(Photo Credit: Joe Sargent NHL.com/Getty Images)
SENATORS STIFLE PENGUINS COMEBACK ATTEMPT
(Ottawa leads series 1-0)
Suddenly that little bump on their road to defending the Stanley Cup became a little bit larger after last night. The Ottawa Senators stunned the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 last night and snatched away the home-ice advantage for the defending champions in the process.
“Nobody’s picking us to win the series,” said Ottawa forward Jason Spezza.
Despite two goals from star forward Evgeni Malkin and three assists from their other star Sidney Crosby, the Penguins were held in check by Ottawa’s pesky defense. Malkin brought the standing room only crowd of 17,132 to its feet just 3:03 into the game with his first goal. After that, the Penguins could only muster one shot on net for the next 21:53. During that stretch, Peter Regin, Chris Neil and Chris Kelly scored goals for the Senators to give them a 3-1 lead.
The Penguins fought back as they came within one goal of the Senators on three different occasions. But each time they did, Ottawa answered back with goals of its own. Former Penguin, Jarkko Ruutu, ended up with game winner when he beat Penguins goalie Marc Andre-Fleury with a wrist shot 9:40 into the third.
"We can't hang our heads and just say something [like] 'We didn't execute,'" forward Alexei Ponikarovsky said. "We just have to do a better job. We've got to work and win the rest of them.”
Interesting facts (from ESPN.com)- Craig Adams scored after becoming the only player in the NHL this year to not score a goal despite playing in all 82 games…… Erik Karlsson became the first defenseman under the age of 20 to score a postseason goal since Wade Redden in 1997. (Seems like it’s been that long since Redden has scored too)
FLYERS EDGE DEVILS
(Philadelphia leads series 1-0)
In front of a sold out Prudential center crowd, the Flyers did what they’ve done all season against New Jersey: beat them. The Jersey Turnpike rivalry added another chapter last night as the Flyers took game one from their division rivals, 2-1, on impressive goaltending from their journeyman net minder Brian Boucher.
After a scoreless first period, Chris Pronger put the Flyers on the board with a power play goal at 9:25. Pronger backhanded his shot off the skate of Devils forward Brian Rolston and into the net. Mike Richards scored to make it 2-0 when he rifled a 35-foot shot that beat Devils goalie Martin Brodeur on his glove side.
Travis Zajac’s fluky goal at 17:17 of the third period gave the Devils a little hope, but Philadelphia was able to close it out. Despite having a four-minute power play early in the third period, the Devils only managed two shots on goal, which resulted in fans booing them as if they were Javier Vasquez of the New York Yankees.
Despite facing only 14 shots, Brodeur though his team “played decent”. He said, "Defensively, we did a great job. We didn't allow much. Offensively, the power play was the story of the game. We just couldn't get going. We couldn't get any momentum off it. We didn't do well."
COYOTES CLIP WINGS
(Phoenix leads series 1-0)
Penalties will kill you in hockey, and the Detroit Red Wings experienced that first hand last night. The Phoenix Coyotes used three power play goals to take their series opener at the Jobing.com arena in a 3-2 victory over last years Western Conference champions.
Derek Morris had the game winning goal and assisted on the other two as he earned the games first star honors. (Why didn’t the Rangers keep him???) Morris launched a shot off of Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard’s shoulder and into the net to give the Coyotes their first lead at 2:19 of the third period. It was Morris’ first career post-season goal. "He's got an absolute bomb," Howard said. "I was trying to come out as far as I could without giving up the backdoor."
Thomas Holmstrom scored the games first goal at 12:17 of the first period to put the Red Wings up 1-0. A little less than two minutes later, Keith Yandle’s power play goal tied it up. The celebration was short-lived however as Nicklas Lidstrom responded just 2:14 later with a power play goal of his own.
Wojtek Wolski, who was acquired from the Colorado Avalanche at the trade deadline, tied the game at 6:15 of the second period when he one-timed a shot that was set up by Yandle. Wolski, has been a point-per-game player since coming to the desert.
There were some fireworks at the end of the game as the players were pushing and shoving each other. It was a physical game from top to bottom but in the third period, Lidstrom took a stick to the face from Phoenix’s Vernon Fiddler, which required five stitches to close. The ref didn’t call a penalty saying that Lidstrom was hit by his own teammate’s stick. "The [referee] would have been better off telling me he missed it," Lidstrom said.
There is sure to be some carryover for Game 2.
SHARKS BITTEN BY OWN MISHAP
(Colorado leads series 1-0)
The ghosts of playoffs past seem to haunt the San Jose Sharks and they were definitely in the HP Pavilion last night. Rob Blake, who was used to scoring big goals for the Colorado Avalanche during his career, scored another one for them- but this time he was wearing a Sharks jersey. Such is life for the Sharks who dropped their playoff opener 2-1 last night and probably has fans thinking about the “same ol’ Sharks.”
Blake’s “goal” came with 50 seconds left in regulation when Chris Stewart’s centering pass deflected off his skate and into the net.
Down 1-0 in the third period, Sharks’ forward Ryan Clowe’s misaligned shot from the boards made its way through a screen by Joe Pavelski and past Colorado goalie Craig Anderson at 7:59 to tie the game. In what may have been thought to have reversed the Shark’s post-season misfortune, the goal only delayed the inevitable.
"If you're thinking about that kind of stuff you're not in the right mental frame of mind," Clowe said. "What are losses in the past years going to do for us? These guys have a lot of character. The visiting team always wants to steal a game on the road. We would too. We just have to bounce back, work it out in practice, and come back
Craig Anderson made 25 saves, including a 6-shot flurry during a San Jose power play. "The first game is an important game, let's not kid ourselves," Colorado coach Joe Sacco said. "But there's still a long ways to go. We are the eight seed and they are the one seed. Not a lot of people are giving us a chance in this series, and the pressure is on them. We played to our identity tonight right from the first start."
Information from ESPN.com was used in these stories.