NHL playoffs round one update: Reaper’s busy weekend and Blackhawks stayin’ Alive

Wednesday night in Arizona, hockey’s Grim Reaper made his way into Jobing.com Arena and departed with the souls of the Phoenix Coyotes’ playoff aspirations. He then made his way up to Vancouver Thursday where for the second time this week he looked to harvest the Chicago Blackhawks hopes to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.

However, as was the case Tuesday evening in Chicago, he once again left empty handed as the Hawks thumped the Canucks 5-0 to force a game six Sunday.

Roberto Luongo has given up 10 goals on 40 shots in the two losses to Chicago. Last night he departed after Marian Hossa’s goal 1:26 into the second period gave his team a 4-0 edge. Hossa finished with 2 goals, an assists and a +2 rating during 14:02 TOI.

Duncan Keith has a pair of goals and 4 overall points on the night while Corey Crawford stopped all 36 shots he faced to earn his first NHL playoff shutout.

Outscoring the Presidents’ Cup winners 12-2 in the past two games, the Blackhawks continue to dance to the Bee Gees hit, “Stayin’ Alive”. And once the game’s outcome was no longer in doubt early in the second period, even the Reaper was seen bustin’ a few disco moves with The Fat Lady over by the Zamboni.

He’s actually a pretty cool guy once you get a few drinks down him and he relaxes a bit. That, plus I think The Fat Lady has had a positive influence on him since the two began hanging out together this spring.

The NHL’s version of the angel of dark and light will get an evening off tonight as his services will not be needed in either of the games being played. The Buffalo Sabres are in Philly while the Nashville Predators find themselves back in Anaheim to face the Ducks. Both are game fives with the series tied at two.

But he’ll again be racking up the frequent flyer miles beginning Saturday.

At noon that day he’s schedule to be in Pittsburgh as the Pens look to finish off the Tampa Bay Lightning. He’ll then make his way over to the nation’s capital where the New York Rangers are clinging to their playoff lives. Given that they trail 3 games to 1 in their respective series, both the Bolts and the Rangers face having to win three straight.

Had Montreal been successful the other night and knocked off the Boston Bruins, they too would be on the brink of advancing. Instead they lost in overtime and game five Saturday in Boston will be to determine who’ll take a 3-2 lead into game six.

Later Saturday evening, the Reaper will head west where the Los Angeles Kings face postseason death after dropping game four to the San Jose Sharks 6-3 Thursday night. After blowing their 4-0 lead in game three, the Kings have been royally outdone by the Sharks as San Jose has notched 12 of the last 16 goals scored in that series.

He’ll then enjoy his Easter Sunday candy while shuttling between Buffalo, Nashville and Chicago as all three of the games played there will be game six situations.

We already know the Blackhawks will once again be looking to dodge his hockey stick scythe for a third straight time. But tonight’s games will determine whether the Preds, Ducks, Sabres or Flyers will be the ones left fearing the Reaper.

77 comments Add your comment

Tom

April 22nd, 2011
12:05 pm

Ubiquitous Gold!

Tom

April 22nd, 2011
12:09 pm

Vancouver fans must be getting a little nervous. The energy and passion is all on the Chicago side right now.

Matt from MN

April 22nd, 2011
12:15 pm

Whether you’re a brother
or whether you’re a mother
you’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Feel the city breakin
and everybody shakin’
and were stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive

Tom

April 22nd, 2011
12:34 pm

All our times have come
Here, but now there, gone
Seasons don’t fear the reaper
Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain
(We can be like they are)

“Nor do the Blackhawks”

World Be Free

April 22nd, 2011
12:44 pm

See what you started Rawhide.
For your next piece on the state of the Thrashers-you can use the Beatles’ “Healter Skelter”

World Be Free

April 22nd, 2011
12:51 pm

Most people believe the Broones fleeced the Maple Leafs in the Phil Kessel trade.
So were the Loafs abot the get Boston back in the Kaberle trade? Tomas Kaberle has done little or nothing for the Brunes since coming over from Tronna. A number 1 and a top prospect for a pending UFA who hasn’t done much to speak of? Kabs may be walking after the playoffs are completed.

World Be Free

April 22nd, 2011
12:53 pm

Should read-
So did the Loafs get back at Boston on the Kaberle trade?

hockeymom92

April 22nd, 2011
1:39 pm

I don’t feel so “dumb” taking the Hawks over the Canucks at this point. There is seriously an issue with team’s winning the season and going on to win the cup. Almost makes you not want to have the best record in any sport going into the playoffs. Just sayin…

Hoof Arted

April 22nd, 2011
2:00 pm

Let’s see. We have the grime reaper hooking up with the fat lady, and we got Blue Oyster Cult and Bee Gees tunes mixed up too. The weirdest things happen on this blog.

