Johan Franzen of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates a goal on Evgeni Nabokov of the San Jose Sharks during Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Mich. (Getty Images)
Posted on: May 6, 2010 10:42 pm
Posted on: May 6, 2010 9:13 am
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• At the beginning of the playoffs, many questioned Evgeni Nabokov's ability to perform and help the Sharks win the Stanley Cup. And while there is still a long way to go, Nabokov has made 217 saves this postseason and has gone a long way toward quieting those who have questioned his ability. Nabokov's 2.14 goals-against average is the best in the playoffs. [ San Jose Mercury News ]
• Down 3-0, the Red Wings face a major climb uphill. [ Detroit Free Press ]
• As the Bruins are on the verge of sweeping the Flyers and reaching the Eastern Conference finals, the regular season is all in the past. All those nights when the Bruins felt like the the 1958 Canadiens or 1972 Bruins are in the past. [ Boston Globe ]
• Even though Bruins continue to win games, players keep getting injured. [ Boston Globe ]
• Flyers doing everything right, but just can't score. [ Philadelphia News/Inquirer ]
No. 2 Chicago Blackhawks vs. No. 3 Vancouver Canucks (Blackhawks lead 2-1)
• The Blackhawks are playing with great energy and enthusiasm right now, but would it kill the team to have one good fight? The history between these teams suggests it would behoove the Hawks not to mix it up. [ Chicago Sun-Times ]
Tags: Boston Bruins, Boston-Philadelphia, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago-Vancouver, Detroit Red Wings, Dustin Byfuglien, Eastern Conference, Eastern Conference Semifinals, Evgeni Nabokov, Jordan Leopold, Jordan Staal, Montreal Canadiens, Morning Skate, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh-Montreal, San Jose Sharks, San Jose-Detroit, Semis, Troy Brouwer, Vancouver Canucks, Western Conference, Western Conference Semifinals
Posted on: April 30, 2010 12:08 pm
Edited on: April 30, 2010 7:37 pm
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Jaroslav Halak had one of the biggest task of all. The goalie not only got pulled from Game 3, then was forced to sit the bench for Game 4. But he came back the final three games against the Capitals and stopped 131 of 134 shots to lift the Canadiens to victory. "We're going to try, probably, a different approach on how to score goals than Washington did and, hopefully, have a little bit more success against a guy who's playing very well with a lot of confidence," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. [ Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ]
• Canadiens have little time to bask in first-round victory over No. 1 seed. [ Montreal Gazette ]
As difficult as it might be for the Flyers, they have to focus on the series at hand. In the NHL, you can't get caught looking ahead, especially when you never know who will win the other series. Then eighth-seeded Canadiens won three games in a row and, just like that, the Flyers were booking hotel space in Boston instead of D.C. "When it was 3-1, obviously you think Washington is going to close it out," Flyers goalie Brian Boucher said Thursday. "It just goes to show you the parity in this league. Anything can happen on any night." [ Philadelphia News/Inquirer ]
No. 2 Chicago Blackhawks vs. No. 3 Vancouver Canucks
Get ready for the most intense series yet. The Blackhawks and Canucks publicly have expressed their mutual disdain. Draw a bulls-eye on the back of Ryan Kesler , who called Hawks forward Andrew Ladd a coward. Odd comment on the heels of Ladd getting the best of the Vancouver center in a middleweight bout. Hate. Then hate some more. Some of this intolerance is real. Some of it is manufactured. But either way, get ready for one amazing series. [ Chicago Tribune ]
Joe Pavelski lived up to his nickname -- The Big Pavelski -- in Game 1 with two goals and assisting on another in the Sharks' Game 1 win over the Red Wings. But with all the plays he has made in the playoffs, it might be time for a new nickname. "He's hungry," Thornton said. "Right now he always seems to be on the puck." [ San Jose Mercury News ]
• In loss to Sharks, Red Wings' Dan Cleary scores first point of playoffs. [ Detroit Free Press ]
Tags: Adam Burish, Boston Bruins, Boston-Philadelphia, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago-Vancouver, Dan Cleary, Danny Briere, Detroit Red Wings, Eastern Conference, Eastern Conference Semifinals, Evgeni Nabokov, Hal Gill, Henrik Sedin, Montreal Canadiens, Morning Skate, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh-Montreal, Ryan Kesler, San Jose Sharks, San Jose-Detroit, Semis, Tuukka Rask, Vancouver Canucks, Western Conference, Western Conference Semifinals
Posted on: April 30, 2010 12:22 am
Posted on: April 29, 2010 10:12 pm
Edited on: April 30, 2010 12:10 am
By Erin Brown
If the first period of Game 1 is any indication, the San Jose Sharks are ready to bite off the head of that playoff monkey on their back.
