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Tag:2011 WC Playoffs
Posted on: May 9, 2011 3:20 pm
Edited on: May 9, 2011 4:04 pm
 

Preds or Wings? Who has best shot at a Game 7?

The Nashville Predators get the first crack tonight. The Detroit Red Wings follow on Tuesday.

But which team is more likely to extend their second-round series to seven games?

My vote would be for the Predators, although I believe it’s possible both could go the distance. The Vancouver Canucks have already allowed the Chicago Blackhawks back from a 0-3 deficit to force a Game 7 in the first round and the Preds are the a little healthier than the Red Wings, who face the San Jose Sharks in their Game 6 on Tuesday. 

"We want to make them think as much as we can," ,” Predators defenseman Shane O’Brien, who spent two seasons with the Canucks, told The Vancouver Sun. "They obviously have had a little bit of trouble closing series out for whatever reason.

"We are kind of taking the attitude we have nothing to lose. No one probably thinks we're going to come back other than the guys in this room. We believe. We have come back all year. You hear Trotzie use the word resilient, we have been resilient all year. There are a lot of good guys in here and we want to keep playing. We have nothing to lose and will have our fans behind us tonight. We'll give it our best shot and hopefully we can force a Game 7."

The Preds and Wings are each on home ice, although that hasn’t always been advantage for Nashville. The Predators enter tonight’s contest 2-3 at home in the playoffs, including losses in Games 3-4 in this series. Nashville has allowed an average of 3.6 goals per game at Bridgestone Arena. 

“We haven’t played great hockey at home so far this series,” Preds forward Jerred Smithson said. “Tonight would be a good night to get things started.” 

The Canucks will have the services of forward Chris Higgins, who took a shot off his foot in the first period of Game 5. He left Monday’s skate early, but told reporters afterward he expected to play. 

That’s good news for the Canucks since Higgins has one more goal (two) than both the Sedin twins in this series. Daniel Sedin is looking for his first marker and Henrik has scored just once through the first five games. Each has two assists. 

Meanwhile, the Red Wings have bigger injury issues to deal with as they look to become the fourth team in NHL history to battle back from an 0-3 deficit. Johan Franzen (ankle) appears to be question mark. But, as it often does this time of year, will Detroit's goalending backstop another victory? Jimmy Howard made 39 saves in Game 5, including several key stops late as the Wings rallied to win 4-3. 

It could take another effort like that if the Wings want to force the series back to the Shark Tank. 

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: May 9, 2011 3:20 pm
Edited on: May 9, 2011 3:21 pm
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Posted on: May 9, 2011 2:14 am
Edited on: May 9, 2011 4:52 pm
 

Ailing Datsyuk leads Wings; Franzen forced out

Pavel Datsyuk’s sore wrist prevented him from taking faceoffs in Game 5, but the Red Wings center still had the passing touch. 

Datsyuk had three assist as the Red Wings extended the second-round series again, this time with a 4-3 comeback victory over San Jose Sharks on Sunday night. 

His final assist came after he swiped the puck from Sharks forward Patrick Marleau, danced around the ice for a bit then hit an open Nicklas Lidstrom, whose blast was deflected in by Tomas Holmstrom for the game-winner. 

“Pav was really good,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said after the game. “I don’t think he was great early, but he was outstanding in the third period. He really dug in and competed.


"It’s interesting. As you watch the playoffs, there are lots of nice players in the regular season and they have good skill level and all that. But if you don’t have a drive train and if you don’t compete at the highest level, you aren’t going to compete this time of year.”

One of the Babcock’s usual playoff stalwarts, Johan Franzen, wasn’t able to grind it out the entire game. 

An ankle injury suffered in Game 2 of the first-round series against the Phoenix Coyotes again made Franzen, known as  “the Mule,” all but immobile on the ice, although he did move pretty quickly when he thought Sharks captain Joe Thornton targeted his injury in the first period. Franzen got two minutes for slashing, while Thornton went off for unsportsmanlike conduct after he embellished the swipe. 

