The Morning After:
My 3 stars from last night:
1. Nicklas Lidstrom (2 goals, 1 assist)
Detroit’s captain came up huge as he was involved in all 3 goals, including scoring the game-winner with 50 seconds left.
2. Marc Savard (2 goals)
Savard scored 2 big goals in Boston’s win over Carolina.
3. Chris Osgood (22 saves)
I felt Ozzie held his ground in net, and made some good saves in the 3rd.
Best atmosphere: Detroit
The Joe was nuts from the get-go…
‘RLD Game-Changing Performance’ of the night:
Nicklas Lidstrom… Lidstrom made a very good play in stepping into the slot to rip a shot on Hiller, then sticking home his own rebound to put the Wings up 3-2 with 50 seconds left. Hiller basically gave him the 5-hole, but credit Lidstrom for taking advantage of that late in the game.
Penguins @ Capitals, Game 1, 1:00 ET
Blackhawks @ Canucks, Game 2, 9:00
Game of the Night:
4) Pittsburgh Penguins @ 2) Washington Capitals
Game 1, 1:00 ET… TV: NBC, CBC, Local Networks
Players to watch:
PIT- Chris Kunitz
I’ve been told he’s going to have a big series.
WSH- Mike Green
He’s gotta step up on the man advantage.
PIT- Marc-Andre Fleury (Playoff stats: 4-2, 2.39 GAA)
WSH- Simeon Varlamov (Playoff stats: 4-2, 1.17 GAA)
PIT- Mike Zigomanis (undisclosed, out)
WSH- Donald Brashear (suspended), Jeff Schultz (upper body, doubtful), Quintin Laing (spleen, out), Brent Johnson (hip, out)
Let’s hope this game doesn’t go to double OT so it doesn’t get shifted to Versus… NBC and their precious pre-pre-Kentucky Derby show! The Caps should have the momentum after winning 3 straight to beat the Rangers. But I like Pittsburgh to go on the road and win today behind Fleury & Malkin.
Prediction: Penguins 3, Capitals 2
4) Chicago Blackhawks @ 3) Vancouver Canucks
Game 2, 9:00 ET… TV: VERSUS, CBC, Local Networks
Players to watch:
CHI- Patrick Kane
Kane was big in the 3rd period of Game 1… he needs to carry that over tonight.
VAN- Alex Burrows
Look for him to play with an edge tonight and force some penalties.
CHI- Nikolai Khabibulin (Playoff stats: 4-3, 2.74 GAA)
VAN- Roberto Luongo (Playoff stats: 5-0, 1.50 GAA)
CHI- Brent Sopel (elbow, out)
VAN- Taylor Pyatt (personal, doubtful)
This one can literally go either way. Chicago can either take a positive out of their comeback, or a negative. I expect both goaltenders to play better, with Luongo and Vancouver taking a 2-0 series lead. Expect the tempers to ramp up tonight…
Prediction: Canucks 3, Blackhawks 1
For predictions and analysis like this all playoffs long, stop by the Red Light District.