Day 12 gives us one series victory, and a couple more close matchups. Let’s see who is going where.
Buffalo vs. Philadelphia – In an exciting game where the Sabres looked to clinch the series, the Flyers wanted to hold on strong and force a game seven. Early on, though, it was Buffalo with the advantage, scoring just 2:13 into the game. Rob Niedermayer buried a shot from the right circle giving his squad the early 1-0 lead. Just six minutes later, it was Thomas Vanek on the power-play to send the Sabres to an early two goal advantage. The goal was Vanek’s fourth of the playoffs. Later in the first it was Daniel Briere matching the Vanek effort with his fourth goal of the playoffs. Thomas Vanek would answer right back, with another power-play tally, and the Sabres carried a 3-1 lead into the intermission.
The second period looked to all Flyers as James van Riemsdyk scored early to bring his team within one. Danny Briere responded with another goal, on the power-play, to even things up at three halfway through the game. Nathan Gerbe would give the Sabres an advantage again, however, before the second would end. His wrister fooled Brian Boucher after deflecting off a defenseman’s stick.
The Flyers would not go down easy though, as Scott Hartnell tied things up once again midway through the third period. After some tight defense, things headed to sudden death overtime. Just under five minutes into the extra period, Ville Leino capped off a solid night with the game winner.
With the Flyers win, this series will head to a heated game seven matchup. Look for Ryan Miller to play out of his mind and really step up for the Sabres. I expect them to come out on top and advance to round two.
Anaheim vs. Nashville – Teemu Selanne continued his amazing playoff streak by giving the Ducks an early 1-0 lead midway through the first. After circling around behind the net, Selanne fired a backhand shot which found its way past Pekka Rinne. The Goal was Selanne’s sixth of the playoffs. Nick Spaling closed the period off strong for the Predators, however, as he fired a shot past Ray Emery with 28 seconds to play in the first.
The second period was much the opposite of the first as the Predators grabbed a 2-1 lead after Steve Sullivan dangled past Ray Emery and slid the puck into a wide open net. Later in the second, the Ducks would tie things up on the power-play. Jason Blake found the back of the net for his third of the series, and the Ducks headed to the intermission tied at two.
Early in the closing period, Nick Spaling did some damage again with his second goal of the game. Spaling’s rebound goal would give the Predators a 3-2 advantage, and one they would hang on to. With ten seconds remaining, it would be David Legwand to seal the deal with an empty net goal.
The Predators avoid game seven and pick up their first post-season series victory in franchise history. Exciting times in Nasvhille, but now they wait to find out who their second round opponent will be.
Chicago vs. Vancouver – This high intensity matchup was easily the game of the night. With that said, we’ll go straight to video highlights courtesy of the NHL. Game seven between the Canucks and Blackhawks will definitely be one you do not want to miss.