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: Buffalo built a three-goal first period lead thanks to some shoddy goaltending from Brian Boucher, but, as we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in these playoffs, the game was far from over. With Michael Leighton making just his second foray into the Philly net since losing Game 6 of last year’s Cup final, the Flyers flexed their offensive muscle, mounted a comeback, but couldn’t finish the job. Tyler Ennis, far and away the most dangerous Sabre forward all night, bagged his second of the contest in overtime to provide his team with the win. The victory was especially huge because Buffalo lost offense-minded winger Jason Pominville in the first period after it appeared his left leg was cut inadvertently by the skate of Flyers left winger James van Riemsdyk.
1. Tyler Ennis – Taking the “small but shifty” tag to a whole new level.
2. Andrej Meszaros – Got the Flyers comeback going in the second period with a goal and an assist. Played tough ‘D’ eating up some of the minutes Chris Pronger usually takes.
3. Ryan Miller – Huge save late in the third on Claude Giroux when the score was tied and his team was shorthanded.
The Black Hole
Brian Boucher – It’s ironic Leighton ended up making an appearance because the first goal Boucher surrendered 2:24 into the game to Ennis was almost a carbon copy of the bad-angle shot Patrick Kane snuck past Leighton to win the Cup in OT last June. Just 1:27 after that, Boucher allowed Thomas Vanek to bank one off him and into the net from behind the goal line, officially sucking all the life out of the building.
THN’s Take: Last year, Martin Erat handed Game 5 to the Blackhawks on a platter with a brutal giveaway that robbed Nashville of a chance to take a series lead home with a chance to win. This year, with Erat out of the lineup offense was expected to fall short for the Preds, but instead of coughing up this Game 5, they clawed back to take it in overtime and head home with a chance to win the first playoff series in franchise history. In what has been a gem of a series, this installment continued the pattern of at least one goal being scored in each period this series. Bobby Ryan’s highlight reel goal was the best of the first round so far, but Shea Weber’s heart-breaker to tie it with 36 seconds left in the third was the turning point.
1. Jordin Tootoo – Recorded six shots on net, but it was Tootoo’s playmaking that made the difference. While talk will be attracted to the goals of Ryan and Weber, Tootoo’s, ahem, two assists were beauties with the second ending the game.
2. Jason Blake – Scored two goals including one that looked like it was going to be the game-winner until the final 36 seconds of regulation.
3. Shea Weber – Played the most minutes (28:51) of anyone in the game and his tying goal was a dagger.
The Black Hole
Luca Sbisa – Committed too early on both Tootoo assists that led to crucial goals and was left looking over his shoulder for the last tally of the game.
Poll: Who was your first star of the game?
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.