A Great Start To The NHL Playoffs
Two games in the column and two thrilling finishes. In Pittsburgh, the Penguins blew a 3-0 lead and watched the Philadelphia Flyers come all the way back and then win in sudden death OT 4-3.
The always-playoff-shaky Ilya Bryzgalov gave up early goals (as usual), but this time the Flyers had enough fire power and Bryzgalov toughened up, shutting the door on Pittsburgh the rest of the way. Sid Crosby scored first, a soft goal-flicking back-hander by the Flyer netminder. Tyler Kennedy quickly made it 2-0, and Pascal Dupuis finished the first period frenzy with a strange tip that eluded Bryzgalov.
That however was the end of the Penguins offense for the evening. Daniel Briere started the comeback with a goal that shouldn’t have been. He was way off-side, not even close, but no call was made and Briere finished going in alone on Marc Andre-Fleury and scored to get Philly back on track.
The Flyers scored a pair in the 3rd to tie the score at 3. The tying goal was a thing of beauty, as Brayden Shenn finished off a beautiful pass from Scott Hartnell, who dished it from the point after Jaromir Jagr made the rush into the Pens end. Hartnell got the disc from Jagr and fed a pass into the slot that Shenn tipped in. Bing-bam, tie game at 3.
The Flyers finished the comeback fast, scoring at 2.23 to cap it for Philadelphia. The Pens failed to clear a centering pass away allowing Jakub Voracek to tip it by Fluery. Game over. Flyers wrest home ice away from Pittsburgh.
Meanwhile down in Nashville, my western pick for the cup, the Predators, did just enough to defeat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2. The Wings got a late goal from Tomas Holmstrom to cut the Preds’ lead to 1, but then Nashville hung on after a late scramble to win game 1. Gabriel Bourque lit the lamp twice to lead the way. Paul Gaustad started the scoring for Nashville with a tally early in the 3rd period. The win could cost the Preds their top player, though. Shea Weber, as the game ended slammed, Paul Zetterberg’s head into the glass for no reason ala a wrestler slamming the opponents head into the turnbuckle. Zetterberg looked shaky but it is Weber that may pay the price as no doubt the NHL cops will review the dirty play. Weber is the Preds best defensman. This finished off a chippy game as 17 minor penalties were called. Pekka Rinne stopped 35 shots to get the win, adding to his 43 in the regular