Saturday Playoff Hockey all across the continent
The first game of the day is game two between Boston and Washington. After an overtime win by the Bruins, the Caps will be striving to even the score and head back home with a tie. Boston, of course, will do everything they can to head to Washington with a two game advantage.
By all accounts Boston completely controlled game one, yet were unable to score on Braden Holtby, in his first appearance in the playoffs, until overtime. The Capitals only managed 17 shots on goal through the whole of the first game, but they aren't likely to just sit back and watch the Bruins win again. They will have to get inside, closer to the net and make some key shots and get rebounds. None of the shots on goal in game one were in close or provided much of a challenge for Bruins' goalie Tim Thomas. Game two should have a lot of excitement, but also should show a more focused Capitals team.
The first of the evening games features the New York Rangers and the Ottawa Senators. The Sens and the Canucks are the only two Canadian teams who made it into the playoffs for 2012, and the Canucks have already fallen behind the Kings in both games at home. The Senators are also in a deficit, with the Rangers taking game one, 4-2. However, the Rangers were leading 4-0 at one point and the game was actually a close one, so look for the Senators to come out strong once again, hopefully scoring more goals than the Rangers. Neither team was able to capitalize on the Power Play in game one, so that may be an area both teams will try to improve on for game two.
Only half an hour after the Rangers/Senators game starts, San Jose will start their second game in St. Louis against the Blues. San Jose has taken game one, 3-2, and want to head home to San Jose with a two game lead. It won't be easy. The first game went to double overtime before the Martin Havlat managed to score the winner on St. Louis goalie, Jaroslav Halak. The Sharks were not victorious against the Blues in any of the four regular season games, so the win in game one is huge for them. Martin Havlat is healthy again, and that, too, is huge for the Sharks. The Blues haven't had a playoff win since 2004, against the Sharks, so for them, a win is a must.
Once again, this will be a close fought game.
The late game on the schedule will feature the Phoenix Coyotes hosting the Chicago Blackhawks. The 'yotes have the lead in the series and want to go back to Chicago with two in hand. Again, the first game went to overtime, with Coyote's bruiser Martin Hanzal deflecting Aucoin's shot into the net. Coyotes' goalie, Mike Smith is on a hot streak and has only allowed four goals in six starts. The Blackhawks have a few key players out due to injuries, so the lines will be juggled. However, the Coyotes also lost Rabin Vrdata early in game one. His stats for tonight's game is not yet known.
So there you have it. A full day of hockey, should you be so inclined and here's the place to talk it up.