The Morning Skate: Let’s Catch Up With the Stanley Cup Playoffs

April 19, 2009 – 11:51 pm by TheRiot

Well, we have three games down in some of the Stanley Cup playoff quarterfinal series after Sunday’s games, so it seems like a good time to see what we missed over the weekend and to take stock of where our predictions stand.

Early returns aren’t nearly as embarrassing as they could be, that’s for sure. Even Zdeno Chara is pumped about that.

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Boston Bruins vs. No. 8 Montreal Canadiens: We went with Boston in a sweep here and we’re two games from being correct. Yes!

Boston is up 2-0 in the series after 4-2 and 5-1 wins in Beantown. The series moves to Montreal with Game 3 at 7 p.m. tonight.  The Canadiens will play as if they absolutely have to win, which they do, so it might just get a little chippy between these old rivals.

Not that it’ll stop the Bruins from sweeping or anything.

No. 2 Washington Capitals vs. No. 7 New York Rangers: Didn’t see this coming. We took Washington in seven games, but the Rangers took both games in Washington for a 2-0 lead heading into tonight’s Game 3 at Madison Square Garden.

Scott Gomez had a goal and two assists in Game 1, a 4-3 win, and Henrik Lundqvist made 35 saves in Game 2, a 1-0 win.

Washington went with rookie goaltender Simeon Varlamov in Game 2, which may have settled things down on the back end, but after losing home-ice advantage it might bet too late. Maybe. Game 3 is at 7 p.m. tonight.

No. 3 New Jersey Devils vs. No. 6 Carolina Hurricanes: This series is turning out to be just as close as we thought it would be (we said Carolina in six) and it looks like it might go seven.

New Jersey won Game 1 by a 4-1 score and Carolina came right back to even the series with a 2-1 win in Game 2. Then Sunday night New Jersey stole one back in Carolina with a 3-2 overtime win thanks to Travis Zajac’s game-winning goal.

Game 4 comes Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., with another possible swing in home-ice advantage hanging in the balance.

No. 4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. No. 5 Philadelphia Flyers: We have Pittsburgh in seven games in this series. So far it’s playing out to form. Pittsburgh has a 2-1 series lead.

The Penguins won the first two games at home 4-1 and 3-2, respectively. But when things moved back to Philly on Sunday, checking line forward Claude Giroux led the Flyers with a goal and an assist in their 6-3 win. Keep in mind Game 3 was at one point tied 2-2.

Game 4 is 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Western Conference

No. 1 San Jose Sharks vs. No. 8 Anaheim Ducks: Don’t say we didn’t tell you about the Sharks in the playoffs. We had Anaheim in six and its making us look very smart.

The Ducks took the first game of the series behind goaltender Jonas Hiller, who became just the third goalie to pitch a shutout in his playoff debut. Then Hiller had a fantastic game Sunday, withstanding a barrage of Shark scoring chances for a 3-2 win.

That’s a 2-0 lead in the series for Anaheim — and its going back home with a chance to put San Jose away. Game 4 comes at 10:30 p.m. Thursday.

No. 2 Detroit Red Wings vs. No. 7 Columbus Blue Jackets: Standard operating procedure out of Detroit, although this is shaping up as more of a sweep than a five-game series. Disappointing.

The Wings won the first game 4-1 and the second 4-0. Lots of offense there. And you know what, Wings fans? Chris Osgood has looked pretty damn good in the process, stopping 45 of 46 shots. Perhaps he was just saving his best for the playoffs then.

Game 3 commences Tuesday at 7 p.m.

No. 3 Vancouver Canucks vs. No. 6 St. Louis Blues: Well, we had Vancouver in six here, and they might do us a few better, already being up 3-0 and what not.

The Canucks won the first two games at home 2-1 and 3-0, respectively, with stud goaltender Roberto Luongo stopping 55 of 56 shots in the process. Then the Canucks scored three power play goals in Sunday’s 3-2 win in St. Louis.

Vancouver can put the series to bed starting at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

No. 4 Chicago Blackhawks vs. No. 5 Calgary Flames: How about them baby Hawks huh? Well, they’re up 2-0 in the series (we said Hawks in six) after 3-2 wins in each of the first two games at the United Center.

In Game 1 the Flames led 2-1 before Martin Havlat tied it at deuces and won it 12 seconds into overtime. Then in Game 2 the Flames ran out to a 2-0 lead before three consecutive goals by the Hawks in the second period.

We’ll learn a lot more about the Hawks in the next couple games north of the border, the first of which is tonight at 9:30 p.m. tonight.

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