April 24th, 2015
Blues vs Wild: Game 5
After splitting the series 2 a piece, Game 5 saw us back in The Gateway City with each team looking for a leg up on the other.
Resident stud Vladimir Tarasenko would once again get the Blues on the board with a beautiful back door play from Alexander Steen. St. Louis up 1-0.
The Wild would respond three minutes later when Marco Scandella would rocket a shot so hard that it would bend goaltender Jake Allen’s glove back and enter the net.
St. Louis would out shoot Minnesota 12-3 in the 1st, but still end tied 1-1
Minnesota would tack on two more in the 2nd with Nino Niederreiter scoring at 14:56 with some help from the post, and Mikko Koivu scoring 1:24 later.
The 3rd proved to be a repeat of the 1st, with the Blues out shooting the Wild handedly again (19-3), but still to no avail as Minnesota would net their fourth on a seemingly innocent looking wrist shot at 14:50. Wild hold on to take it 4-1.
April 25th, 2015
Capitals vs Islanders: Game 6
Back in Long Island for Game 6 and possibly the last game to ever be played at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. For the fifth time in six games, Captain John Tavares was not going to let the people of Long Island down as he lit up the Coliseum at 6:56 of the 1st on a wrist shot from the slot.
Not to be outdone, the Capitals would even the score with 5 seconds remaining in the 1st when John Carlson would find the puck a home up top above Jaroslav Halak.
The 2nd would prove to be an abrasive one with Washington and New York both taking two Roughing calls at 9:17 and 11:55, along with a Game Misconduct for the Islanders at 18:24. No goals would be scored with New York out shooting the Capitals 17-10.
Not willing to be pushed around, the Islanders played a solid game throughout the 3rd and were able to net some insurance when Nikolay Kulemin would score on a pass from Cal Clutterbuck who picked up the loose puck after teammate John Tavares was planted into the boards after attempting to split the Washington D.
The Islanders would hold onto the 3-1 lead to win the game, but tempers would flare at the end of 20:00. Washington would draw four Roughing penalties and the Islanders would earn six Roughing calls, two Cross-Checking and a Game Misconduct for their extra circular activities.
Red Wings vs Lightning: Game 5
Tampa Bay, Florida played host to Game 5 with the series tied at 2 and Detroit was looking to make a point.
The first would play out quite normally until late in the first saw Ondrej Palat take a Hooking call against Darren Helm. Detroit would use this ensuing power play to get themselves positioned 1-0 on a bullet from Riley Sheahan.
The 2nd would play out much the same until Detroit would mount a 3-2 offensive rush and Drew Miller would put away the rebound given up by goaltender Ben Bishop.
We would wait a full 20 minutes later to see Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk score his 3rd of the playoffs on the power play to make it 3-0 Red Wings.
Detroit would take the game 4-0 on an empty net goal from Danny DeKeyser, and we would see Game 6 go Monday the 27th.
April 25th, 2015
Predators vs Blackhawks: Game 6
Close out artists Chicago Blackhawks would welcome the Nashville Predators to the United Center in Chicago Saturday, April 25th and if it was going to be anything like the previous five meetings; there were going to be some goals scored come hell or high water.
Neither hell nor water would rise here as Nashville’s James Neal would get busy 1:10 into the 1st on a backhand as three Blackhawks defenders stood by and watched. Neal would strike again 7 minutes later on the power play when Cody Franson would get the puck to the night on a wrist shot allowing Neal to complete the tip.
The Blackhawks would return fire at 10:37 on a rebound from Duncan Keith’s rocket when Patrick Sharp would pick up the puck and deposit it into the net with Pekka Rinne still far out of the net.
Nashville’s ‘up & down’ recovery play would once again shine as the Predators would bite back 39 seconds later when Matt Cullen would dance right out in front of Scott Darling and flick it off the post and in. The Predators would chase Scott Darling from the net after the goal; taking a 3-1 lead as well.
With Stanley Cup winning Corey Crawford net minding for the Blackhawks again, Chicago went on the offensive with Jonathan Toews scoring 58 seconds later at 12:14 to put the Hawks within one.
