NHL playoffs first round update: Canucks survive, pair of game sevens remain

The Vancouver Canucks never trailed in the series, building a three games to none lead before the Chicago Blackhawks fought back to force a game seven.

They never trailed in that game seven Tuesday night, grabbing an early 1-0 lead after Alexandre Burrows scored 2:43 in. It was a lead they held for the next 55:21 before Jonathan Toews notch a shorthanded goal to force overtime.

But even so, this year’s Presidents’ Trophy winners came this close to not advancing to the second round and having their season end in a most unfortunate manner, blowing a 3-0 series lead.

However, when Burrows found himself on the receiving end of a Chris Campoli turnover and blasted the puck over Corey Crawford’s right shoulder, the Canucks escaped a summer of second-guessing and “what-ifs”. The ensuing explosion of joy from the team, the coaching staff and the entire Canuck nation was not just a release of pressure built up from the past week, but also from the frustration from the past two years of failure against the Blackhawks.

“We needed to get over this hump”, Ryan Kesler said afterwards. “We’re going to relish this one and celebrate tonight and move on tomorrow”.

Burrows himself may have breathed the heaviest sigh of relief because he had placed his team in a very precarious position just seconds into the extra period. He entered the sin bin 24 ticks of the clock into overtime after holding Duncan Keith behind the net, but the Canuck’s penalty killing unit and goalie Roberto Luongo made sure it was not a series-killing infraction.

Not to be overlooked in the gallant effort by the Blackhawks is the performance of netminder Corey Crawford in his first playoff action. The young goalie went the distance for Chicago with a 2.21 GAA.927SV% and one shutout. He did everything he could to give his team a chance in game seven by stopping 36 of 38 shots faced.

Now the top seed in the west will prepare to take on the fifth seeded Nashville Predators who knocked off Anaheim in game six of that series last Sunday. This leaves the other matchup out west between the San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings. The Wings should be well rested given their week off after sweeping the Phoenix Coyotes.

Back east, two series remain to be determined after last night’s 2-1 game-six win by Montreal over Boston. Tonight those two teams will meet in Beantown to settle matters while the Tampa Bay Lightning head to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins. The Pens held a three games to one lead but Tampa has bolted back to force the deciding game in Steel Town.

The Habs/Bruins series has turned out to be the slugfest many of us expected and I expect nothing less tonight.

Elsewhere, the Philadelphia Flyers disposed of the Buffalo Sabres in their game seven Tuesday night by the score of 5-2. Sabres fans will probably remember the inability to hold a two-goal lead at home last Sunday during game six more than the way things unraveled last night.

Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff, however, had nothing but words of praise for the way his team battled against the defending Eastern Conference champions.

“There were some guys who were able to muster up energy, some other guys played more than their role, but those guys emptied their tanks for me,” Ruff said. “For four months, we asked them to go above and beyond and they did.”

As for how the second round in the east will shake out, if Montreal wins tonight they’ll draw the Washington Capitals while Philly gets the Tampa Bay/Pittsburgh winner. If The Bruins prevail, then they get the Flyers and the Caps will take on either the Penguins or Lightning.

79 comments Add your comment

Alan R.

April 27th, 2011
9:46 am

Wings in six.
Preds in six.

Book it.

Toobs

April 27th, 2011
9:58 am

Hope the Preds kick Vancouver’s butt. I’d like to see Nashville vs San Jose in the West Final.

Nate

April 27th, 2011
10:35 am

Just want to say thanks to the ‘Hawks for a remarkable comeback. After an injury riddled season that was a fun way to start the playoffs. No reason to hang your heads boys.

On a sidebar, Luongo really gave up two goals in regulation last night. He was the beneficiary of a generous quick whistle by the refs in the second period. I’m sure that had nothing to do with playing at home…

DWTOO

April 27th, 2011
10:35 am

And Red Light gets to watch at four more games of the team in Orange and Black. Rumor of the day – R/L’s the president of the Dan Carcillo Fan Club.

SportsFan

April 27th, 2011
11:07 am

Any news on The Balkan?

hockeygoon79

April 27th, 2011
11:25 am

Somebody here commented a few days ago that we’ve really gotten our moneys worth in the first round series. Truer words have never been spoken. Last night’s battle in Vancouver was thrilling from the drop of the puck to the final goal in OT.

Gotta give props to the Hawks for the fight they put up after getting down 3-0. They have nothing to hang their heads over. Crawford was outstanding!

The Flyers did a good job of getting past a scrappy Buffalo squad and should prove a tough opponent for whoever gets them in round two.

Looking forward to tonight’s duo of deciding game sevens. I love the NHL playoffs!!

