Best of April 17: Coyotes come back for OT win, Martin Brodeur pulled
There were only three games on Tuesday night but we had an OT game, a three-goal comeback and a goalie standing on his head. What more could you want?
Once again, one of the playoff games this postseason was hi-jacked by a questionable hit. In this case I'm talking about Raffi Torres' check on Marian Hossa that ended in the Blackhawks forward going to the hospital on a stretcher.
That one is going to be debated for a while and I sincerely doubt this isn't the last we'll talk about it. Especially with the climate at the moment, I have to believe Torres is going to get a break coming his way.
But that conversation is sad, and not just because of the danger involved. What makes it sad is that it overshadows the games. In the playoffs especially, it should always be about the games. Because this one had all that you'd be looking for.
After going the majority of the game with only one goal to show for it, the Blackhawks and Coyotes had a burst just about a minute with three goals. Each was a swinging goal, too. First Rostislav Klesla tied the game at 1-1 for the Coyotes, then Michal Frolik -- in the lineup because of Andrew Shaw's suspension -- made it 2-1 Chicago just 33 seconds later. But then the wizard, Ray Whitney, evened the game back up just 32 seconds after that.
In the end it resulted in another overtime in the series, the third one in three games, and an eventual Coyotes win (more on the winner below). The series is now back in control of the Coyotes with the 2-1 lead.
In the end, hopefully it always comes back to the games. And with finishes like that in Chicago, there's a good reason to.
Player of the night
How about Pekka Rinne for the Predators, huh? He pretty much came into Detroit like he owns the place and walked out having delivered the Predators two victories in two games. On Tuesday night he was very strong, stopping 40 of 41 Red Wings shots he saw on the night and he got just enough support to make it count and send Nashville back home with a 3-1 series lead.
Rinne is starting to put together quite a reputation for being at his best in the postseason after what he did a year ago and what he's starting to do now. That's never a bad rep to have for a goalie, now is it?
Goat of the night
Florida Panthers defenseman Mike Weaver went the entire season without a goal. And he played a full 82-game schedule to boot. He's not like fellow blue-liners in Florida Jason Garrison and Brian Campbell, he's there for his defensive prowess.
So forgive my surprise when I saw Weaver blast a goal past Martin Brodeur to completely erase the Panthers' deficit in their stunning 4-3 win over New Jersey in Game 3. The goal brought an end to the night for Brodeur, the fastest he has been pulled in a playoff game he started in his career.
I hate to do it, Marty, but the goat tonight is you (in the in-game sense, otherwise it's Raffi Torres).
Goal of the night
For the third time in as many games, the Blackhawks and Coyotes went to overtime, giving us the excitement of a golden goal situation. And hey, whoever said they have to be a thing of beauty? This time of the year there aren't many that are going to win a beauty contest, Mikael Boedker's winner is definitely included.
Just throwing the puck on net from a near-impossible angle, Boedker somehow managed to beat Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford. Watch the video, he released that shot from almost on the goal line. That's a shot that really had no business going in but it ends up being the winner.
Save of the night
We're going back to the player of the night in Pekka Rinne. He somehow denied Daniel Cleary on this point-blank opportunity in the first period to keep the game scoreless at that point.
He made 40 stops on the night, but this one was probably the best. That's tremendous coverage post to post in the butterfly. Thing of beauty.
Tweet of the night
Well without the Kings playing, this category is severely lacking the go-to account these days. But how about George Parros enjoying some of the playoff hockey from home?
We just won't be going to him for any predictions down the line. Here's what he tweeted during the Red Wings-Predators game.
I usually don't watch much playoff hockey but I have been watching this DET game, Todd Bertuzzi is a beast!— george parros (@Stache16) April 18, 2012
Stat of the night
The Panthers scored three times on the power play on Tuesday night. After the game they brought their total for the series to six on the man advantage. In three games. Keep in mind that in 82 games this season the Devils gave up only 27 goals short-handed, the best PK unit in NHL history.
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