Man alive, five games on tap including one where a team's facing elimination. Let's get 'er on!
Game 4: Vancouver 3, St. Louis 2, In Overtime
Vancouver wins the series 4-0
Take one team off the playoff charts, folks. St. Louis is officially out of the playoffs after losing 3-2 to Vancouver in Overtime.
Roberto Luongo lead his team to victory with an astonishing 47 saves. Alexander Burrows got two goals, including the game winner in overtime, while Willie Mitchell got two assists. Mattias Ohlund and Kevin Bieska played some sound, defensive hockey and lead the team in hits with 4 and 5 respectively.
Give credit to St. Louis for getting as far as they did. They were able to push the game to overtime thanks to goals from Brad Boyes and David Perron. In the end though, it wasn't enough, and their magical run to the playoffs ends here.
Vancouver is the first team to finish a playoff series. Their future opponents are still to be determined, and it isn't fair to speculate on that yet...
Game 3: Detroit 4, Columbus 1
Detroit leads the series 3-0
The series went back to Columbus tonight but it ultimately didn't matter, as Detroit came into their house and dominated in every possible way. Ultimately, Columbus got one goal for their efforts, but the fact that there were no minus Detroit players should tell you something.
Dan Cleary and an exceptional night, generating a goal and two assists. Brad Stuart acted as the human missile, generating 4 hits including a hipcheck on R.J. Umberger that literally left him breathless. Here's footage:Chris Osgood had another spectacular evening, making 31 saves and achieving a .67 GAA and a .974 save percentage through the three games of the series.
Again, Columbus relied on Steve Mason and a garbage goal by R.J. Umberger to get them by and again, it was not enough to elevate their play against the Red Wings. This team will be far better next season when Derek Brassard is healthy, but until then, I'm literally just waiting for the Wings to finish the series, and at this point, I say that not as a Red Wings fan but as a fan of hockey in general. Two goals in three games doesn't cut it in the playoffs.
The Wings can finish this on Thursday barring Columbus gets some magical plays and experience together.
Game 4: Pittsburgh 3, Philadelphia 1
Pittsburgh leads the series 3-1
No it wasn't their elimination game, but Philadelphia needed to win this game to avoid the exact position they're in now. But Marc-Andre outplayed them in their own building and now they have to go to the Mellon Arena to play what could be their elimination game. Not good.
Now unfortunately, this was the first game of the series where Evgeni Malkin was shut down. However, that only opened the door for Sidney Crosby, Tyler Kennedy, and Max Talbot to run in and get goals, while Matt Cooke was able to grab two assists. Marc-Andre was spectacular again, making 45 saves to keep his team in action. Special kudos to Pittsburgh's penalty kill, who were able to kill off the onslaught of penalties the refs called against them.
So who scored for the Flyers? Former Coyote toughguy Dan Carcillo gets his first playoff point. However, Marty Biron's flimsy 23 saves and an ineffective power play resulted in them losing a crucial game. I will give them credit though for playing a physical game and getting twice the amount of hits that Pittsburgh did.
Game 5 goes back to Pittsburgh, and if Dan Bylsma can have his team firing on 8 cylinders, then put a fork in Philadelphia because they're done.
Game 4: Carolina 4, New Jersey 3
Series is tied 2-2
Whoever reads this regularly knows I haven't lied to you about this series. I still say it will go to seven games, and at this point, it's at least going to six. The goal that decided the game was scored with literally .2 seconds left on the clock and sent Martin Brodeur into a tirade against the referees.
Jussi Jokinen got the goal at 19:59 in the third period that sent Brodeur into orbit. I know that Joni Pitkanen's and Dennis Seidenberg's (who, by the way, is an injury replacement) two assists each tonight didn't help, as neither did goals from Eric Staal, Ryan Bayda, and Chad LaRose. Oh, and their 40 hits is something fierce.
I understand why Brodeur lost it though, he did make 42 saves in an effort to help his team get to victory. Brian Gionta. Brendan Shanahan, and David Clarkson put up goals for New Jersey's effort to win or at least get to overtime. Just like everything else in this series, it's come down to an action at a specific time and this game was .2 seconds away from being their third consecutive game in overtime. This is true hockey folks. I encourage everyone to check this out!
Game 5 of what will be an exciting series is Thursday. Check it out!
Game 3: San Jose 4, Anaheim 3
Anaheim leads the series 2-1
Well, Hiller demonstrate he's only human after all, but he still had a respectable effort in tonight's game. Still, the Sharks managed to take a game in the series and hope to at least get the next game to even out the series. They didn't win without a fight from Anaheim thought...
Dan Boyle had a hell of a night, getting two goals and an assist. Oh and he earned two of those goals on the power play. Evgeni Nabokov was good for 27 saves which is one of his better efforts of the series. The team overall limited their mistakes and with the help from Boyle's goals in addition to goals by Rob Blake and Patrick Marleau, the team overcame Anaheim and won their first game of the series.
Hiller made a respectable 31 saves while Bobby Ryan, James Wisniewski, and Chris Pronger managed to score goals for Anaheim. The team also did well in the hitting department with 35 (7 of those coming from Wisniewski!). In the end, San Jose was hungrier, and that was the difference.
Game 4 should be exciting. If Anaheim wins, it's going to be a long, long fight back for San Jose.
Thanks for checking in! Stay tuned for more Stanley Cup coverage!!