Sunday, May 10, 2009
I stayed up late on Saturday night to watch Game 5 of the Canucks vs. Blackhawks. With a 4-2 win, the upstart Blackhawks proved once again that this team is one to be feared. It may or may not happen this year, but I see a young, talented, and physical hockey club who has now pushed the Vancouver Canucks on the edge of elimination. The Canucks looked to be in control when Mats Sundin blasted a shot past Nikolai Khabibulin to give Vancouver a 2-1 lead. But, later Dustin Byfuglien tied it up late in the period to set up a crucial final period of play. When Kevin Bieksa took a really dumb high-sticking penalty (And it wasn't his only one), the Blackhawks took advantage of it with a beautiful tick-tack-toe passing play that ended up on Dave Boland's stick who found nothing but an empty net. Marty Havlat then finished off the Canucks with an empty netter to make it a 4-2 final in the favor of the Hawks. A couple of things from this game... Vancouver is supposed to be the more veteran and experienced team - well that's not happening! The Blackhawks have shown more composure and refuse to retaliate. Good coaching job by my former teammate, Joel Quennville. The other thing I want to talk about, is Dustin Byfuglien. How much money has this guy added to his next contract? He's big, tough, physical, hits, skates, and actually leads his team in hits. Oh yeah, almost forgot - he's a very skilled player for a big
Over in the Pens and Caps series, Game 5 was a beauty. Evgeni Malkin's attempted pass to a wide open Sidney Crosby was deflected in by Tom Poti past Simeon Varlamov to give Pittsburgh the 4-3, OT victory. Alexander Ovechkin, who was not suspended (what a joke) for his intentional knee-on-knee hit on Sergei Gonchar, lead the Caps with 2 goals and 1 assist. However, it was not enough as Pittsburgh outplayed the Caps for the most part and deserved the win. It was nice to see if you're a Pens fan, the waking up of Jordan Staal along with his linemates (Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy). That line really gave the Caps fits all game. I also think that Bruce Boudeau's gamble on putting Sergei Fedorov on the defense backfired as Malkin flew around him on the winning goal. Second guessing? You betcha! Give the Pens credit, odds were against them with no suspension on Ovechkin and missing your best PP defenseman in Gonchar. Good job!
Game 5 in Detroit with the series tied at 2, was a yawner to me (The Wings won by a final of 4-1). Someone forgot to tell the Ducks the game starts in the 1st period and not halfway through. If not for a nice bounceback game by Jonas Hiller (and 3 goalposts), this one could have been much worse. Goals by Franzen and Hudler for Detroit gave the Wings a 2-0 lead. In response, Anaheim showed a bit of life on a goal by Ryan Whitney on the PP. I guess you would call the save by Chris Osgood a game saver a little bit later on Erik Christensen. However, I never felt that the Ducks were in this game at all. The shots on goal prove my point - Detroit 38, Anaheim 17. Case closed. Late goals by Darren Helm (goalie interference?) and an empty netter by Henrik Zetterberg topped it off for the Wings. I question Randy Carlyle's continuing to put Ryan Getzlaf on the ice, shift after shift. If he's hurt or sick, he should sit down. Getzlaf looks lethargic at best. In fact, he looks terrible. No drive, energy, or zip in his skating. The Ducks may be done, Detroit is too good of a team to play half speed with. If the Ducks don't wake up in Game 6, the Red Wings will have no problem putting them out of their misery!
The "Big Bad" Bruins in Game 5, well they played like the Big Bad Bruins should play - tough and physical. They really took it to the Carolina Hurricanes with a 4-0 shutout. This is the Bruins team that we all expected to see in this series. Lucic and Chara were nasty. Phil Kessel netted 2 with Lucic and Recchi getting the other goals for Boston. No questioning this one, Boston needed it and they stayed alive. Now the series shifts back to Carolina for Game 6. Can the Bruins find the same recipe for victory? Or will the Canes finish off the Bruins at their crazy confines in Raleigh? Over and out!