That Boston/Montreal series has been the best one of the bunch for me. I hope it goes seven. Just pure, good old fashion hockey-hate going on there. The Nashville/Anaheim series is fun to watch too. I don’t know who to pull for between Buffalo and Philly, but it can go the distance too for all I care.

The Tough Luck award for the playoffs could go to the Rangers. They’ve played the Caps well but 2 OT losses are the difference there. And what the Pens are doing without Malkin and Crosby is amazing.

If the Hawks can take game six at home, then Vancouver’s pucker factor is going to go to 10. No, make that 11.

Might as well rain all weekend because I’m going to be inside all day watching hockey.

ZAvalanche

April 22nd, 2011
3:21 pm

Hoof – I want all series in every round to go game 7 as it increases the amount of time I can honestly spend the time in front of the TV without retribution :)

And you are SO right on the “pucker factor” for the ‘Nucks. If they lose game 6, much of western Canada is going to collectively crap their pants.

Brendan

April 22nd, 2011
3:22 pm

Sabres-Flyers tonight, in the swing game. You always want to be up, 3-2, going into Game Six. Let’s see if the Caps and Pens can closeout their series, and shave some miles off the Marathon. No sense in playing extra games, right?

Brendan

April 22nd, 2011
3:37 pm

I don’t mean to be bothersome, but did anyone bother to compile our list of “arbitration eligible” RFA’s? I know the deadlines for that are months away, but still … it’s the offseason, and RFA eligibility is a perfectly valid topic of conversation. Reading Chris Vivlamore’s article on Blake Wheeler has me a bit nervous.

Segue, sometimes the player actually makes less. I can think of a few instances. I like Clark MacArthur was slated to make $2.4 million based off an arbitrator’s ruling, then settled for less than that to play with the Maple Leafs. I’m not sure … if the amount he agreed to was less than what the Thrashers offered before MacArthur took them to arbitration. A few years ago, the Sabres J.P. Dumont sought abitration. The Arbitrator awarded $2.5 million, but the Sabres walked away. Then Dumont signed with the Predators for $2.1 million.

I though the player’s union was there to HELP players, not help them earn LESS.

Red Light

April 22nd, 2011
4:24 pm

Who Can File For Arbitration?

Not every restricted free agent is eligible; those who qualify must meet the age requirements as specified in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The ages indicated are those of the player in question when he signed his first professional contract while the years of experience reflect the total at the end of the most recent contract.

Most players must have four years of NHL experience before they are eligible for salary arbitration (the term is reduced for those who signed their first NHL contract after the age of 20).

Those who signed their first pro contract at the ages mentioned below and the limitations.
* Between 18 and 20 with at least four years of professional experience
* 21 years old and have played at least three years of professional hockey
* Ages 22 and 23 with at least two years experience in the pro ranks
* 24 or older with at least one year of professional experience

According to the Agreement, at least 10 professional games – which includes the NHL, appearances in the minor league regular season or playoffs, and European or other leagues outside North America – equates to a year of experience in a particular year of course.

If a player elects arbitration, then the team can determine the length of a new standard player contract of one or two years (as long as the player can’t become a Group 3 free agent in the 2nd year).

All that being said Brendan, the list is too long to compile without going through every one of them, and there is at least 300 of them.

Fan from Carolina

April 22nd, 2011
4:32 pm

The Reaper is getting impatient with some of these clubs but the way the Lightning played at home against the Pens the last two games it appears the Reaper will have a victim around 3:00 P.M. Saturday afternoon. I’m surpried that the Pens have dominated in the intensity level outside of game 2. Are the Lightning players worn out from the Boucher style all year??

ZAvalanche

April 22nd, 2011
4:44 pm

Blue Oyster Cult is getting worn out, time for a line change……………..Does the fact that they are from NY help the Rangers? Perhaps……

ZAvalanche

April 22nd, 2011
4:50 pm

Perhaps Metallica should take the second line with “Creeping Death”

ZAvalanche

April 22nd, 2011
4:54 pm

Any ideas for the 3rd and 4th lines for the “Tunes of Destruction”?

ZAvalanche

April 22nd, 2011
4:56 pm

I am thinking “The Final Countdown” by Europe for the 4th line.

ZAvalanche

April 22nd, 2011
4:58 pm

And Phoenix is thinking it was “Thunderstruck” (AD/DC) by the Wings. But the Wings are singing “Big Balls” after their sweep.