Keeping the pressure, Patrick Kane would tie it up at 19:54 with a blister of a shot right from the face-off.
Duncan Keith would record his second of the series at 16:12 of the 3rd on a signature slap shot to put the Blackhawks up and over the Predators 4-3 to complete the series 4-2
Canucks vs Flames: Game 6
Welcome back to the Saddledome for UFC 6, I mean Game 6 between the Vancouver Canucks and the Calgary Flames. With a win, the Flames can put away the Canucks and remake history. The last time the Flames won a Game 6 at home, they secured themselves a meeting with the Tampa Bay Lightning to play for the Stanley Cup.
Vancouver was looking to play spoiler early as Brandon McMillan corralled a juicy rebound putting the Canucks up 1-0 at 2:36 of the 1st.
Shortly after the Canucks struck again as Jannik Hansen went end to end in order to net his second of the series. The Canucks were riding high as they chased Jonas Hiller from the net after Hansen’s goal at 7:32, so high that Radim Vrbata was able to tally his second of the series as well when he was able to complete a beautiful tip in off a pass from Daniel Sedin.
The Flames needed to rally and Michael Ferland connected with Matt Stajan for an identical tip in off a pass that saw the Flames move within two.
Calgary continued their push early in the second when Sean Monahan buried a Calgary third attempt. Vancouver still leading 3-2.
Rookie Johnny Gaudreau would end that lead roughly four and half minutes later after the Flames dumped the puck in deep.
Vancouver would retake the lead 5 minutes later on a wrister from Luca Sbisa after the Flames failed to get the puck out of their zone.
The Flames would come storming back in the 3rd scoring on the power play at 6:14, and Matt Stajan getting his first of the series at 15:43. Calgary would wrap it up at 19:31 and 19:57 with two empty netters both by Juri Hudler and Michael Ferland, officially eliminating the Vancouver Canucks in 6 games.
April 26th, 2015
Blues vs Wild: Game 6
St. Paul, Minnesota. Moscow on the Mississippi, Game 6 and the Wild have the Blues on the brink.
The Wild wasted no time in writing their destiny. At 6:31 of the 1st Minnesota would take a Tripping penalty and Matt Cooke would break up the St. Louis entry into the zone. Zach Parise would take the desperate shovel pass from Cooke and skate up the left hand side of the ice being ever forced to the outside. Parise would make a ditch effort to throw the puck on net at a near impossible angle just above the goal line and beat Jake Allen on it. Wild up 1-0 on a short-handed goal at 7:14.
The Wild would score again just past the mid-way point of the 2nd when Justin Fontaine would battle the St. Louis D in the slot and let a wrister go; beating Allen five hole. Blues’ Coach Ken Hitchcock immediately pulled Allen in favor of Brian Elliott after that. The Wild have the Blues on their heels early.
With seconds dwindling down in the 2nd St. Louis would get on the board at 19:56 with T.J. Oshie shoveling the puck in on a tight angle as well. St. Louis gets within one to start the 3rd.
The 3rd didn’t provide any relief for the stunned Blues as Zach Parise would show up again 1 minute into the period, making it 3-1 Minnesota. Switzerland’s Nino Niederreiter would seal the series with an empty netter at 18:03. Wild eliminate Blues in 6.
Canadiens vs Senators: Game 6
Left for dead a week ago, the Senators have battled back to a 3-2 series. Can they make it 3-3 and force a Game 7?
Like previous games (exception Game 5) goals were hard to come by and it literally took a swinging chance for Montreal to get on the board first. A first for the entire series too.
Brandon Gallagher would get tied up with Ottawa’s Zack Smith at the blue line and end up with his stick through his skate. The two would find a way to mutually separate without drawing any penalties, and Gallagher would head to the front of the Senator’s net. Greg Pateryn would fire a shot from the blue line, bouncing it off the chest of Gallagher, who spun around and batted the puck out of midair and put it past Craig Anderson.
Some believe that Zack Smith should have been called for Hooking earlier on the play, thus negating the goal, but the referees were determined to let these two teams play.