Here's a look at the incident:



And here's a more humorous look at Thornton's dive you "Star Wars" fans will appreciate. 

“It’s been hard for the Mule,” Babcock said. “The Mule is a star at playoff time. Playing on one leg has been hard for him. “

Franzen’s last shift came midway through the second period and Babcock was forced to shuffle his lines even more. He had already scratched Jiri Hudler in favor of the quicker Drew Miller before the game. 

Babcock said it’s up to Franzen whether he'll play in Tuesday’s Game 6.

“I don’t know what will happen there,” Babcock said. “He’ll just tell me if he’s going or not. If he can go, we’re going with him.”

If he can’t, we might see veteran Mike Modano. Modano has played in only one game in these playoffs, Game 4 in the first round, and missed half of the regular season after wrist surgery. 

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: US PRESSWIRE


Posted on: May 9, 2011 1:22 am
Edited on: May 9, 2011 3:35 pm
 

Roenick: Sharks' Marleau 'gutless' in Game 5

At the very least, the San Jose Sharks’ Game 5 loss allowed Jeremy Roenick to take another run at Patrick Marleau

Roenick, the former NHLer turned Versus analyst, called Marleau’s performance in the Detroit Red Wings’ comeback victory on Sunday night “gutless,” but the rips kept coming. 

“All in all 19 players of San Jose Sharks came and grinded it out and played very good game,” Roenick added. 

Here's a look at the video: 



Roenick then took to Twitter to defend his remarks, with explanation marks galore.

“Everyone can be mad at me for my comments. That's fine!!” Roenick wrote. “My opinions are mine and I’ve always voiced them! Classless? I’ve had worse said of me!! 

“Marleau has his fans and that's great! I am not one of them and won't pretend to be! I love the Sharks with a passion and think the fans deserve a better effort than Marleau has given in this series!!!”

It was a harsher assessment than when the Sharks took on the Wings, also in the second round, a year ago. 

“When is Patrick Marleau gonna come out and hit somebody in a playoff game?” Roenick said on a Candian radio station. 

Bitter much, JR? He played his final two seasons of his career with San Jose, the last on the Sharks’ Presidents’ Trophy-winning team of 2008-09. That run was cut off in the first round by the Anaheim Ducks in a series where Marleau was chided for doing the “double flamingo” as jumped out of the way from a slap shot. 

Marleau’s captain’s “C” was yanked that offseason, but he remains one of the classiest players in the NHL and never outwardly sulked as Joe Thornton took over the captaincy. Marleau also didn’t stand out in Game 5, which I guess maybe you could note. He didn’t have any points, but he also finished even, although he did have two giveaways -- one less than Thornton. Sharks defensemen Ian White and Niclas Wallin, by the way, were both minus-3. 

"Jeremy Roenick only cares about furthering his broadcasting career," Sharks' broadcaster Randy Hahn said on Twitter . "His Marleau take was WAY over the line. Many bridges were burned."

Roenick, however, wasn’t the only former NHL player/broadcaster to rip the Sharks, but give Aaron Ward credit for not going the personal route. 

“Another case of 'Sanjoseitis'?” Ward, also a Versus analyst, wrote on Twitter . “New strand similar to ones seen in years past. Symptoms include choking and restlessness.”

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: May 7, 2011 11:41 pm
Edited on: May 7, 2011 11:41 pm
 

Legwand scores equalizer from behind net

The Nashville Predators found success again by tossing pucks from behind the Vancouver Canucks’ net.

Preds center David Legwand flipped the puck from behind net in the opening minute of the second period and the puck bounded off the arm of Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler then past goalie Roberto Luongo. Legwand, who also scored the game’s first goal, tied the game with the trick tally and the Preds went on to win, 4-3, on Saturday to force a sixth game in the second-round series. 

“That second goal is the type of goal you don’t see too often,” Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said.

