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: The Lightning’s vaunted 1-3-1 formation was no problem for Washington, as the Capitals easily sliced through the unique defense early on. But a disallowed goal by Brooks Laich and an inability to cash in on the power play ultimately hurt the Caps, who began to take unnecessary penalties in the second period to hand momentum back to Tampa. The Bolts, to their credit, played a steady game and won the special teams battle. Of looming importance, however, was a first-period injury to Simon Gagne, who fell awkwardly on his shoulder and neck after a clean but thunderous hit by Caps defenseman Scott Hannan. Bolts blueliner Pavel Kubina was also shaken up during the game.
1. Sean Bergenheim – Opened the scoring for Tampa Bay and was dangerous throughout, using his speed to create chances at both even strength and while shorthanded.
2. Steven Stamkos – Notched the game-winner for the Lightning on the power play and had other opportunities that were just as deadly.
3. Steve Downie – Took a bad penalty early, but rebounded with a goal and an assist, finishing the night with a plus-2 rating.
The Black Hole
Jason Chimera – Though none of the Capitals played horribly, Chimera’s unnecessary elbow on Kubina behind the Tampa net led to the Stamkos power play goal that gave the Lightning the difference they needed.
THN’s Take: San Jose took it to the Red Wings all night, outshooting Detroit 39-24 in regulation (and the Wings would have had 18 if not for a frantic last minute of the first). But even though the Sharks controlled the play for most of the night, the Red Wings led on the scoreboard until the final half of the third period. Surprisingly, this rivalry got off to a bit of a slow start as the game lacked significant emotion outside of a Jimmy Howard/Joe Pavelski dust up after a second period whistle. The crowd noise picked up after Todd Bertuzzi’s third period boarding penalty and erupted after the ensuing tying goal. Even though Howard was confidently on top of his game all night, you just had the feeling San Jose was going to score in overtime at some point with all the chances they had been getting – and that’s exactly what happened when Benn Ferriero safely tossed the puck at the net and got a lucky bounce for the winner in his first career playoff game. The Wings had a long layoff after their first round win and Henrik Zetterberg didn’t look quite himself in his first playoff game of the season. Expect a more productive Detroit team in Game 2 – one that will jump all over Antti Niemi, who continued to have trouble finding the puck.
1. Jimmy Howard – The best player on the ice looked calm when challenged with tough shots and made 44 saves on the night; he was only beaten by a puck batted out of the air and a redirect off his own defenseman’s stick.
2. Dan Boyle – His 27: 41 of ice time was a game-high and he recorded assists on both goals.
3. Pavel Datsyuk – No individual Sharks really stood out all game, but Datsyuk certainly did for Detroit. He logged the most ice time among Detroit forwards, had the most hits in the game and contributed with a beautiful assist on Nicklas Lidstrom’s goal.
The Black Hole
Todd Bertuzzi – Had one shot on net and two costly penalty minutes. Only Patrick Eaves and Justin Abdelkader played fewer minutes, but Bertuzzi’s boarding penalty stuck out as a turning point. Up until then, the game was slowing and the crowd was out of it, but the penalty got the Sharks the kick start and goal they needed.
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.