Thursday, April 15, 2010

Surprises rule the night on opening night

The favourites they did tumble on Wednesday night as the NHL's post season derby officially took flight.

Senators 5 - Penguins 4

The first of the evenings surprises took place in Pittsburgh, where the star laden Pens couldn't overcome the Senators control of play when things counted. With the Sens receiving goals from the more bellicose of personalities such as Chris Neil, Cory Clouston's game plan seemed to be the perfect antidote to the Penguins fast forward approach to the game, helping out the Sens cause on the night was the less than solid goaltending of Marc Andre Fleury, who had a few shaky moments something that the Pens must be hoping will be a one night occurrence. After an 82 game season, the Sens grabbed home ice advantage in but sixty minutes and with their success of Wednesday, they may be more than ready to show the home folk that there is a bit of hockey left in the season after all.

Ottawa Citizen-- Senators shock Penguins with 5-4 win
Pittsburgh Post Gazette-- Penguins fall to Senators, 5-4

Flyers 2 - Devils 1

Youth outplayed experience on Wednesday as the Flyer's riding on the strength of goaltender Brian Boucher took game one from the New Jersey Devils, Boucher turned aside 23 shots to lead his squad to the opening night victory,   a game which saw the Flyers use their underdog status to approach the game in a rather loose fashion heading into the game, but still showing some good discipline on the ice as they methodically stymied the Devils through the night. The Devils finally solved the Boucher riddle late in the third and with a bit of a flurry provided the home side fans with the tempting thought of a comeback and maybe a push to overtime, however Boucher held the fort for the final two minutes securing the Flyers victory.

Newark Star Ledger-- Flyers' penalty killers come up big in Game 1 victory over Devils
Phiadelphia Daily News-- Flyers take first step

Coyotes 3 - Red Wings 2

For most hockey observers the Red Wings despite the lesser record are considered the favourites in the West Division opening round series with Phoenix, the problem however may be that nobody told the Cinderalla Coyotes that it's closing in on midnight. The Coyotes in front of a huge crowd clad in white managed to push back from the eventual Red Wing assault, holding the Wings close and then finding the winning marker to write another chapter in the long strange season that has made for Coyote hockey. The Coyotes took advantage of their power play opportunities as the Red Wings suffered lapses in discipline that eventually snatched the chance to push ahead in the series away from them. With word that the Coyotes financial troubles may soon be a thing of the past, it seems that the fans in the Phoenix area may be treated with the possibility of a bit more hockey this year before they get down to turning around the fortunes for the next.

Arizona Republic-- Phoenix Coyotes take 1-0 playoff series lead over Red Wings
Detroit Free Press-- Wings struggle on penalty killing against Coyotes 

Colorado  2 - San Jose 1

The boos began to descend onto the ice in full fury by the second period, the San Jose Sharks the ever popular flame outs of post season play provided yet another warning shot for their fans that disappointment could once again visit the Bay area. The Sharks despite some furious play could not seem to get goals behind The Avs Anderson, with Devon Setoguchi finding frustration at every turn on the ice. For Colorado the final two periods provided a glimpse of the potential horror to come for Sharks fans as the Avs shut down the San Jose attack for the most part, taking away chances and keeping play to the perimeter for the most part. The Sharks managed to tie things up with a Ryan Clowe goal in the third and for a portion of the period it seemed as though overtime was on the horizon. However, as seems the case in playoff hockey and ugly goal with but seconds to go in the third proved to be the fatal shot for the Sharks in game one, as the much battered TJ Galiardi provided enough of a distraction to the Sharks that a shot from the corner deflected off of Rob Blake and into the Sharks net, sending the eighth seed Avs to a game one victory and sending Shark fans off on a quest for their favourite therapists phone number just in case.

Denver Post-- Avs win Game 1 at San Jose 
San Jose Mercury News-- San Jose Sharks lose playoff opener to Colorado Avalanche   

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