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Stanley Cup Playoffs: Day Nine Predictions

Chris BouthillierSenior Analyst IApril 23, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 21:  Dan Boyle #22 of the San Jose Sharks skates with the puck against Petteri Nokelainen #17 of the Anaheim Ducks during Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinal Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center on April 21, 2009 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

With two teams already eliminated from the playoffs another pair could quickly be on the outside looking in.

Both the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets are on the verge of elimination heading into Thursday night. The Flyers will need to pull of three wins in a row, while the Jackets have a mountain to climb as they go for what looks like the impossible—four straight wins over the Detroit Red Wings.

Chris' record after Day Eight: 16-11

By the way, I didn't get any of the scores correct from last night. Thanks for having faith in me.

I just want to take a second to catch the attention of Montreal Canadiens fans who really gave it to Carey Price last night—you should be ashamed of yourselves.

Price enjoyed a strong rookie season and was tagged as the next Patrick Roy. A tag that not many goalies will ever be able to hold up to.

He even began the season strong before suffering an injury in the middle of the it. Since then Price has struggled and has not been given help from his teammates' play.

Yet, you all expect miracles. Miracles from a 21-year-old boy from British Columbia.

I find it hard to call you all "fans" seeing how you may have potentially ruined his career. I can't see how he would ever want to go back to play for the Canadiens.

Way to go.

Eastern Conference

Philadelphia (5) @ Pittsburgh (4)—PIT leads 3-1

Pittsburgh can close out their provincial rivals with a victory at Melon Arena tonight.

Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stole the show in Game Four by stopping 45 shots. He is a big reason why the Flyers went 0-for-8 on the power play.

Without question the Flyers have to get out to a quick start, but it's hard to suggest the Penguins won't be trying to do the same. In last season's playoffs Pittsburgh took control of Game Five after coming home with a 3-1 lead. They have the tools to do it once again.

Game Five Winner: Pittsburgh

 

Carolina (6) @ New Jersey (3)—Series tied 2-2

Carolina had the first 38 minutes of Game Four in cruise control.

Then as Brian Gionta scored before the end of the second period the flood gates opened. The Devils tallied two goals early in the third to tie the game and make things entertaining.

As the clock was winding down the Hurricanes scored a very controversial goal as Martin Brodeur was appeared to be interfered with by 'Canes forward Jussi Jokinen. As defenseman Denis Seidenberg fired a point shot, Jokinen incidentally ran into the Devils keeper and redirected the puck past him with only 0.2 seconds left on the clock.

Brodeur and the Devils were irate, and for good reason. Rule 69.4 of the NHL Rulebook states that if an attacking player comes into incidental contact with the goaltender and a goal comes as a result, the goal is to be instantly waved off. This definitely was not the case the other night.

If New Jersey were to compete the same way tonight as they did in the third period of Game Four there's a good chance they could run away with this.

Carolina might want to hold back on crashing the crease because the world knows that they are going to be under the microscope for the remainder of the series.

Game Five Winner: New Jersey

 

Western Conference

Detroit (1) @ Columbus (7)—DET leads 3-0

This series has been pure domination as the Red Wings have held the Blue Jackets to just two goals while scoring four in each of their previous three games. Columbus' first playoff experience will be something to remember if they can ever pull off this triumphant upset.

Unfortunately those odds are drastically low—not to mention they are playing the Stanley Cup champions.

If your name isn't R.J. Umberger then you have generated very few scoring opportunities in this series, and it is coming back to bite them. After blowing out Detroit 8-2 in early March, the Wings have won the last four dating back to the regular season, outscoring the Jackets 16-2.

They woke the giant at the wrong time. And now the giant will put Rick Nash, Steve Mason, and co. to sleep tonight at Nationwide Arena.

Game Four Winner: Detroit

San Jose (1) @ Anaheim (8)—ANA leads 2-1

Anaheim's defense held the Sharks' scoring chances in the first two games to the  perimeter. In the third game, San Jose powered their way to the net and scored four goals, doubling their output from the combined games at HP Pavilion.

San Jose was lead by defensemen Dan Boyle and Rob Blake who generated plenty of attack from the back end while the forwards followed the puck to the net. With goals going back and forth, it was by far the most exciting game of the series.

The main question will be whether the Sharks can continue their strong play up front or if the Ducks defenders can return to being the bruisers they were at the beginning of the series. Anaheim still holds home ice advantage and even though the road team has won all three games thus far, that trend can end tonight.

Game Four Winner: Anaheim

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