he only faced 17 shots. The Capitals offense is going to have to do better if they expect to get anywhere in this series. What is a surprise, though, is how well rookie Braden Holtby handled himself, letting in only one goal out of 30 shots. The kid was stellar, to put it simply. If the Bruins keep up this kind of pressure, however, there's every reason to think they'll take the series. I'm not sure Holtby can carry his team past the first round.
Players to watch
Boston: Chris Kelly. He got the GWG in OT and leads the series in points. See what I did there?
Washington: Braden Holtby. Seriously. Watch him. He has the funkiest routine before puck drops. I can't figure out if he's warming up, dancing, or trying to get a ferret out of his breezers.
The "Oh Andy" Game - #8 Ottawa Senators at #1 New York Rangers, Game 2, 7:00 Eastern, NHL Network & CBC
Lit up. Yeah, that's what happened. In Game 1, poor Craig Anderson got to the "are they gonna pull him or what?" point. I wish I could say it was because his defense totally left him out to dry, but man oh man did he let him some weeeaaaaak goals. That's not to take anything away from the Rangers, of course. After protecting a one-goal lead in the first, they added two more in the second and the icer in the third. Give Ottawa some props, though; they never gave up. Today's match up is pretty close to do or die for them, though. A two-game deficit against the Eastern Conf champs will be hard to overcome.
Players to watch:
Ottawa: Craig Anderson. Will he get the start again?
Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist. He rose to the challenge as Ottawa threw everything they could at him in the second.
The "GOD DAMN IT" Game - #7 San Jose Sharks at #2 St. Louis Blues, Game 2, 7:30 Eastern, CNBC & TSN
Well, it looks like opposite world has settled in. The San Jose Sharks, notorious post-season chokers, decided to shit the bed in the regular season and come out like gangbusters in the playoffs. There were times when they totally exposed St. Louis as the good-but-not-great team that they are. Not to discount the Blues, however, as they had their moments of threat as well. It was a nail biter, going back and forth with the goals all night and ending in double-OT.
Players to watch:
San Jose: Daniel Winnik. According to Tom McLellan, his veteran presence made the line of Tommy Wingels, Andrew Desjardins and Frank.
St. Louis: Kevin Shattenkirk. The kid looked like a pro out there. Losing him still hurts.
The "Is anyone besides Chia actually watching this series?" Game - #6 Chicago Blackhawks at #3 Phoenix Coyotes, Game 2, 10:00 Eastern, NBC Sports & TSN
Gotta be honest. I didn't bother watching this game. Of all the match ups in this year's playoffs, I find this the least interesting. Alas, I'm taking the easy way out. From the NHL.com preview:
The overtime in Game 1 was a tale of two periods. The Hawks owned the first three minutes, getting five shots on Smith. But the Coyotes took over after that, forcing Chicago into a handful of icing calls, the last of which led to Hanzal's game-winner.
Players to watch:
Phoenix: Martin Hanzal. He nabbed the OT winner.
Chicago: Jonathan Toews. His noggin has been mushy, causing him to miss the Hawks last 22 games of the regular season. He had two points in Game 1 (1g, 1a).
Team SBN sites for those who are so inclined:
Fear the Fin – San Jose Sharks
St. Louis Game Time – St. Louis Blues
Silver Seven – Ottawa Senators
Blueshirt Banter – New York Rangers
Japers’ Rink – Washington Capitals (solid site, btw)
Stanley Cup of Chowder – Boston Bruins
Second City Hockey – Chicago Blackhawks
Five for Howling – Phoenix Coyotes