Thursday, May 08, 2014

Habs Rock, Wild Claw and the Pens Strangle

On Tuesday night, the Bell Centre in Montreal was just rocking and that seemed to make somewhat of a difference to the home team, as they hit the ice with a passion.  A couple goals in the 1st period, a 3-0 lead midway through the 2nd and the Canadiens were flexing some muscle against their rival Bruins.

Game Three of the series wasn't without its little bit of intrigue and suspense, as the Bruins clawed back a little, scoring before the end of the 2nd and then capitalized on some late pressure with their goalie pulled, making it a 3-2 with only a couple minutes to go.  Unlike a good portion of the games in these playoffs, the Canadiens were able to hold onto their lead, scoring an empty-netter with a few ticks left, finishing the game 4-2.

The series momentum shifted back to the Canadiens, who now hold a 2-1 series lead into Game Four, which will go on Thursday night, still in Montreal.

Notable pool players in Game Three for Montreal included P.K. Subban, who had a goal and an assist and Carey Price, who stopped 26 shots for the win.  Unfortunately for the pool, a number of non-pool players came up big for Montreal, which doesn't help anyone out.

Well, how about those Minnesota Wild?  Do you think they have the Chicago Blackhawks exactly where they want them?  Sure, they can let the Blackhawks win both of their home games with relative ease, but when they go back to St. Paul, boy howdy, are they ready to rock and roll.

By rock and roll, I mean tighten up defensively and force their opposition into some pretty tough times.  Minnesota only allowed 19 shots on goal (while only taking 18 of their own), to which Ilya Bryzgalov stopped all of them for the shutout.  Out of their own 18 shots, eight of them came in the 3rd period, where all four of their goals were scored in and pow!  That's a 4-0 win in the bag and they climbed right back into their series.

Seems like we've seen this story before.  Let's just ask Nathan MacKinnon and his Avalanche if they've seen this before.

Bryzgalov had the big night with 4 points, while Zach Parise, Jason Pominville and Mikael Granlund each came away with 2 points for the pool.

Chicago's Box 10 defenseman, Nick Leddy, was a healthy scratch for Game Three, likely due to his lack of offensive production, with only 2 assists in eight games. Word is that he'll return for Game Four on Thursday night, which will make his five teams that picked him glad. He can't get any points from the press box.

When the New York Rangers took Game One of the series in Pittsburgh, the Penguins immediately lost home-ice advantage, for the time being.  Well, after Wednesday night's game, they did the Rangers two better, as they went into the opposition building for a couple games and left the Big Apple with a 3-1 series lead, with more than enough home-ice advantage to go around.

The Penguins handed the Rangers another dominating effort, limiting their foes to only 15 shots on Marc-Andre Fleury, who stopped 13 of them in the win.  The Penguins managed to capitalize on four of their 27 shots on net in Game Four and came away with a key win in the series.

Now, the Penguins can go home on Friday night and close out the series and be the first team in to the Conference Finals.

In the win, Fleury got his 2 points from the win, while Jussi Jokinen scored his third game-winner of the playoffs for 2 points.  Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby also had a pair of points for the pool, which impresses many.

What are the Rangers to do now?  They are now firmly stuck behind the 8-ball, heading into the weekend.

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