Hockey Biltong

April 27th, 2011
11:42 am

Go Preds.
Go Habs.
Go Bolts.

Joe Friday

April 27th, 2011
11:46 am

Interesting insight into the interest from ESPN in getting the NHL back:

http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2011/04/25/Media/NHL-media-rights.aspx

ZAvalanche

April 27th, 2011
12:03 pm

LOL Blog Master, Tampa “bolted” back into the series. Pun intended?

World Be Free

April 27th, 2011
12:19 pm

Joe friday, first of all, congrats on your Black Hawks playing a great series. Safe to say the Canucks would not have taken your last year’s model to 7 games. The exterience for young Black Hawks give you a pretty good future.

As for ESPN, heck with them. They made their bed when they basically tried to get the NHL to pay for time after 25 years of being the league’s partners. ESPN was a struggling network when the signed up witht he NHL, then tried to screw them in the end. TFB ESPN!

hockeygoon-by you are right on! After watching the first round, I can’t wait for the 2nd round! Sabres not there, but they have been playing playoff hockey for weeks. Pegula knows what he needs to do to get to the next level.

Montreal-Boston game 7 tonight will be great!

ZAvalanche

April 27th, 2011
12:28 pm

I can’t wait for that game tonight WBF and I have a bit of a feeling that Boston is going to come out very tight. Should be interesting.

The Pitt vs Tampa game is a hard one to pick and there is no way I would bet on it. Go Tampa!

Hockey Biltong

April 27th, 2011
12:32 pm

JF, good article. It filled in some things I didn’t know…

Rawhide

April 27th, 2011
12:38 pm

LOL Blog Master, Tampa “bolted” back into the series. Pun intended?

ZAvs – Pun? Me? Nah…never. :cool:

Joe Friday – Good read. Thanks for bringing that to our attention.

Everyone – Here’s something to keep in mind. If the Bolts and Bruins both win tonight, then our Fan Polls from two weeks ago will have accurately predicted the outcome of all eight first round series.

See for yourself —>HERE<--

AtlantaFlamesFan

April 27th, 2011
12:46 pm

Yes, JF, thanks. I am still hoping for both NBA and NFL lockouts next year. That should help introduce some new viewers to NHL hockey and get some of them hooked.

Spud Webb

April 27th, 2011
1:11 pm

UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGG
GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

World Be Free

April 27th, 2011
1:35 pm

Avs-
Boston and Montreal hate each other so much, that’s what will make this such a great game 7.
Do you think an NBA game 7 in ANY round can match the quality of an NHL game 7?
I didn’t think so.

ZAvalanche

April 27th, 2011
1:52 pm

WBF – there is no non-hockey playoff game that matches the tension of an NHL game 7 – in any round. NBA – LOL, not even close. Top 4 most riveting moments in TV: Game 7 Devils at Avs, USA vs CAN gold medal game (sorry, I was only 3 when USA beat the USSR in ‘80, but have watched it many times), Broncos vs Packers in the SB, and the series finale of LOST (yup, i’m a dork).

ZAvalanche

April 27th, 2011
2:04 pm

I will add that the USA vs CAN game was difficult for me, I had favorites on either side, though I was pulling for the US of A. Want to see something funny? Check this out: http://www.behindthenethockey.com/2010/3/9/1364368/edmonton-water-usage-during-the

Our neighbors to the North were, to say the least, pretty into the game as well :)

Hoof Arted

April 27th, 2011
2:15 pm

I need the Penguins and Bruins to win to salvage a 7-1 record in my first round predictions, (never, never should have bet against the Wings).

ZAvalanche

April 27th, 2011
2:16 pm

Hoof, I hear ya! I think I will be 8 for 8 after tonight!

World Be Free

April 27th, 2011
2:19 pm

Avs- nothing in sports can match USA/USSR 1980. The game was about hockey and politics, especially for people like me who was a child of the Cold War. Tough to describe the Cold War to people who are not of the era. I can still remember air raid drills when I was a kid, thinking that putting your head between your legs was going to save you from a nuclear attack. I guess the government was b- essing us back then too.

So by 1980, we were ready to stick in the Russian’s backsides.

ZAvalanche

April 27th, 2011
2:20 pm

Meaning Tampa and Boston that is.

ZAvalanche

April 27th, 2011
2:25 pm

WBF – in some ways I was also a child of the Cold War and I remember practicing the drills as well – up until ‘89. Growing up in Montana I distinctly remember hearing about the missile silos around my town and how there were bunkers that we would go to. Scary stuff.

Miracle On Ice most important game ever? Yes. Closest to my heart, no. I didn’t have the slightest idea what was going on then. But you are 100% correct on the underlying implications, politically, that the game had.