Check out some of the first period stats for the Sharks:
• They scored three goals in 79 seconds, setting a new franchise record for fastest three goals in a playoff game.
• They dominated in the faceoff circle, winning 18 of 30 (60 percent) draws.
San Jose couldn't keep up the pace over the next two periods, but did just enough to hang onto a 4-3 victory.
Joe Pavelski continued his postseason tear with two goals and an assist. Evgeni Nabokov finished with 20 saves, including a clutch stop on Nicklas Lidstrom with 19 seconds to play. San Jose's big guns, often pinpointed for their absence during the postseason, are producing. Dan Boyle finished with three assists and Dany Heatley chipped in a goal and an assist. Thornton also registered a helper.There is still a lot of hockey to be played in the series, but for one night at least, the Sharks can avoid criticism of an unfocused and shaky start.
Posted on: April 28, 2010 8:48 pm
Edited on: April 28, 2010 9:51 pm
Wes Goldstein's Take
The Sharks will win if: They don't let the ghosts of playoffs past get to them. That might be easier said than done, particularly against an intimidating opponent like Detroit. A big series from goalie Evgeni Nabokov wouldn't hurt, but even beter would be finding a way to get the big line of Joe Thornton , Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley on track. They were dominant during the regular season, but combined for one goal against Colorado and were all minus players.
The Red Wings will win if: If they keep doing what they have been for the last two months, which is dictate the pace and flow of their games. The Red Wings have been nearly unbeatable since the Olympic break, and they came into the playoffs healthy and better rested than in years past. It is a cliché to say a team's best players have to be their best players at this time of year. Detroit's tend to be exactly that, and judging by the way things went against Phoenix, they should be the same against San Jose. Sharks player might take note.
How They Got Here
San Jose: Defeated the Colorado Avalanche, 4-2, in the Western Conference Quarterfinals ... Finished the regular season with a 51-20-11 record for 113 points (1st, Pacific Division)
Detroit: Defeated the Phoenix Coyotes, 4-3, in the Western Conference Quarterfinals ... Finished the regular season with a 44-24-14 record for 102 points (2nd, Central Division)
Posted on: April 25, 2010 1:35 am
Complete Schedule & Bracket | Blog: San Jose-Colorado
Series MVP: Joe Pavelski, C, San Jose Sharks
In a series where Joe Thornton , Patrick Marleau and Dany Healtey -- San Jose's 80-point scorers during the regular season -- failed to have an impact, Pavelski filled the void. For all three of them. Pavelski finished the series tied with Ryane Clowe for the team lead in points (8), which was two shy of the top line's combined effort. Pavelski topped all Sharks with five goals, three of which came at crucial moments. He tallied his first of the series with 32 seconds left in Game 2 to force overtime. He recorded the decisive goal 10:24 into overtime of Game 4. The center capped his series with a two-goal night, which included the go-ahead goal and eventual game-winner, in Game 6.
On Target• Wes Goldstein: San Jose in 5: As good a matchup as San Jose could hope for in round one.
• Erin Brown: San Jose in 6: Thanks to Heatley , Thornton will find his playoff game.
• Mike Hurcomb: San Jose in 6: Keeping Evgeni Nabokov sharp will help end Sharks' postseason woes.
• Dennis Dodd: San Jose in 6: Colorado is too young and too inexperienced to make this a series.
Posted on: April 25, 2010 1:18 am
By Erin Brown
Despite all the other storylines that emerged -- top-seeded San Jose falling behind 2-1, Dan Boyle 's own goal and the unbelievable effort of Colorado's Craig Anderson in the first four games -- Nabokov's solid play is likely to be forgotten in years to come.
"Nabby had a great series," Boyle said. "He was off one night, maybe one period, but we played well that night for him, and he saved us."
Even with a night in which he allowed five goals, Nabokov finished this series with a 1.76 goals-against average, good for second best among playoff goaltenders. Remove that Game 2 -- a game in which he won, 6-5 -- from his stats, and Nabokov's goals-against average drops to 1.16.
After Game 2, Nabokov was close to flawless. He held the Avalanche to a goal or less in three of the next four games. He may have finished with two shutouts in the series had it not been for Boyle's own goal in Game 3.
"He got stronger as the series went on, which was good for the team," Joe Pavelski said. "When he struggled a bit, we were able to find some goals. We had his back, and he had our back throughout the series."
It remains to be seen whether Nabokov and the Sharks can keep up that agreement.