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 trck 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: Wings center Pavel Datsyuk was a one-man Navy Seals team Saturday, demolishing the Coyotes with a three-assist, four-point afternoon that represented one of the better individual efforts in recent playoff history. The Coyotes nearly came all the way back from a 4-0 deficit thanks to captain Shane Doan’s two goals and three points (and an atypically undisciplined Detroit team that gave Phoenix seven power plays), but Jimmy Howard held his team up and allowed the Wings to retain home ice advantage as the series shifts to Arizona.
1.Pavel Datsyuk – Scored Detroit’s first goal, assisted on the next three. Was so good, he should’ve skated to center ice after the game ended and performed the James Brown fall-to-one-knee-and-be-covered-by-a-cape routine.
2. Shane Doan – Yotes’ heart-and-soul gave a heart-and-soul performance in losing cause.
3. Jimmy Howard – Bent, but didn’t break as Coyotes pressed him in third period.
The Black Hole
Ilya Bryzgalov – To be fair, Bryzgalov made several spectacular saves and kept the game from getting out of hand before Phoenix’s third-period comeback attempt. But he has now allowed eight goals in two games. Not good enough.
THN’s Take: Claude Giroux broke the goose egg four minutes in to get the crowd rocking early in a first period featuring frantic end-to-end action: a fight, six power plays, a pair of 5-on-3s, 23 total shots, six scores, a goalie change and a 3-3 score. Twenty minutes later it was 5-3 Philly with the Flyers breaking through with the man advantage after going 0-for-12 to start the series. Philly then hung on for the one-goal win.
1. Claude Giroux – Two points, wasn’t on for a Sabres goal, played more than any other Flyers forward and did so in every situation. Initiated offense and contact all game long. Won all the physical battles.
2. Brian Boucher – Came in for Sergei Bobrovsky after the rookie allowed three goals on seven shots. Made some big saves to close out the first stanza and settled things down in the blue ice. Stopped 20 of 21 shots.
3. Tomas Vanek – Second career two-goal game in the playoffs. Twice tied the contest and was the most dangerous Sabre of the night.
The Black Hole
Sergei Bobrovsky – Would like to say the entire Sabres team for taking momentum-stifling penalties throughout. But if it’s one guy, have to go with Bobrovsky. In a do-or-die game, he allowed three goals on seven shots in seven-and-a-half minutes. May have been his final chance at playoff action.
THN’s Take: This game was essentially over before the two-minute mark as the Habs came out with a quick-strike attack that overwhelmed the Bruins and staked the visitors to a 2-0 lead. Boston, playing without stalwart defenseman Zdeno Chara (illness/dehydration), allowed too many odd-man rushes and permitted the Canadiens to burn them with speed all night, while Montreal stood up to the Bruins physically and largely avoided getting sucked into retaliatory action.
1. Mike Cammalleri – Potted the first goal of the game and assisted on the next one. His speed and skill gave Boston’s blueline corps fits in the early going.
2. Carey Price – While his defense did a great job of helping him out, Price was sharp early when the Bruins tried to claw back and he held the fort late with the game still hanging in the balance, making 34 saves on the night.
3. Yannick Weber – Filling in at forward for the injured Andrei Kostitsyn, the converted defenseman played a physically stout game for the Habs and scored the insurance goal late in the second.
The Black Hole
Tim Thomas – Served up several fat rebounds right off the bat and put his team in a hole they couldn’t dig out of. While his netminding counterpart on the other side of the rink was sturdy, Thomas seemed to be constantly spinning around in his crease in the first period. When his team did score, the veteran goalie couldn’t shut the door on Weber’s tally.
THN’s Take: Well, now. That’s the Sharks team we’ve all come to know and joke about. Just when you thought this team was maybe, just maybe, turning a corner, they put up a lame effort as they did in Game 2. San Jose slayed the Red Wings and went to the conference final last year. They made some first half tweaks and were a powerhouse in the second half of the regular season. They have the defending Stanley Cup champion goalie. They have toughness. This year was supposed to be different. The Kings took complete advantage of the lazy Sharks effort led by a Drew Doughty bounceback performance of epic proportions and other strong showings from players you’d assume would look good in a game all about out-working your opponent (see Smyth, Ryan).
1. Drew Doughty – Had one two-goal game in his career until tonight. After a less than mediocre Game 1 that featured him being burned on a goal by Logan Couture, Doughty was everywhere and did everything in Game 2, finishing with a four-point night.
2. Jonathan Quick – He was the only reason the Kings weren’t blown out in Game 1 and although Quick wasn’t tested as thoroughly in Game 2, he turned aside 34 shots for the shocking shutout.
3. Ryan Smyth – His one assist doesn’t illustrate what Smyth brought to the table. He was winning all the battles for the puck and, while that largely had to do with the fact the Sharks didn’t seem like they were trying most of the night, Captain Canada kept the Kings’ heart beating.
The Black Hole
Ryane Clowe – The entire Sharks lineup disappeared into an abyss bereft of light as soon as the puck dropped, but Clowe helped pull them in. Trailing 1-0 after a power play goal early, Clowe took a mindless penalty on Doughty, which the Kings capitalized on for a two-goal edge. He took another dumb first period penalty, wasn’t working defensively on a few occasions and finished minus-1.
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.