Before we get to the recaps, congrats to the Texas Stars for sweeping the Rockford Ice Hogs right out of the AHL Calder Cup playoffs and moving on to the second round! The Allen Americans also won game one of their CHL final against the Rapid City Rush to take a 1-0 lead in that best of seven... So even though the big club was a let down, Stars fans still can have some pride in Stars affiliates doing very well in their respective playoffs.
Montreal: 2 - Washington: 1 (Capitals Lead Series 3-2)
Suddenly the remaining eastern conference series are starting to look a little more intriguing and none more so than this one... The Caps had a chance to close out the series at home tonight and most of them didn't look interested in doing so which left Bruce Boudreau infuriated and flustered at his own team more than the refs for once. This game was pretty much over in the first two minutes with the Habs blitzing for a quick 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Michael Cammalleri and Travis Moen who put on a line with Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta in a bit of genius coaching by Jacques Martin. Wait... did I just mention that Jacques Martin made a great coaching move in the first round of the playoffs?! This really has been a crazy playoff run!
Buffalo: 4 - Boston: 1 (Bruins Lead Series 3-2)
That Buffalo lived to play another day was almost a secondary story based on what happened after the game when all kinds of tempers were lost and the biggest story was the instigator and game misconduct handed to Zedno Chara after Paul Gustad gave him a nice little love tap with his stick on the back of Chara's leg - while NHL rule dictates that Chara should get an automatic one game suspension for that instigator penalty within the last five minutes of the game, the NHL quickly announced soon after the game was over that no such action would be taken due to the fact Chara was reacting to the slash... In which case, shouldn't Gaustad get an instigator since he.. ya know.. started it? That's the NHL for ya.
Detroit: 4 - Phoenix 1: (Red Wings Lead Series 3-2)
Jimmy Howard is quickly proving to be a very capable playoff goalie stopping 30 of 31 shots tonight. The Coyotes I thought actually played fairly well but Detroit's depth is just too much for them. I'm still convinced - even more so after tonight - the biggest thing hurting the Coyotes is the absence of Shane Doan who sat out a second game. They now go back to Detroit and maybe the best news I can give Dave Tippett is that... Well, at least you're not having to rely on Marty Turco to win a must-win game at JLA.
Los Angeles: 2 - Vancouver: 7 (Canucks Lead Series 3-2)
I'll be honest about half way through the game - shortly after Mikael Samuelsson scored in the second period in fact - I checked out and switched to whatever Law & Order was closest on my TV dial because that at least was sure to have more drama than the rest of this game. But what I did see was exactly how I expected the Canucks to play from the start. Turns out Mikael Samuelsson was able to pull off a rare feat: He chases Jon Quick from the net in the second period and with his second goal in the third period he chased Erik Ersberg who proved to be an even worse option for the Kings only stopping two of four shots. While some of the series in the east look to be getting more interesting, it seems some of the series out west are looking more and more like done deals.