April 23, 2010
It was 10 years ago that Boucher and Flyers blew a 3-1 series lead to the New Jersey Devils. This time, despite missing Simon Gagne(notes) and Jeff Carter(notes), the Flyers closed out the Devils with a 3-0 win in Game 5. Boucher continued his hot postseason making 28 saves to eliminate New Jersey. Claude Giroux(notes) scored twice in a two-minute span in the second period to knock the wind out of the Devils' sails.
With their season on the line, Ottawa relinquished a two-goal lead to the Pittsburgh Penguins and then evened things up just over a minute later to force overtime. Actually, three overtimes. Behind Leclaire's 56 saves and Matt Carkner's(notes) winner 7:06 into the third overtime, the Senators forced a Game 6 Saturday night in Ottawa. It was the longest game in Ottawa's franchise and the second longest game in Mellon Arena.
Niemi continued his up and down playoffs posting another shutout coming off a loss to Nashville. In Game 2, Niemi made 23 saves in a Chicago win and Thursday night he stopped 33 shots as the Blackhawks evened their series with the Predators with a 3-0 win. Patrick Sharp(notes) scored his first two goals of the postseason and Jonathan Toews(notes) scored his first in the win.
Honorable Mention: Ottawa dominated Pittsburgh in the "blocked shots" category 46-17 ... San Jose continued bouncing back from the devastating Dan Boyle(notes)/Ryan O'Reilly goal from Sunday night with their second straight win to take a 3-2 series lead against Colorado. Logan Couture(notes) scored twice and Patrick Marleau(notes) potted his first of the playoffs in the 5-0 victory. Evgeni Nabokov(notes) made 28 saves ... Sidney Crosby(notes) scored his fifth goal tying Henrik Zetterberg(notes), Nicklas Backstrom(notes) and Mikael Samuelsson(notes) for the playoff lead ... Ian Laperriere(notes) deserves an award for not only being the most fearless and toughest shot blocker in the NHL, but also because his poor face has taken a beating this season. Lappy took another puck to the face against New Jersey tonight suffering a broken nose and needing approximately 60-70 stitches. After two incidents that opened his face, Laperriere said he would wear a visor for now on.
Dishonorable Mention: Craig Anderson(notes) has been fantastic against San Jose, but in Game 5 he was not his best allowing four goals on 29 shots before being replaced by Peter Budaj(notes) in the third period ... While being ousted from the first round for the third year in a row, the Devils went 0-for-9 in on the power play, with some being cut short because New Jersey took penalties of their own.
Conn Smythe Watch: 1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins; 2. Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings; 3. Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals; 4. Joe Pavelski(notes), San Jose Sharks; 5. Mikael Samuelsson, Vancouver Canucks; 6. Drew Doughty(notes), Los Angeles Kings; 7. Mike Richards(notes), Philadelphia Flyers; 8. Craig Anderson, Colorado Avalanche; 9. Zdeno Chara(notes), Boston Bruins; 10. Evgeni Malkin(notes), Pittsburgh Penguins.