After spiriting away the fourteen NHL teams that were not strong enough to make beyond the regular season, hockey’s Grim Reaper had a few days off to enjoy the opening games of the playoffs. But yesterday he had to gather up his hockey stick scythe, tear himself away from the Afterlife Bar & Café and make his way the windy city.
There the Chicago Blackhawks awaited his arrival, down three games to none in their matchup with the Vancouver Canucks
However, the Hawks were determined to not go quietly into the night and spanked the Presidents’ Trophy winners 7-2 to avoid being given the broom treatment.
David Bolland notched one goal and assisted on three others in the win while Patrick Sharp converted on a pair of power play goals in the third period to send the Reaper away empty handed on this night. Goalie Corey Crawford turned aside 21 of 23 Canuck shot for the win…and even helped out the offense by earning a secondary assist on Brian Campbell’s goal that broke a 1-1 tie in the second period.
The two teams return to Vancouver for game five Thursday night.
Also last night, the Los Angeles Kings died a painful death in game three of their series with the San Jose Sharks. After building a 4-0 lead early in the second period, the Kings watched as the visiting Sharks gnawed their way back with three unanswered goals. But just 15 seconds after Logan Couture got San Jose back to within one Ryan Smyth gave LA a two-goal cushion.
Ryane Clowe and Joe Pavelski then each scored in the final 1:25 of the period to send the two teams into the second intermission deadlocked at five apiece. The scored remained that way through the third and Devin Setoguchi capped off the comeback with a tally at the 3:09 mark of overtime.
Setoguchi, as you may remember, was the 8th overall draft pick by the Sharks back in the 2005 draft, a pick they acquired from the Atlanta Thrashers. Then-GM Don Waddell and the Thrashers eventually traded their way to the 16th pick where they snagged “the player they had wanted all along”…Alex Bourret.
Anyway…Hockey’s Grim Reaper will now make his way to Arizona where the Phoenix Coyotes face elimination tonight. There, the Detroit Red Wings will be looking to do what the Canuck’s failed to accomplish in Chicago…advancing to round-two via a four game sweep.
Prior to puck drop there, we’ll be treated to a quartet of game-fours. Washington will be in New York, Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay, Philadelphia at Buffalo and Anaheim is in Nashville.
The Caps, Pens, Flyers and Preds will all look to take a 3-1 lead in their respective series.
If those four teams are successful, it will set up a very hectic travel schedule for the Reaper later this week. However, hockey’s Angel of Death slipped me some 411 this morning saying that the Fat Lady has availed herself to sing the final song for teams facing elimination if scheduling conflicts should arise.
Cats to be Torched?
According to this tweet by Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Thrashers have given permission to the Florida panthers to interview John Torchetti for their vacant head coach position. Torchetti came to Atlanta from Chicago last summer as the team’s associate coach.
This didn’t come a huge surprise to me as I heard some buzz surrounding this during the closing weeks of the season. Plus, I think Torchetti is indeed worthy of such consideration.
If Torch does actually take over behind the Cats bench, he will become the first associate or assistant Thrashers coach to be tapped for an NHL head coaching gig elsewhere.