Here’s a look at it:



Nashville forced overtime in Game 2 when defenseman Ryan Suter’s centering pass from end boards banked off Loungo’s stick and in with just over a minute left in regulation. 
-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: May 7, 2011 11:04 pm
Edited on: May 8, 2011 1:03 am
 

Canucks' Salo delivers questionable hit

Sami Salo could be the latest Vancouver Canucks player to have a hit reviewed by league officials. 

The Canucks defenseman delivered a hit that drove the head of Nashville Predators forwad Nick Spaling into the boards late in the second period of Game 5 of the first-round series on Saturday night. 

Here's a look at the collision:



Spaling, who appeared to favor his shoulder as he left the ice, returned for the closing minutes of the Preds’ 4-3 victory at Rogers Arena to force a Game 6. No penalty was called on the play.

“He’ll be fine,” Predators coach Barry Trotz said after the game. “He’s a tough kid.”

The Canucks played without forward Raffi Torres for the final two games of the regular season and the first two contests of the playoffs after he was suspended for a hit to the head of Edmonton Oilers rookie Jordan Eberle. The league also looked at a hit Torres made on Chicago’s Brent Seabrook in the first round, but the NHL chose not to suspend Torres for that collision. 

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: May 7, 2011 9:30 pm
Edited on: May 7, 2011 11:46 pm
 

Canucks' Samuelsson injured, will miss Game 6

The Vancouver Canucks lost the services of forward Mikael Samuelsson as he limped off after an apparent left leg or groin injury in the first period of Game 5 of the second-round series on Saturday night. 

Samuelsson appeared to get tangled up briefly with Nashville Predators forward Nick Spaling with 7:32 left in the opening period as the two battled for the puck. He lay on the ice for about a minute after the play was blown dead before he was helped off by teammates Sami Salo and Aaron Rome.  Samuelsson unable to put any weight on his left leg as he left the ice.

“He’s got a lower-body injury and he’s day-to-day,” Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said after the Preds won, 4-3. “He’s not going to travel with us tomorrow."

Samuelson has battled several injuries since he left the Detroit Red Wings to sign a free-agent deal with the Canucks before the 2009-10 season. Most recently, Samuelson missed a couple weeks late in the regular season due to a lower-body injury, a game in the first round due to the flu and Rogers Sportsnet’s Mark Spector reports Samuelsson has battled some sort of an abdominal injury.

Samuelson has a goal, two assists and is a minus-3 in 11 playoff games. He’s averaged 17:47 of ice time, sixth-most among Canucks forwards. 



-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: May 6, 2011 11:36 pm
Edited on: May 7, 2011 3:19 am
 

Lidstrom extends career at least one more game

Niclkas Lidstrom did plenty to extend the series -- and maybe his career --- one more game. 

The Detroit Red Wings captain scored twice as the his team held on for a 4-3 victory in Game 4 of the second-round series on Friday night. The victory prevented a San Jose Sharks sweep as the series moves back to Silicon Valley for Game 5 on Sunday. 

It also gave Detroit coach Mike Babcock  a chance to chide some reporters after talk of  the Lidstrom retirement has been the talk of the Motor City this week. 

“I thought it’s really good (with) you guys talking about retirement yesterday,” Babcock deadpanned. “I think he answered that bell pretty good.”

Lidstrom, 41, will become an unrestricted free agent July 1 and he hasn’t indicated what he’ll do this offseason. His oldest son, 16-year-old Kevin, has been accepted to hockey school in Sweden, fueling speculation Lidstrom may head back to his native country. 

But performances like Friday showed once again the defenseman still has plenty left. He scored Detroit’s second and third goals of the game as the Red Wings built a 3-0 lead, one that the Sharks eventually overcame before Darren Helm scored the game-winner with 1:27 left in regulation. 

Lidstrom has had four goals and an assist in the playoffs --- all coming in the four games against the Sharks. That’s more goals than any other Wings player in the entire playoffs, including Pavel Datsyuk (three goals), Johan Franzen (two) and Jiri Hudler (one). 



-- A.J. Perez
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com