Three out of four games from day six ended with a score of 4-2. Only one of those teams, however, is on the brink of clinching their series. Let’s dive in and see what happened yesterday.
Detroit vs. Phoenix – The Red Wings wasted no time in this game, out-skating Phoenix from the get go. They picked up the games first goal at 1:57 of the first period when Ruslan Salei scored his first of the playoffs with a bomb from the point. Less than a minute later it was Miller time when Drew Miller capitalized for his first of the post-season, giving the Wings a huge early lead, 2-0. The remainder of the first period was scoreless for both teams, but featured some great saves from Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard.
The Wings struck quickly, once again, in the second period. Valtteri Filppula collected a feed in the slot from Jiri Hudler and patiently stuck with the puck until he had an open net to bury his shot in. Detroit coasted with a comfortable lead until midway through the second when David Schlemko roofed a short side shot on Howard for the power-play goal. Phoenix carried the shot advantage in the second, 12-8, but could not get any closer on the scoreboard.
The quickly striking Wings did it a third time to open the final period. Johan Franzen collected a pass from Jonathan Ericsson which sent him streaking in on a breakaway. Franzen embarrassed goalie Ilya Bryzgalov with a quick release snapshot that went high glove. Bryzgalov did not even drop on the shot, as it was in and out of the net before he could even flinch. The Franzen goal came just 45 seconds into the third period. Phoenix bounced back at the 13:00 mark of the third with a goal from Ray Whitney, but unfortunately for the Coyotes it was too little, too late.
With the win, Detroit goes up in the series 3-0. They are on the verge of a sweep and potentially sending the Phoenix Coyotes packing their bags for Winnipeg. Game three proved the importance of secondary scoring for the Wings. Their first three goals came from secondary players. Also, keep in mind Pavel Datsyuk was held off the scoresheet, and Henrik Zetterberg is still out with a lower-body injury.
Philadelphia vs. Buffalo – Jeff Carter got things rolling for Philadelphia with a power-play goal less than five minutes into the game. His shot came from the right circle, but it’s probably one that Ryan Miller wants back. Drew Stafford tied things up with a dirty snipe from the slot. His power-play goal came at 11:55 of the first. Things remained all knotted up at the end of one.
Early in the second, Danny Briere picked up his second goal of the playoffs and restored the Flyers lead. Late in the second, Mike Richards found Nikolai Zherdev standing all alone on the goal crease and hit him for the easy tip-in past Miller. Down but not out, Nathan Gerbe scored for Buffalo on a long rebound from a Tim Connolly shot with just under two minutes to play in the second. Philadelphia would enter would enter the locker room with a one goal advantage.
The Sabres controlled play in the third, allowing the Flyers to put only four shots on goal in the period. The goaltending change worked wonders, however, as Brian Boucher stopped all eleven shots in the period. Kimmo Timonen would add an empty-net goal for the Flyers to seal the deal, 4-2. The Flyers now lead the series 2-1.
Tampa Bay vs. Pittsburgh – The Penguins grabbed the early lead after Max Talbot walked in uncontested and fired a slick wrister past Dwayne Roloson. Less than a minute later, it was Aaron Asham who gave the Penguins a 2-0 lead. Asham capitalized on a nice pass from Michael Rupp, which went under the sliding Tampa Bay defenseman. Late in the period, Martin St. Louis continued his strong play with a power-play goal. Pittsburgh carried the 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
The second period featured no scoring, but St. Louis was back at it early in the third with his second goal of the game. The St. Louis strike beat a flailing Marc-Andre Fleury who was unable to slide over to make the rebound save. The Penguins jumped right back into the lead, however, as Tyler Kennedy found a wide open net for a rebound goal of his own at 2:43 of the third. Kennedy’s goal would be the game winner as the Penguins held on for a 3-2 victory. Pittsburgh now holds a 2-1 series lead over Tampa Bay.
Boston vs. Montreal – Zdeno Chara returned for the Bruins after sitting out a game with dehydration, and his impact was felt early. The B’s took an early lead on David Krejci’s first goal of the playoffs. Building on that lead was Nathan Horton, assisted by Chara, to give the Bruins a healthy 2-0 lead heading into the intermission.
Rich Peverly capitalized for Boston just two minutes into the second as they took a 3-0 lead. Five minutes later Montreal finally answered back The tally from Andrei Kostitsyn brought the Canadians within two goals with more than half of the game remaining. Both teams failed to bury the puck in the remainder of the second, and we headed to intermission with the Bruins still ahead 3-1.
Tomas Plekanec brought the Canadians to within a single goal early in the third. Montreal outshot Boston 15-5 in the third period, but could not beat Tim Thomas to grab the tying goal. Chris Kelly added an empty netter with 26 seconds left to secure the victory for the B’s. Montreal maintains the series lead, 2-1, heading into game four.