Rawhide

April 27th, 2011
2:25 pm

Spudster – I kinda thought that would be your reaction after the Sabres loss. But they took the #2 seed to seven games and gave a pretty good effort in doing so.

Hoof Arted – Rember what I told WBF back then…”I’ve learned a few things in my almost 46 years on this planet. Among them…you don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger and you don’t bet against the Wings come playoff time”.

I’m 5-1 so far in the 6 series that have been settled, (dammit Sabres). So I can go anywhere between 5-3 to 7-1, for what it’s worth.

However, I wouldn’t mind it if Pittsburgh won along with Boston. As stated above, that’d mean the collective on-line readers/contributors would have gone a perfect 8-0 as reflected in the Fan Poll two weeks ago.

After all, I am a “team player”.

ZAvalanche

April 27th, 2011
2:37 pm

My original posting, guess I won’t be 8-0, but 7-1 looks good!

“I think Tampa can take a beat up Pens team. We know Malkin will be out, who knows about Sid but Tampa has one of the best front lines in Hockey. Tampa in 7.

If Vancouver is going to get upset it will happen with Chicago. THAT is going to be a good series I think. Pick – Vancouver in 6

Going to be a lot of bruises in the Sharks-Kings series, those teams play physical. Pick – Sharks in 6. Missing Kopitar is devastating for LA.

Rangers Caps – hmmm. This should be an obvious choice but if Lundqvist is on fire it will be scary for the Caps. And he is looking good. Pick – Caps in 5

Sorry Buffalo, the Philly is too big for you. Pick – Philly sweep.

Phoenix, I am so rooting for you but even without Zetterburg Detroit is going to mow you. This is what they do when it comes April. Pick – Det in 5

Ducks vs Preds. This is a hard one and I think there will be game 7 in this series. Ducks have the more experienced team, but I am hoping for an upset. If I had to bet the house I will take Ducks in 7.

Play some good golf Montreal. You are running into a buzz saw. Pick – Boston in 5.”

World Be Free

April 27th, 2011
2:41 pm

Zavs-the 1980 game was the biggest for many reasons, one of which being that nobody thought a bunch of “college kids” could beat the best team in the world, which they did in come from behind fashion. The fact that is was the Russians made it 10X better. Turns out that team of college kids had some good fuutre NHL-er’s on it.

Rockin’ the Kremlin! The Clint movie “Firefox” was a great Cold War movie.

Red Light

April 27th, 2011
2:41 pm

Heard a great story last night about a Habs vs. Nordiques game in the 1980s where so many people were watching the game, that during commercial breaks, you could visibly see the water levels rise and fall in the Montreal aqueduct.

Boston and Tampa Bay advance tonight!

Can’t wait to see the Bruins vs Flyers Part Deux.

ZAvalanche

April 27th, 2011
2:46 pm

WBF – it was the greatest game in American sports history, just not the closest to my heart :) I will have to check out Firefox, have never heard of it (other than being a web browser), but I trust your opinion. Thanks for the reference!

World Be Free

April 27th, 2011
2:49 pm

Watch the 1980 game-as fierce as it was there were NO dirty hits, none whatsoever. Players of that era respected each other (to a degree). A player like Raffi Torres what have had the crap kicked out of him in the 80’s.

Red Light

April 27th, 2011
2:53 pm

The first six games of the Blackhawks vs Canucks series outdrew any National TV broadcast this year, which is why local cable viewers in major markets are vital to team success.

An average of 1.71 MILLION Chicago TV households watched the first six games. Can’t imagine what last night’s game drew?

DWTOO

April 27th, 2011
2:54 pm

ZAv/WBF – Remember “Duck…and Cover”. USA/USSR was about the best game ever played. We were living in this small town in WI and went out to the bars after the game. Whole place was jumping!

Red Light

April 27th, 2011
2:55 pm

Buffalo, by comparison, drew its highest TV ratings in almost four years for Game 6 vs. the Flyers and it was a home game. The game averaged a 24.0 rating and 52 share locally and that translates to 152,712 homes in the area tuning into watch the game. Big market-small market.

Red Light

April 27th, 2011
2:58 pm

The Miracle on Ice was tape delayed, unheard of these days, but commonplace back then. Watched it a bar in Tuscaloosa, Ala. and me a few Northern buddies had to explain the rules and what was going on the entire game.

Rawhide

April 27th, 2011
3:07 pm

I was in the 9th grade and my family lived in Greenville, SC in the winter of 1980. It was Friday, if memory serves. Honestly, I thought we were the only ones within 500 miles that gave a crap about it.

