April 15, 2010
The opening night of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs featured three underdogs winning on the road and one team that might as well be the underdog winning at home.
The Philadelphia Flyers continued their mastery of the Devils thanks to stout defense. The Ottawa Senators took advantage of a subpar effort by Marc-Andre Fleury(notes) and hung on to win in Pittsburgh. The Colorado Avalanche surrendered a lead late in the third but scored with 50 seconds remaining to stun San Jose at the Shark tank.
Finally, the Coyotes outhustled, outmaneuvered and flat out-played the defending conference champion Red Wings in front of a boisterous sellout crowd in Glendale (including at least one snake and one flask).
The veteran defenseman, reacquired by the Coyotes at the trade deadline, had a point on all three Phoenix goals and the game-winning tally in their 3-2 victory over the visiting Detroit Red Wings. With the Coyotes on the power play, Morris had an unscreened shot on goalie Jimmy Howard(notes) (32 saves) and beat him.
In his first playoff start in eight years, Boucher made 23 saves in back of strong defensive support as the Flyers skated away with a 2-1 win at the New Jersey Devils. He played mistake-free hockey and made a few big stops to protect a one-goal lead late in the game. Impressive win for the Flyers, and a frustrating loss for the Devils.
After Ryane Clowe(notes) tied the game with in the third period, overtime appeared to be looming. But the Avs cycled in the San Jose zone, and rookie Stewart managed to send a shot towards the crease that deflected off the skate of Rob Blake(notes) and past Evgeni Nabokov(notes). Colorado stuns the Sharks, 2-1, creating a "here we go again" vibe in this series after Game 1.
Honorable Mention: Chris Kelly(notes) had a goal and two assists, while Chris Neil(notes) and Erik Karlsson(notes) both had a goal and as assist in the Ottawa Senators' 5-4 upset of the Pittsburgh Penguins at Mellon. ... Evgeni Malkin(notes) (2G, 1A) and Sidney Crosby(notes) (3A) had three-point nights. ... Ilya Bryzgalov(notes) made 38 saves for the Coyotes, who went 3-for-3 on the power play. ... Chris Pronger(notes) and Mike Richards(notes) had the Flyers goals. ... Craig Anderson(notes) had 25 saves for the Avs.
Dishonorable Mention: Marc-Andre Fleury made 21 saves in 26 shots in the Pittsburgh loss, giving up a few soft ones. ... Marty Brodeur gave up 2 goals on 14 shots. ... The Devils power play practically lost them the game, going 0-for-4 and faltering in key spots. ... Colorado outshot San Jose 12-3 in the second period at the Shark Tank.
Conn Smythe Watch: (The Top 10) 1. Ilya Bryzgalov, Phoenix Coyotes; 2. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins; 3. Brian Boucher, Philadelphia Flyers; 4. Craig Anderson, Colorado Avalanche; 5. Pavel Datsyuk(notes), Detroit Red Wings; 6. Chris Pronger, Philadelphia Flyers; 7. Chris Kelly, Ottawa Senators; 8. Paul Stastny(notes), Colorado Avalanche; 9. Derek Morris, Phoenix Coyotes; 10. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins.
(Ed. Note: For those unfamiliar with the Conn Smythe Watch, is a daily changing feature that takes into account current trends and performances as well as how deep certain teams could advance in the postseason. It changes very frequently.)