The NHL Playoff Recap gives you our take of what happened in each game of the night and what the consequences will be for the rest of the series.
We also provide our Three Stars of the night, which will be tabulated after each round and kept track of each day in our Playoff Game Day Preview. First Star is three points, Second Star is two points and Third Star is one point. Be sure to vote on who you think the first star was as well.
Of course there’s the other side of the coin: The Black Hole is a piece of the lineup that just couldn’t get it going on a given night and contributed to a difficult evening for the team.
THN’s Take: Flyers coach Peter Laviolette’s decision to start goalie Michael Leighton turned out to be a disaster after the Sabres exposed him with three soft goals in the first period. But after pulling Leighton to start the second, Philadelphia recovered thanks to the offensive contributions of the Scott Hartnell-Danny Briere-Ville Leino line. The trio accounted for three goals (including the game-winner from Leino) and six points and took advantage of a sloppy Sabres defensive game. Chris Pronger returned to the Flyers lineup, but played just 4:33 (all on the power play) in total. Who knows what condition he’ll be in for Game 7.
1. Kimmo Timonen – Didn’t have any points, but finished a plus-three in 23:49 of ice time. Veteran calm after the Leighton storm was vital to their comeback.
2. Ville Leino – Scoring the overtime winner gave Leino a two-point afternoon and a plus-2 ranking on the day. He’s turning into a playoff warrior.
3. Jordan Leopold – The only Sabre with a positive plus-minus (plus-1), Leopold led the team in ice time (27:01) and kept the Flyers forwards honest.
The Black Hole
Michael Leighton – In 10 months, Leighton has received a two-year contract extension, was waived twice and then suddenly started Game 6 after Sergei Bobrovsky and Brian Boucher both proved unreliable, so it’s hard to blame him for as poor a performance as he put in. But he was not sharp to say the least and his inability to grab the opportunity and run with it makes coach Peter Laviolette’s Game 7 decision all the more perplexing.
THN’s Take: Sad there won’t be a Game 7 in this exciting series, but glad for the fans in Tennessee who will finally watch their home squad play in Round 2 after six attempts. Full credit to the Preds who claimed Game 6 and the series with their depth and the play of league’s best ‘D’ pair (and a pretty darn good goalie, too). Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, out on the ice virtually every time the Ducks’ big three hopped on, limited Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan to eight shots Sunday. In the end, the question still hovers as to why Anaheim wasn’t more physical. This is a different team than the 2007 Cup-winners to be sure, but they should know all too well how far abrasiveness can take a team. Whenever the play got rough in this series, the Ducks got the better of it and why they didn’t skew more to that style is a wonder.
1. Teemu Selanne – Was the best player on the ice, pure and simple. Was held to only a goal, but was a menace in offensive zone. His team may have lost, but if he retires he still went out on top.
2. Shea Weber – Nearly 28 minutes in TOI. Calm, composed. No points, but his snap/slap point shot gets off in a flash with plenty of power. It’s a weapon no other team possesses.
3. Jordin Tootoo – A ball of energy who’s producing, too. Pair of assists, including the one on Nick Spaling’s winner.
The Black Hole
J.P. Dumont – Needless penalty 180 feet from his own net result in the tying goal and undid all the goodwill from his solid work on Steve Sullivan’s second period marker.
THN’s Take: This crucial game started with a surprising twist when Cory Schneider got the start in Vancouver’s net. With a healthy Roberto Luongo on the bench, the Canucks looked better than in recent games and Schneider backstopped them to an early lead. Overall, Schneider was strong, making some big saves. The only hiccups came in mishandling the puck on two occasions, which both lead to a tying goal, and a penalty shot that got past the rookie. Unfortunately for the Canucks, the night took another wild twist when Schneider was injured on the Michael Frolik penalty shot and had to be replaced by Luongo early in the third period. Vancouver dominated the play at times, but Luongo was fighting the puck for the 32:59 he played and ultimately gave up the last goal of the game that pushed this series to Game 7.
1. Dave Bolland – A goal and two assists, Bolland played the key shutdown role yet again, logging 24:38 of ice time and contributing to a perfect night on the penalty-kill.
2. Alexandre Burrows – Had the second-most ice time among Vancouver forwards. Burrows put up a goal and three points as the Sedins were quiet once again.
3. Ben Smith – He’s played as many post-season games as regular season games now and has tripled his goal production. Smith was in the right place at the right time for the overtime-winner.
The Black Hole
Roberto Luongo – He wasn’t supposed to play in Game 6, but was forced in after Schneider’s injury. Luongo only saw 13 shots, but looked shaky on all of them. For some reason, ‘Bobby Lou’ dropped to the ice on the first shot, leaving an open cage for Smith’s winner. That type of flopping play has burned Luongo too many times for him not to adjust.
The NHL Game Night Recap will get you caught up with all the playoff action. THN will name our Three Stars for each game and tabulate the results after each series. First Star = three points, Second Star = two points, Third Star = one point.