Hey everyone. Family was in town and I got busy. Now I'm sick and don't feel like writing much. That said, I'm going to subsitute the typical commentary with an AP sports feed.
Game 6: Chicago 4, Calgary 1
Calgary wins the series 4-2
The Chicago Blackhawks won their first playoff series in 13 years, eliminating Calgary by beating the Flames 4-1 in Game 6 of their first-round Western Conference matchup Monday night.
Chicago’s previous playoff series win was a four-game sweep of Calgary in 1996.
Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist for Chicago, with Adam Burish and Brian Campbell also scoring. Dustin Byfuglien added an empty-net goal and had two assists. Rookie Kris Versteeg, a Calder Trophy nominee, also contributed two assists.
Todd Bertuzzi scored the lone goal for the Flames, who managed just two goals in the final two games of the series. They were ousted in the first round for a fourth straight season.
Nikolai Khabibulin played a stellar game in net for the Blackhawks with 43 saves. He robbed Calgary’s Olli Jokinen on scoring chances in the first and second periods.
The Blackhawks will play Vancouver in the next round.
With 14 players under the age of 25, the Blackhawks are the youngest team in the NHL. Their lack of playoff experience was thought to be a disadvantage heading into the series, but the Hawks were poised and tenacious against the more-experienced Flames.
They were quicker out of their end, faster on the forecheck and weren’t afraid to engage Calgary physically. Chicago was also the healthier team through the series, too.
The Flames pressed for goals in the third period and pulled Kiprusoff with more than 2 minutes remaining. But the injury-riddled club didn’t have the depth to push past the youthful Blackhawks and send the series back to Chicago for a Game 7.
Calgary defenseman Dion Phaneuf was scratched because of a hard check and helmet-to-helmet contact from Chicago’s Troy Brouwer in Game 5. Without Phaneuf and Robyn Regehr, who missed this series because of a knee injury, the Flames’ defense couldn’t contain Byfuglien, who assisted on Chicago’s two goals in the first period.
The Flames ended the regular season scoreless on their last 45 power-play chances. They were only marginally better during the postseason with two goals on 18 opportunities while a man up.
With Bertuzzi in the penalty box, Kane made it 1-0 just 2:20 in. From the bottom of the circle, Versteeg tried to connect with Byfuglien in front of the net for a tip-in, but the puck deflected out front for Kane.
Byfuglien lugged the puck and circled behind the net to the half-boards before passing to Burish, who beat Kiprusoff midway in the opening period.
Defenseman Campbell’s slap shot from the point through traffic was deflected and beat Kiprusoff to the glove side for a 3-0 edge in the second period.
Bertuzzi skated deep down the wing and beat Khabibulin with a sharp-angled shot over the Russian’s shoulder 54 seconds into the third session.
Notes: Chicago outscored Calgary 10-5 in the second periods in the series . . . With the exception of their run to the Stanley Cup final in 2004, the Flames haven’t made it out of the first round of playoffs since winning the Cup in 1989.
Game 6: Anaheim 4, San Jose 1
Anaheim wins the series 4-2
(Okay, this one's gonna be a quick article from us.)
Ryan Getzlaf got the "Gordie Howe" hat trick in a very nasty game between San Jose and Anaheim that saw President's Trophy Champion San Jose Sharks eliminated by 8th seeded Anaheim. Anaheim will now face the Red Wings in the next round.
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