First off, our thoughts and prayers go to Eklund and his family on the unexpected passing of his father yesterday. He is with his mother and will make arrangements today. Please keep them lifted up during a tough time in their lives.
Wednesday nights offerings couldn't match Tuesday's action but did give us great games in two of the three played.
The dud of the night, not surprisingly, was the Bruins finishing off the Habs by a score of 4-1. The Hab's Andrei Kostitsyn scored 39 seconds into the game for the only highlight of the night for Montreal. The sweep broke a ten year run of failing to get past the opening round for the Bruins and will give them several days to relax before the second round. Congrats to all the Boston fans who are thrilled to death to have a legitimate shot at the finals.
The game between the Rangers and Caps was basically the Henrik Lundqvist show as King Henry stopped 38 of 39 shots in route to a 2-1 Ranger win which gave them a 3-1 series lead. The game was not decided until the final horn sounded as Sean Avery put the Caps on the power play on a really stupid penalty with three minutes remaining. The Caps could not convert on the PP or the goalie pull and the Rangers held on for the win. The Caps now face elimination when they return home for game six. Caps goalie Simeon Varlamov has done everything and more that could be expected of him but the Cap's simply have been unable to put the puck in the net. Not unexpectedly, the big topic this AM is Sean Avery and his lack of discipline.
The Hawks-Flames series continued to be the most exciting of the bunch as it also came down to the final horn with Calgary holding on for a wild 6-4 victory to even the series 2-2. As has been the case in every game, the team that scored first lost. With the Hawks up 1-0, Calgary scored four unanswered goals before the Hawks came back with three to tie it 4-4. Eric Nystrom put the Flames ahead with seven minutes left and Jarome Iginla finished the game with an empty netter. Nystrom also had two assists and Iginla had the Flames first goal a minute after Chicago took the early lead. Kris Versteeg celebrated his Calder final three nomination with a goal and two assists for the Hawks.
Tonight's action has two teams facing elimination as Detroit leads Columbus 3-0 and the Penguins lead the Flyers 3-1. Carolina and New Jersey head back north for game five in a series tied 2-2. The Ducks also hope to recover from Tuesday's home loss to the Sharks in a series that they lead 2-1. For the best playoff coverage and insight anywhere, head over to the Red Light District.
Big doings tonight at the Sommet Center from 5 to 7 as the deadline approaches for the Preds 2/20 ticket promotion. Free pizza and cokes with the Preds broadcasters and the "blue guy" as Jane Q calls him, is available for all. Here's the official details of the event from the Preds. Section 303 is highlighted in a new ad by Crispy that you can see at Section303.com.
After Pekka got shut out on the Calder Trophy final three yesterday, there is no reason to even discuss Shea Weber in the same sentence as Norris Trophy which will have the final three announced at 11 central today. My bet is Chara, Green and Lidstrom. We will see soon. The lack of Pekka in the top three is a good reminder to Pred fans of where we, as an organization, stand in the eyes of the national MSM.
Tom Callahan weighs in on the playoffs so far here.
John Glennon writes about how the World Championships can be a tryout for next year's Olympic teams. While it's fun to see the Pred players in the Olympics, it is a distraction and does take its toll on the players involved right in the middle of the playoff chase. In the past, it has not been much of a problem, but next year may be different with a higher level of talent on the Preds.
Paul McCann has a guest blogger from England today in his piece.
Dirk, the Forechecker, provided interesting sideline entertainment last night with Tweets from the Yanni concert, details here. I used to like Yanni but this Voices thing really ruins it for me. Chris over at The Program should take a lesson from Dirk, and take sweet wife Dawn to a Yanni concert to put an end to the daily bed or couch debacle once and for all.
Mirtle has an article about money problems in the KHL. Maybe this will be the excuse for Rads to return to the Preds without being crucified in the home country.
The Globe and Mail reports talks of a second team in Toronto and the Preds aren't at the top of the list. Now that's progress!
Puck Daddy reports that movie man and Devils fan Kevin Smith is moving his playoff commentary from the NHL.com site to a less family friendly Silent Bob Speaks. Smith reports that there was too much editing and rewrites involved with the league site.
More later, I'm sure.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass
Big News on the Predator Coverage Front - Forechecker's quality coverage of the Predators on SB Nation is now feeding onto the Yahoo Preds Page which will massively increase his exposure. Congrats to Dirk! No one does it better. I guess being nice to the wife at Yanni pays off!
As expected, Norris finalist are Lidstrom, Green and Chara. I'm trying to figure out the politics of who will win. I'd say its good the voting was before Green went missing in the playoffs, Lidstrom maybe in by reputation, but I bet Chara gets it due to all the MSM props this year and Boston winning the East. John Glennon argues that Shea Weber should have been close, but after the way Pekka was treated, I'm starting to wonder if Sully will make the top three for Masterton.
This should get the controversy started. Andre Roy is suspened for one game due to contact with Aaron Johnson during warm ups last night. After no action on Burish previously, the Flames fans will be hot!
Here's one for Jackson on his new favorite player, Alex Burrows.