Both Montreal and Ottawa would end the 1st with 13 shots a piece, but Ottawa stood down one. The 2nd would be a resounding difference, with Ottawa outshooting the Canadiens 16 to 3, but no goals to show for it due to an early whistle that leave many, including Habs fans realizing that there appears to be some holes in the zebra’s game. Amazingly Senator’s Coach Dave Cameron keeps his cool.
The 3rd literally saw us repeat the 2nd with Ottawa outshooting the Habs 14 -4, but Price stood tall and refused to flinch during a late period onslaught that started with 1:30 left in the 3rd and continued until Max Pacioretty scored an empty net goal at 19:59 of the 3rd.
Montreal takes the series 4-2.
April 27th, 2015
Red Wings vs Lightning: Game 6
Again, back in Motor City, Detroit has an opportunity to move on to the second round. Early on, it just didn’t seem to go the Red Wings’ way. The Lightning were just proving to fast and early on the electric Tyler Johnson simply used his speed to gain a commanding position on Detroit’s Danny DeKeyser and snap a quick shot by Petr Mrazek.
Jason Garrison would score for Tampa again at 11:10 of the 1st on a text book pass from Steven Stamkos. Lightning up 2-0 at the end of the 1st.
The 2nd saw Tampa Bay’s Tyler Johnson make his mark again at 9:09 on a turnover by Kucherov who made an excellent defensive play to force the turnover. Lightning up 3-0
Detroit would eventually get on the board at 12:26 on a power play goal from Tomas Tartar. On a Slashing penalty to Victor Hedman, the Red Wings went on the power play and pretty much hemmed in the Lightning, not allowing them to clear the puck. Detroit began their cycle and found their opening.
Tomas Tartar would repeat again early in the 3rd at 1:39 quickly of the faceoff with a little fancy hand/foot coordination. Red Wings get within 1.
Tampa’s Alex Killorn would deliver the back breaker goal at 14:51 putting the lighting up 4-2 before Cedric Paquette would score for Tampa again shorthanded on an empty netter, effectively forcing Game 7.
Capitals vs Islanders: Game 7
The first of our Game 7’s, back at Verizon Centre in beautiful Washington D.C saw an epic back n ’fourth battle. The 1st ended uneventful and was even devoid of a penalty.
The 2nd also barren of penalties, saw Washington’s Joel Ward score off a backhand at 18:35 during a scrum in front of Islander goaltender Jaroslav Halak.
But the lead would not last; at 3:13 of the 3rd New York’s Frans Neilsen would squirt through a sneaky wrist shot to tie the game at one.
With time counting down, it almost seems as if we would see some Game 7 OT action, but Washington’s Evengy Kuzenetsov would score at 12:42 of the 3rd on the most patient of patient shots one could ever see. Kuzenetsov would figuratively suspend time before pulling the trigger on a wrist shot that would see the Washington Capitals move beyond the first round for the first time in 2 years.
April 29th, 2015
Red Wings vs Lightning: Game 7
Believe it or not, we’re at our final game of Round 1. The Red Wings have won all the odd games (1, 3 and 5) while the Lightning have taken the even (2, 4, 6). This game is literally anyone’s to take.
Period 1 was a shooting gallery for Detroit. The Red Wings purely laid the pressure on the Lightning, outshooting them 14-7 but they would only bend, not break. Ben Bishop put up a wall and showed he was up for anything the Red Wings could throw at him.
The 2nd was one of the best periods of hockey I’ve watched all playoffs. Both the Red Wings and the Lighting went back and forth at each other with speed and ferocity. There were stretches were I swear 5+ minutes actually went by with no whistle. But again, no goals to be had.
Tampa Bay’s Braden Coburn would put the crowd’s trepidation to rest when he unleashed a bomb at 3:58 of the 3rd from just inside the circle to the left of Mrazek. The puck would follow its laser line untouched to the top corner of the Detroit net. Tampa Bay leads 1-0.
Tampa would receive their insurance at 18:42 on Anton Stralman’s empty netter to lead the Lightning over the Red Wings 2-0. Ben Bishop would end the night on a shutout with 31 saves.