Saturday, April 29, 2006

The GAME of the night
Stars 4, Avalanche 1

Colorado leads series 3-1

"Desperate teams play with the demons. They played like they had demons. They were relentless, pressuring us in our zone."
- Colorado Avalanche defenceman Patrice Brisebois

Kudos to Dallas, who finally showed up and played the way this team is capable. And the best player on the ice last night? Marty Turco.

The Stars heavily outshot Colorado — 38-23 — and played, well, to borrow from our friend Patrice, 'with the demons.'

Unless Brisebois hits up The Exorcist for Sunday afternoon's game in Dallas, we may just have a series on our hands. Especially if Jose Theodore plays like Jose Theodore circa the 2005-06 regular season. (Check out more great photos from last night's game here.)

Flyers 5, Sabres 4
Series tied 2-2

"I saw that hit enough. Now you can show the goal."
- Philadelphia Flyers rookie R.J. Umberger

If, at the start of this series, I began holding my breath in anticipation of Peter Forsberg to dominate the series, I wouldn't be here right now. Still, it's Game 4, and Pete 'the Great' has arrived.

And it's a good thing, too.

I said Forsberg was this series key before the playoffs. I still thought so after Philadelphia took a beating in Game 2. Sabres fans (and bloggers) didn't like that. Tom L. from Sabre Rattling offered these words of encouragement at the time (three days ago):
Face it. Philly's done. Bob Clarke didn't believe the league in the off-season and he's paying for it now. It's that simple. They might win a game in Philly.

Will game 3 be a war? Well, y'all said that about game 2.... oops.

Again, I hate to be antagonistic about this but, why is it so hard to believe that the Sabres are the far superior team? These games are even more lop-sided than the Rags/Devils games and that series is apparently over. Somehow the Flyers have enough of something the Rangers don't. I saw more fight out of the Rags in the 20 minutes I watched of that game when they were down 3-0 then I saw out of Philly in all of game 2.
And Tom's absolutely right — Philadelphia looked like they didn't even belong in this series the first two games, save for a very small portion of Game 1.

Yet, here we are headed to Game 5 in Buffalo with the series tied. You can't discount the fact that, in the past two games, Forsberg had three goals, three assists and was +5. He also had the game-winning goals in both.

I don't know who Sabres coach Lindy Ruff wants to pair up against Forsberg, but in Philadelphia where coach Ken Hitchcock got the matchups he wanted, 'The Great' saw a lot of ice time across from Daniel Briere, who also had a great Game 4 — but he's not a guy that can play the sort of power game Forsberg has become known for.

This series has had everything — a big hit, a blowout, some bad blood — and I'm fully expecting it to go to seven. If you get a chance, tune in.

Hurricanes 3, Canadiens 2
Series tied 2-2

"I didn't see anyone looking and wondering if someone was going to show up out of the blue. It's part of their lives. Players are in and players are out all through the season."
- Montreal Canadiens coach/GM Bob Gainey

Saku Koivu offered a message of encouragement to his teammates before the game, and a Montreal media news outlet said the damage to the popular team captain's left eye was not as serious as reported earlier.

In other words, it was all good news for the Canadiens last night — except for on the scoreboard.

Despite winning the first two games in Raleigh — a place that, surprisingly enough, has a reputation for being difficult to win in — Montreal has lost home-ice advantage in the series and is currently on a two-game losing streak. Hurricanes rookie netminder Cam Ward has been stellar in net, and the Habs will have to rely increasingly on Radek Bonk, Jan Bulis and Mike Ribeiro up the middle without Koivu.

I think Montreal's in trouble, and a win in Game 5 should be considered a must for Gainey and crew.


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