Sunday, April 22, 2007

One Series Left in the First Round

It was pretty hard fought, but the Devils finally eliminated the Lightning in six games. The Lightning had their chance at home to send it back to the swamp, but the Devils were just way too strong. Lecavalier was taken 5 times... gone. Dan Boyle was taken 8 times... gone. Cory Sarich was taken 4 times... gone. Really, the Lightning wasn't really counted on to do very much in the first round and they certainly didn't.

So... now the Eastern Conference match-ups are decided.

Well, the number one seed in the league will host the hottest team in the playoffs in the first match-up. The Sabres will host the Rangers in the second round and it will be another battle of goaltending. Henrik Lundqvist, who has had a long rest after sweeping the Thrashers will take on Ryan Miller, who put away the Islanders. Chances for the upset will be there, as it looks like Jaromir Jagr wants to play, but the transitional offense by the Sabres will put the Rangers defense to the test.

The number two seed Devils will next take on the Senators, who were the number four seed going into the first round. Martin Brodeur will try and backstop the Devils against the regular season 50-goal scorer, Dany Heatley. The Senators did put a lot of offense up against the Penguins, while the Devils had a hard time getting through the Lightning. This may end up seeing the Senators into Conference Finals.

Well, it was a game that went against the statistical grain of sorts. The home team won every game going in. The team that scored the first goal won every game going in. Well, the Flames were at home and Jarome Iginla scored the first goal in the second period. Two overtimes later and the Red Mile is more like the Dead Mile... and as I'm writing this, I can be comforted in the idea that I will get some sleep. Yes, I live on the mile. It's just after 11pm and the rioting hasn't commenced yet... but this isn't Vancouver either. The Flames were not a big pick favourite, only chosen 79 times... so they weren't a big hit to the pool numbers. Good night Calgary... see ya next season.

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Three assists was more than enough to help do the business against the Lightning. Patrik Elias and his seven supporters in the pool were more than happy to see the Devils go through for more point production in the later rounds. He's our spotlight player of the night for being the high scorer of the day.

Game Winning Goal Scorers
I almost wish that there was another bonus point for the series winning goal, but that'll have to wait until next season, I guess. The Lightning were eliminated on a goal by Brian Gionta (taken only twice). It was Gionta's second goal of the game and it came only 39 seconds after Brad Richards made it a one-goal game. In the second game of the day, another non-pool player was the scorer of the winning goal to eliminate the Flames. Johan Franzen sniped a shot from just inside the blueline into the glove-side top corner to end the game in double-overtime. Just when I thought that I could give another point for ending the series... the goal wouldn't give anyone another point beyond the game-winner... 'cuz nobody has him. Ah well. Maybe next round.

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