Archive for May, 2011

Tampa Bay Lightning sweep Capitals to playoff curb

Once upon a time…not too, too long ago…there was an NHL team trailing three games to one in an opening round playoffs series. Facing a game-five on the road, this team was on the verge of being unceremoniously kicked to the postseason curb.

But they trampled all over their foes to avoid elimination, beating them 8-2. They followed that up with a 4-2 win at home in game-six then denied their opponents even one single goal in the deciding seventh game. They then rode that wave straight into the next playoff round and swept there next opponent…the best team in the conference after regular season play… right to that same postseason curb they almost found themselves days earlier.

The Tampa Lightning have advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals after sweeping the Washington Capitals out of the playoffs (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

The Tampa Lightning have advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals after sweeping the Washington Capitals out of the playoffs (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Again… after finding themselves down three games to one they rattled off seven in a row, four of them on the road.

This is not a tail of a …

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2011 NHL playoffs update: Bolts one win away from Eastern Conference Finals

Last night in Nashville, the 19th overtime was played in this spring’s NHL Stanley Cup playoffs. That’s roughly one-third of the 59 games played so far. This time it was the Predators and Canucks who required extra time to determine a winner with visiting Vancouver ultimately winning 3-2 on Ryan Kesler’s power play goal.

It was the second straight time those two teams needed more than 60 minutes to settle matters.

Kesler’s game-winner came after Preds defenseman Shea Weber was called for hooking him along the boards. It was a call Nashville coach Barry Trotz strongly disagreed with.

“He chicken-winged the stick and kept moving, and really if you look at it, Webs is pushing on him, trying to pull his stick out of there,” Trotz stated after the game. “I’ve seen it before. One of the earlier games, he drew a couple penalties like that by chicken-winging the stick and just holding it there and keep moving and see if he can sell it.”

So far in that series the …

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NHL playoffs round two update: Bolts and Sharks take 2-0 series leads

Detroit vs. San Jose (Sharks lead 2-0)

The Tampa Bay Lightning and San Jose Sharks find themselves only two wins away from advancing to the Conference Championships after last weekend’s Action. The Bolts are heading home after stealing a pair of games in D.C. while the Sharks held serve at home against the Detroit Red Wings.

San Jose took both games by the score of 2-1. Friday night required overtime to hang the first loss of the playoffs to Detroit while yesterday afternoon they built a 2-0 lead and hung on down the stretch for the victory.

Antti Niemi stopped 33 of the 34 shots he faced in the game-two win and has now tuned aside 57 of the 59 Wings attempts on his goal.

“He’s spectacular”, Joe Thornton said of his netminder. ““He’s the reason why we’re in this postseason and it feels like every time he’s in the net. He gives us a chance to win.”

Last spring the Sharks held a 2-0 second round series lead against the Wings and won in five games. But head …

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