On Day 2 of the Conference Quarters, goaltending battles stole the show again. Let’s dive right in.
Montreal vs. Boston – In a highly anticipated battle, I think fans were given a real treat in goaltending showdowns in game one. Things started off quick as Brian Gionta, one of last years playoff stars, quickly struck to give the Canadians a 1-0 lead. The rest of the game was tight, seeing chances go both ways, but Tim Thomas and Carey Price were up to the challenge.
In the second period we saw Boston take control, out-shooting the Canadians 18-6. Price was phenomenal stopping all 18 shots, meanwhile Thomas fended off each one he saw as well. After two, it was still 1-0 Montreal. Things slowed down in the third period as defenses really shut down their opposition. Montreal outshot Boston 6-5 in the period, including the only one that counted – another Brian Gionta goal, this time with just over three minutes to play. Gionta’s second goal would prove to seal the deal for Montreal as they skated away to a 1-0 series lead. Scott Gomez picked up the lone assist on each goal as well.
Buffalo vs. Philadelphia – I love a good goaltending battle, but I love to see goal scoring a little bit more. If you’re like me, this game wasn’t for you. The first two periods were scoreless, and featured some great saves by both Ryan Miller and Sergei Bobrovsky. Miller was edging out the competition through two, however, making 26 saves to Bobrovsky’s 19.
Six minutes into the third, Patrick Kaleta slammed home a rebound off a shot from the point to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead. With some more great defense and stellar goaltending, Kaleta’s goal would stand up to be the game winner as Ryan Miller earned a shutout and a 1-0 win and series lead for his club.
San Jose vs. Los Angeles – Going in to this battle, a couple of thoughts are running through our heads. First, can San Jose make another playoff push this season? Or will they be upset and sent to the golf course early once again? Second, how will the Los Angeles Kings hold up without their number one player, Anze Kopitar?
Apparently the Sharks wanted to try to answer some questions quickly as Dany Heatley scored just 28 seconds in to the game to give his team an early lead. L.A. came back strong in the second period, however, and picked up one of their own as Dustin Brown scored on the power-play seven minutes in. Rookie standout Logan Couture answered right back with his fifth career playoff goal, giving the Sharks a 2-1 lead. It took all of six minutes for the Kings to jump back in it as Justin Williams scored at 16:20 of the second to tie the game.
After a scoreless third period, the Sharks and Kings headed to overtime. For a while it was looking as though this west coast matchup might go real late as both goalies were up to the task and made save after save in the extra period. Well they did, that is, until Joe Pavelski struck for the Sharks beating Jonathan Quick for the OT game winner with five minutes to play. Antti Niemi was great for the Sharks, making 33 saves in the winning effort. Quick finished the game with 42 saves of his own, earning him third star of the game honors as the losing ‘tender.