LAC

April 22nd, 2011
4:59 pm

Liked seeing the Commissioner on 11Alive, stating the Thrashers will STAY in Atlanta !!!!

Nice for him to come out and stand up for the club and THE FANS !

Real disappointed that the so caller “beat writer” can’t pick up on this, Though not surprised,
his exit questions are as lame as used dishwater, but then everyone should expect that !

ZAvalanche

April 22nd, 2011
5:01 pm

LAC – give C-Viv a break, has to be very depressing covering this team the last half of the season.

Joe McGrath

April 22nd, 2011
5:13 pm

Lets go Predators: clap, clap, clap, clap, clap.

Flagstaff

April 22nd, 2011
6:31 pm

LAC– what happened? What exactly did Bettman say?

Tom

April 22nd, 2011
7:23 pm

Here is a link to Bettman on 11Alive:

http://www.11alive.com/sports/article/188279/5/NHL-Commissioner-doesnt-expect-Thrashers-to-leave-Atlanta

“I think everybody agrees they’re looking for new owners,” Bettman told TSN Sports radio in Canada. “As we have this conversation today, I have no expectation of anything other than they’re going to be in Atlanta.”

Alan R.

April 22nd, 2011
9:47 pm

That’s from a few days ago, Tom… at least, his statement to TSN Radio is a few days old.

If he repeated that on live TV in Atlanta, that’s good news.

Tony C.

April 22nd, 2011
9:59 pm

If you haven’t seen it, here’s Bryzgalov’s Winnipeg diss

All I can say for the Blackhawks is…MORE COWBELL!

Tom

April 22nd, 2011
10:55 pm

Thanks Alan R. — It was on the main page of 11Alive so I figured it was current. — Of course, tv station websites do suck so I should have checked some more. :)

Tom

April 22nd, 2011
10:57 pm

If I was Ramsay and Dudley I would be sending emails to Bryzgalov on how family friendly Atlanta is. Hell, we will put a Children’s Museum and a park next to his house if he wants it. :)

Adios

April 22nd, 2011
11:02 pm

LAC got me excited when he indicated that the Commish stated that the Thrashers “will stay in Atlanta”. However, “doesn’t expect to leave Atlanta” is far different than “will stay in Atlanta”.

This team will be sold before the start of next year. I believe there are multiple parties that would keep the team here, but the Spirit’s unwillingness to compromise on Philips Arena revenue will leave outside parties the only one’s at the table.

Unlike the haters on these boards, as a season ticket holder I don’t want the team to leave and hope that I am wrong. However, I can’t see any other logical conclusion to this movie.

jim

April 22nd, 2011
11:53 pm

I would guess the Thrashers will stay put….having someone of Tom Glavine’s stature really helps the situation and brings credibility.Despite all of the negativity geared to the current owners at least they are trying to sell to a local owner(s) and some may even stay on leaving their equity with the team.

Bettman is on record saying “we don’t walk out on our fans”.Believe you me he does not want to leave a market the size of Atlanta or Phoenix…witness the resolve he has to get a deal done in Arizona.He is a very smart man and takes a lot of criticism but look at his track record……..$2 billion TV deal,record revenues of $2.9 billion this season,$350 million Molson-Coors sponsorship deal,new owners arranged and stability for Sabres,Senators,Penguins,Predators,Lightning,Ducks,Panthers…Atlantans have to step up and buy tickets though because nothing will change without revenue increasing allowing for new talent to be signed up etc.

ZAvalanche

April 23rd, 2011
12:40 am

Damn! Shea Weber killed that. the puck had eyes and so does his beard.

R. Stroz

April 23rd, 2011
1:02 am

YES, YES, YES, SMASHVILLE WINS!

Credit the announcers for stating at least ten times that Nashville had NEVER won a game five or an overtime playoff game.

LAC

April 23rd, 2011
1:24 am

Thanks Tom for providing the 11alive link !!!!!!!!!!!

No I will not give the beat writer a break, he will not ask TOUGH questions, and his interviews are Lame at the very very best. Like I have said in the past… Sad too, but he is an asg tool.

Now I know why I seldom watch versus, keith jones is BUTT Terrible and ronick is simply Stupid and shows how ignorant he really is. Plus the host is not very good either.

Not Blind

April 23rd, 2011
8:04 am

WOW, Buffalo did not deserve to win that game. Philly is the team I most like to see lose but at least they compete from the drop of the puck until some time long after the whistle has blown [ the after the whistle stuff is why they are on my hate list ].

