Well, the first round of sweeps is nearly done... the Bruins did a number on the Habs last night to send them packing away, finishing their season of celebration. That can't be a good feeling in Montreal. The Bruins finished off the Canadiens with a 4-1 win in Montreal and they will now play the lowest ranked team that makes it through to the second round, which looks to be the Rangers, if they can pull another one out from under Washington.
The end of the Canadiens was foreseen by the poolies, as there were only 18 selections throughout the 61 teams participating, registering only 9.8% of their possible selection total. The Habs were doomed from the beginning, it seemed. Both Alex Kovalev and Saku Koivu led the team with 3 points a piece in the series, which was clearly not enough to help out, but there was little depth, lots of injuries and not enough time. I don't think I need to go into the ramifications of this loss with everyone.
The Rangers managed to take a 3-1 series lead over the Capitals with a tight 2-1 win on Wednesday night. The Rangers were close to giving up their one goal lead in the third, but Henrik Lundqvist made sure he registered his third win of the playoffs.
In Calgary on Wednesday, the Flames nearly gave away their hopes of tying up the series, but managed to keep themselves in check after a sloppy second period and score the winning goal in the third to head back to Chicago tied at two games a piece.
Three points was the name of the game last night in two of the games. Boston's Michael Ryder finished with three points in the pool when eliminating the Canadiens. Ryder had 2 goals and an assist in the win for his three points. In Calgary, Jarome Iginla had 2 goals and an assist, as did Olli Jokinen, while Kris Versteeg had a goal and 2 assists for Chicago in the loss. In theory, you could have had all four players for 12 points last night, which could have done you a lot of good. The most popular player of the four is Iginla, who leads that pack with only 11 selections in the pool.
Two out of three game-winners last night were scored by players in the pool, which seems to be about the average here in the first round. For Boston, it was David Krejci's late first period marker that stood up as the winner. Krejci was taken 6 times in Box 14 of the pool, obviously not one of the favourite Bruins going forward. In New York, Chris Drury found the back of the net early in the second period, in which the Capitals failed to respond to later in the game. Drury, also in Box 14 of the pool, was only taken once in the pool, but the Rangers were long shots to get out of the first round, according to the selections in the pool. Finally, it was Eric Nystrom of the Flames who notched the winner in the third period and he wasn't included on the Sheet this time around. The bonus point would have given him a 4-point night in the pool, which was far more than Box 6 forward, Rene Bourque, did, as he didn't even dress for the game.
That's right, I said it already. Rene Bourque was not in the line-up for the Flames, as he sat out with an upper body injury. Bourque took a cross-check from Adam Burish in Game 3, which is thought to be the cause of the injury. Bourque's status for Saturday's Game 5 is still unknown.
Well, looky here... two new teams behind the 8-ball for tonight's game. Two elimination games go tonight, one in the East and then one in the West. On CBC at 5pm MT, the Flyers will look to avoid elimination at the hands of the Penguins... unfortunately for them, it's in Pittsburgh. The Flyers will need a monster performance in this one to stay alive. On TSN2 at 5pm MT, the Blue Jackets will have one last (likely) try at winning their first ever playoff game in franchise history, but the Red Wings have eyes on resting their aging bodies after a series sweep. If the Red Wings can sweep tonight, that will make three sweeps in the first round. At 5:30pm MT, the Hurricanes and the Devils match-up again, in a crucial Game 5 affair in the swamp. The loser of this game will find themselves behind the 8-ball for Game 6... sorry to ruin the surprise. Finally, at 8:30pm MT on CBC, the Sharks will have to work extra hard to tie up the series with the Ducks, as Anaheim is really taking it to San Jose in this series. Game 4 is in the Duck Pond tonight, so the Sharks better be ready to go or behind the 8-ball it will be for them too.