This has turned out to be one hell of an exciting year for playoff hockey. In the second round we had three series go seven games and the other six, showing just how much of an even ground teams find themselves on once the postseason starts.
From last night:
Jonas Hiller was absolutely incredible in this series for the Ducks and did everything but stand on his head in game seven to give his team a chance to win.He stopped 36 of 40 shots in the game, including 16 in the first and 14 in third yet still came up short in the end.
Anaheim came back from deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 and played most of the third period with the game tied, before Dan Cleary batted a loose puck past Hiller with exactly three minutes remaining.
Hiller thought he had the puck frozen under his right pad, but replays from the goal cam clearly showed the puck was loose behind him. Cleary was able to push both Hiller and the puck enough to get it to slowly slide over the goal line.
It was a tough end for the Ducks, who had knocked off the #1 ranked San Jose in the first round and taken the #2 Red Wings to the limit in seven games.
This time, Jussi Jokinen didn't need to be the hero.
Instead, Scott Walker stepped up as the unlikely savior, knocking in a rebound out of mid-air in front of Boston goaltender Tim Thomas at the 18:46 mark of the first overtime.
It was vindication of sorts for Walker, who had taken an incredible amount of criticism and vitriol following his sucker punch of Aaron Ward earlier in the series. The league decided not to suspend Walker, despite established guidelines in the rule book. To his credit, Walker stood up to the media and took the public lashing while being completely honest about why he did what he did.
On top of the drama surrounding the winning goal-scorer, it was just an incredible game from start to finish. Both goaltenders were outstanding, making tough saves time and time again in valiant efforts to get their team the win.
So continues the "Cinderella" story of the Hurricanes, who are 25-11-2 in their last 38 games. After knocking off the New Jersey Devils in seven games in the first round and #1 ranked Bruins in the second round, the Canes will look to continue their incredible run against Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Later today we'll preview the upcoming Conference Finals.
Follow the jump for a final look at the second round of the NHL playoffs, as well as a rundown on we did on our second round picks. (Hint: not that great)
Brandon: Wings in six
Gravypan: ANA in 6
Derek: Wings in 6
Result: Detroit wins 4-3
Brandon: Canucks in seven
Gravypan: CHI in 7 (picking w/ my heart)
Derek: Hawks in 7.
Result: Chicago wins 4-2
Brandon: Bruins in six.
Gravypan: BOS in 6
Derek: Bruins in 6.
Result: Carolina wins 4-3
Brandon: Capitals in six
Gravypan: WAS in 7
Derek: Caps in 7
Result: Pittsburgh wins 4-3