But I remember going to church Sunday and it was all my friends were chatting about and Monday in school it was the only thing anyone wanted to talk about…students and teachers alike.

Nate

April 27th, 2011
3:14 pm

Joe Friday – The article says nothing of games being streamed by Comcast/Versus like ESPN planned to do. That’s a huge miss by the league in my opinion if they fail to cash in on streaming the games via digital media. Tons more of exposure there than TV broadcasts only.

I agree ESPN had their shot and failed. I couldn’t care less that they lost out on the bidding. But the league should have used that as leverage to get more media exposure, not just more money…

Red Light

April 27th, 2011
3:16 pm

Playoff heroes emerging last two seasons
Briere 18 goals and 19 assists in his last 30 playoff games
Giroux 11 goals and 19 assists in his last 30 playoff games
Cammalleri 16 goals and 12 assists in his last 26 playoff games

Not so much
Marc Andre Fleury • 19 playoff starts, 10-9 record • .890 save percentage

World Be Free

April 27th, 2011
3:18 pm

Put 1980 in perspective-we had no Russians in the NHL, very little contact inside the Iron Curtain. It’s 2011 and we have a “Russian” on our blog! I would like to get “Russian’s” perspective on the situation, from his viewpoint.

How times have changed-for the better. Now USA and Russia can talk and play hockey in relative peace.

Red Light

April 27th, 2011
3:18 pm

Vancouver Canucks play the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal at 9 p.m. Thursday night.

Red Light

April 27th, 2011
3:19 pm

Roloson is 5-0 in elimination games during his career.

Red Light

April 27th, 2011
3:22 pm

The Penguins are only 2-5 at home in Game 7s.

Cornbread

April 27th, 2011
3:23 pm

Two great games last night. A reminder why playoff hockey is not bettered by any sport and reason enough to introduce and attract new fans to the game.

I could not believe how fast and physical the CHI-VAN game was. Don’t know if it could have been any better as it did remind me of last year’s USA-CAN Gold Medal game. Great to see an ECHLer, who I got to see play quite a bit, be the game’s goal scoring hero. The PHI-BUF game was a dominant performance by one of last year’s Stanley Cup Finalists. A big win for the Flyers. I’m not sure which would have been the bigger upset if both PHI and VAN lost those Game 7s?

Red Light

April 27th, 2011
3:24 pm

Last one for you Joe Friday…

NHL teams that held a 3-1 advantage in a series are 220-23 overall.

Cornbread

April 27th, 2011
3:37 pm

I was skating at the local rink during the USA-CCCP game. The game was on the radio and piped over the PA system. I’ll never forget how crazy everybody went on the ice when USA won. I got to go home and watch the end of the game on the TV with my parents aunt and uncle who had no idea who won. It was the beginning of me becoming a huge fan of the game and hockey player for life.

hockeygoon79

April 27th, 2011
4:07 pm

I need the Pens and Bolts to win in order to finish 5-3. The Yotes, Hawks and Ducks did me in. Thank God I don’t actually bet money on sports.

Joe Friday

April 27th, 2011
4:19 pm

“Roloson is 5-0 in elimination games during his career.”

He’s due to lose, then.

“The Penguins are only 2-5 at home in Game 7s.”

Odds are they’ll win this won, sounds like.

“NHL teams that held a 3-1 advantage in a series are 220-23 overall.”

Advantage Tampa!

Red Light

April 27th, 2011
4:23 pm

How about these stats…Pekka Rinne against the Canucks this season…1.26 GAA and .962 save percentage in four games!!!

The bad news, he lost two and won two.

Red Light

April 27th, 2011
4:24 pm

This isn’t sex…if you go 31 days without it…I wouldn’t expect getting laid on Day No. 32!

Red Light

April 27th, 2011
4:27 pm

But, I digress…

Canucks out shot the Preds 131 to 98 in the season series.

ZAvalanche

April 27th, 2011
4:35 pm

Funny how a single moment can be etched in one’s mind for a lifetime. Those “boys” played like men and carried a nation on their backs. I am man enough to say that I get choked up pretty badly when I watch it. If I ever have kids, that is going to be one of the things I hope they respect, and Bill, talk about the “Big Red Borg”, those Soviet teams may be the inspiration for the Borg – resistance is futile.

Red Light

April 27th, 2011
4:36 pm

Since scoring 5 goals in 2 games, Jan. 16 and Jan. 18, J.P. Dumont has one goal and two assists in his last 26 games. You may recall he had 29 goals and 43 assists in 2007-08, and a total of 203 points in his first 244 games in Nashville.

In his last 152 games including the playoffs, he has just 29 goals and 40 assists.