Excellent action from the Conference Semis. One blowout this weekend, but most games were eye-glued-to-the-screen thrillshows.
BOSTON 5, PHILADELPHIA 4 - OT (Bruins lead series 1-0)
Don't let the scoreline fool you, the goaltenders were actually the best players in this game. The Bruins led for most of it (53:59), but Philly was never down by more than 2 goals, and seemed to answer whenever challenged. Marc Savard had the game-winner in his first game back since Matt Cooke's cheapshot. But the B's also lost Marco Sturm 41 seconds into the game. This series might be the most entertaining of all the Conference Semis to watch.
VANCOUVER 5, CHICAGO 1 (Canucks lead series 1-0)
Vintage Luongo as the veteran Canuck goalie stopped 36 of 37 Chicago shots. Patrick "has a book on Luongo" Kane ended the shutout bid 2:07 into the 3rd period. But that was far too little, much too late. Vancouver got offense from their usual suspects: Christian Erhoff had a goal and an assist, Ryan Kesler had 2 assists, and Henrik Sedin scored a goal. But I doubt Luongo will be this good, or Antti Niemi this bad as the series progresses.
MONTREAL 3, PITTSBURGH 1 (Series tied 1-1)
Pittsburgh dominated Game 1 Friday night, but the Habs responded. Halak was foggy in Game 1, but his visibility returned to him as he stopped 38 shots. Mike Cammalleri continued his Conn Smythe campaign by scoring 2 goals, his 7th and 8th of the playoffs.
Pittsburgh might be the dirtiest team in the NHL, at least among good teams in the East. Not only do you have Cooke, but with 2:24 remaining and down 3-1 Craig Adams boarded Marc-Andre Bergeron in a pretty blatant "message sending" hit in the corner. He received a 5 minute major and 10 minute misconduct. But I doubt the NHL will have the balls to suspend him.
There's just nothing to like and little to respect about the Penguins.
SAN JOSE 4, DETROIT 3 (San Jose leads series 2-0)
There is something to respect about San Jose. The Sharks can play the puck-possession game almost as well as Detroit. But their possession leads to goals thanks to their finishers. Joe Pavelski scored twice and had an assist. The Dude has been a monster in the playoffs, with 9 goals, 5 assists, and a +7 rating. Joe Thornton also had a goal, albeit by accident. The Red Wings spent too much time in the box (that's what she said). They allowed 2 power play goals on 10 such opportunities. 10 power plays is far too many for a disciplined team of veterans to allow. San Jose, to their credit, only yielded 4.