Sunday, May 24, 2009

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Playoff recap, Day 37

After this weekend’s action in the Stanley Cup playoffs, we’re just a win in each Conference Final away from a rematch of last year’s championship series…

Here’s the recap:

(Red Wings 6, Blackhawks 1)

Coming off an emotional overtime win to get back into the West Final, things were looking good for the Chicago Blackhawks. That is, until Marian Hossa arrived to the rink.

Marty Havlat was back in the lineup despite getting knocked into the Middle Ages by Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall in game three, and to make things even sweeter - Detroit was without captain Nick Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk.

If anything it seemed that just got the Red Wings going though, especially a guy named Marian Hossa.

He scored a shorthanded goal near the midway point of the first, assisted on Valtteri Filppula’s first of the playoffs early in the second and then sealed the deal with a goal 12 seconds after Chicago made it 3-1.

Hossa is proving to be one of the most lethal game four players in this year’s playoffs – he’s now got eight points (6g, 2a) when it comes to the fourth game of a series.

It’s been an interesting series between the pipes too – in game three, Cristobal Huet came in for Nikolai Khabibulin after two periods (and Corey Crawford had to dress and rush to the bench to fill in as backup)…

In game four, Huet was replaced by Crawford and then came back into the game about sixteen minutes later. At the other end of the ice, Chris Osgood left the game after two periods (he was dehydrated), was replaced by Ty Conklin, and third-string goalie Jimmy Howard had to quickly dress as the backup.


Wings lead the series 3-1. Game five goes Wednesday in Detroit.


(Penguins 6, Hurricanes 2)

Looks like the “Cardiac ‘Canes” have flat-lined.

A lot of that has to do with the quick-strike offence of the Pittsburgh Penguins, led by a guy named Evgeni Malkin.

Malkin scored twice on Saturday, following up a three-goal performance in game two. He’s now got nine points in the East Final and SIXTEEN points in his last six games. That’s impressive stuff right there.

Combine that with Sidney Crosby’s steady play and Marc-Andre Fleury’s solid goaltending and you’ve got a dangerous mix.

The undoing of the Carolina Hurricanes in this series has been allowing the Penguins to bury them with quick goals. A lot of coaches will tell you the most important shifts of a game are immediately after you’ve been scored on.

The effort just hasn’t been good enough for the ‘Canes in this series. They’ve looked good, but not for a full sixty minutes. The Penguins haven’t really had to be great, but they’ve been pretty darn good anyways.

Game four goes on Tuesday from Raleigh, North Carolina.

One more thing:

Congratulations to the Windsor Spitfires, who won the 2009 Memorial Cup with a 4-1 win over the Kelowna Rockets on Sunday!

Not to brag or anything, but in my Memorial Cup preview blog entry, I called a Windsor/Kelowna final with the Spitfires takin' home the hardware. Just sayin...

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