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2010 Playoff Nightcap: Shark Chokes on Octopus; Both Perish.

Welcome to Defending Big D's coverage of the 2010 NHL Playoffs!  Against our rather loud protests outside the NHL office in New York, the NHL has foolishly decided to continue with these playoffs even though Dallas isn't involved.  Sometimes there is no justice at all...  Anyway, every night there is playoff hockey we will walk you through a quick run around of the NHL playoffs in hopefully an entertaining and enjoyable way.

There's no sense in burying the lead.

San Jose 0, Dan Boyle 1 (COL leads series 2-1)

The San Jose Sharks are looking tragically doomed by the hockey gods, or whatever god you like. There's cruel, and then there's what happened tonight. It's not even just the overtime un-earned goal either, it was the entire game. They dominated that game. They directed (SOG, blocked shots, shots that went wide) over 90 pucks toward Craig Anderson tonight and somehow were kept off the score sheet, then in overtime, in the irony of all ironies, the Avs don't need a single SOG to beat them?

I don't even remotely pretend to hide my bias in this series (or the one I'll discuss next) but even for someone who is vehemently rooting against the Sharks, I feel a tiny (tiny) bit sorry for them tonight.

Not that sorry, though. Tonight they demonstrated that they're clearly the better team, and it's the Avalanche that need to make the adjustments heading into game 4, where they'll have a gargantuan opportunity to really put their foot on the the Sharks throat.

Riveting stuff anyway, bizarre though it may be.

I made a crack on Twitter (@Defendingbigd) that probably shouldn't be repeated here.

...And here it is anyway: I wonder if Trevor Daley was taking notes on that overtime "goal"? Hello?

Colorado made some critical mistakes down the stretch in the third period that led to pretty egregious penalties that simply had to be called, even though no one wants to see special teams decide a scoreless game in the late stages like that. Those mental lapses are just one of the few things they'll have to clean up to have a chance going forward. They cannot count on their netminder to do that again.

The Sharks had a clever way of dealing with their unreliable netminder: Don't let the other team shoot. It nearly worked.

The Coyotes (let's rename them the Snakes?) 4 - Detroit 2. (Phoenix leads series 2-1)

The underdog Coyotes went about their business in a very different way than the Avs did, and shocked Detroit with a resounding 4-2 victory at the Joe.

What's that you say? They're not underdogs? I can't get that through my considerably thick skull.

Knowing Dave Tippett like we do, I imagine many of you watch this series the same way that I do: Constantly thinking "Ohhh Tipp's not going to like this stretch here one bit." There were a lot of those stretches in the first two games, and at times the Yotes tried to play a loosey-goosey up-tempo style with the Wings, complete with furious back and forth action. That is, of course, exactly what Dave Tippett wants to avoid, and I thought they did a better job of dictating the pace of the game and controlling the action today. Apart from some shaky stretches in the first period, that is.

The Shane Doan injury, whatever it is (undisclosed, day to day) could make or break this series going forward. I heard some talking head on NHL Network or Versus tonight say that Phoenix actually played better after he left the game. Even if that's true, I think it's an aberration. Though I hate the guy for being a huge Star-Killer, he's a phenomenal leader and a must-have in this series. If he misses extended time, it will hurt them tremendously.

Phoenix always seems to have an answer. Let's see if they can answer the invariably harsh first period the Wings will bring in game 4.

Chicago 2 - Nashville 0 (Series tied at 1)

Honestly, I didn't see all of this one, but what I did see fascinated me. Chicago was determined, and Niemi was good to quite good in the win, but it was Nashville that I watched with much curiosity. They seem to be sticking to their game plan, even when they got down in the second. They patiently wait for their chances, and even though it didn't work out for them tonight, I think they have a real good chance to do some damage at home. Mission accomplished for them and now they'll try to follow Colorado's example in game 3.

I don't care for their schedule much. Why are we having to watch 3 Western Conference games on the same night tonight, and again on Tuesday? There's too much delicious hockey to cram all these into one night.

And I'll add in one final take on the Pittsburgh-Ottawa game -- Brandon

Pittsburgh 4, Ottawa 2 (PIT leads series 2-1)

And I watched a little bit of this game on Sunday night.

This game was close through the first 22 minutes as Mike Fisher 's second period power play tally 1:53 in canceled out Alexei Ponikarovsky's marker 77 seconds into the game. From that point on, Pittsburgh methodically took over with goals from Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, in the final minute of the middle frame, to take a 3-1 lead.

And when you're a team as talented as the Pens and you can methodically take over a road game, it's pretty much over.

The game that is. I wouldn't be surprised if Ottawa came back and won Game 4 to even it back up. But I expect Pittsburgh to go on and win this series.