Brendan

April 23rd, 2011
8:41 am

LAC, that’s good news. I don’t think the issue of Atlanta playing at Philips Arena in the Fall of 2011, for the 2012 season is even remotely in doubt. It’s the Fall of 2012, for the 2013 season, for which we need to worry.

Not Blind, I didn’t see the Sabres-Flyers game, but I do know that Buffalo held a 3-0 lead on the Flyers. That usually translates into a win. Luckily for Buffalo’s sake, it did. Otherwise, there went the Series!

Red Light, I didn’t mean all RFA eligible players in the NHL, just the RFA’s for the Thrashers. Specificially, I’m worried about Andrew Ladd an Blake Wheeler.

R.Stroz, I picked Anaheim, but I’m rooting for Nashville!! I want to lose that series!! I picked the Flyers over the Sabres, but am not worried about that pick yet. If Buffalo takes Game Six, I’ll be wrong.

Hockey Biltong

April 23rd, 2011
9:19 am

This aint no disco,
this aint no party,
this aint no foolin’ around…

Hockey Biltong

April 23rd, 2011
9:27 am

This aint no mudd club, or CBGB,
I aint got time for that now,
Heard about Tampa? Heard about “Couver?
Heard about Pittsburgh, Pa?
You oughta know not to stand by the window
somebody might see you up there….

Not Blind

April 23rd, 2011
9:38 am

Boucher gifted the Sabres 2 soft goals early in the first period. The third goal was a perfect shot just inside the far post. Philly kept battling and Buffalo quit trying. Looked a lot like some of the Thrashers games. The OT goal was a rebound that went right to Ennis’ blade as he went to the [ open ] net. I don’t even think Thomas could have had a chance on that goal.

Flagstaff

April 23rd, 2011
9:48 am

Meh… can’t make much out of groceries or peanut butter. Sorry.

Tony C.

April 23rd, 2011
10:31 am

Nice work on the talking heads bit fellas!

Red Light

April 23rd, 2011
10:45 am

Joel Ward, Kevin Klein, Jordin Tootoo (2 assists) and the game winner by Jerred Smithson. Total team effort for the Preds. Beautiful! And while Mike Fisher only won 10 of 22 draws, his faceoff win and the pass from Cody Franson to Weber for the game tying goal were HUGE!

Nashville can win its first ever playoff series at home on Sunday evening. That would be great for that city, the fans and the team (particularly Legwand, Erat, Trotz and Poile). It’s going to take a huge effort to do it as the Ducks won’t bow out quietly with their experience.

Now, for Buffalo, Tyler Ennis is absolutely the most underrated rookie in the league. Great skills, big heart and has given it his all in the past few games. Gerbe another little guy who plays bigger and Rob Niedermayer even has awakened with his play during the series. The key, however, besides Miller and Ennis, is the play of their young defensemen: Gragnani, Weber and Butler, all of whom were drafted by and brought up through the Sabres system.

Red Light

April 23rd, 2011
10:55 am

Six games decided in OT or later since Tuesday. Playoff hockey…don’t miss it!

Not Blind

April 23rd, 2011
11:04 am

I also love listening to Rick Gennerette { sp } on the Buffalo feed !

Hockey Biltong

April 23rd, 2011
11:26 am

Not big on disco…

ZAvalanche

April 23rd, 2011
11:46 am

LAC, I can agree on Keith Jones but I think JR is a class act, well spoken and a heck of a (former) hockey player. That was a very entertaining game to watch.

ZAvalanche

April 23rd, 2011
12:03 pm

Today’s match ups:

Common Tampa – you can do this

Rangers over Caps

Bruins win

Sharks finish it

World Be Free

April 23rd, 2011
12:17 pm

Buffalo-Philly-
I said back at the trading deadline that the Flyers did not address their biggest need, getting a first line goaltender. They have used 3 goaltenders through 6 games, with none of them stepping forward for the number 1 position. Flyers are the better team, even minus Carter and Pronger.

Red Light-Tyler Ennis would not be the player his is without spending time in the minors developing. Gragnani took his time developing into an NHL defenseman. Preds win on a consistent basis by devleoping their own players.

4 games in a row today-a great day for hockey! ESPN will probably be showing lacrosse or poker.

World Be Free

April 23rd, 2011
12:18 pm

Connolly, Boyes and Pominville refuse to hit, something required in the playoffs

Michael B. Shapiro

April 23rd, 2011
3:26 pm

Bummer. Was really hoping Hoser the Loser would end the series with zero except in the +/- column, and a negative there. Go ‘nucks, scalp them feisty ‘hawks!

Tom Lysiak

April 23rd, 2011
3:29 pm

WBF – Don’t forget, “hitting is vastly overrated”……