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2010 Playoff Nightcap: Orange Crush

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Montreal: 0 - Philadelphia: 3 (Flyers Lead Series 2-0)

I know what you're thinking Habs fans...  

You're thinking that this is fine.  That being down 2-0 in the series is ok.  That having been shutout twice in a row in Philly by some goalie that a few months ago wasn't considered good enough to be a goalie for the Carolina Hurricanes is not an issue at all.  You're all telling yourself that all the Flyers did was just "hold serve" at home in a playoff series and that things will be much different in Montreal for games three and four.  That the offensive issues you're having will correct itself and that in all reality, if it hadn't been for a few things not going your team's way, it could just as easily be 2-0 for the Candiens and not the other way around.

And I'd agree with you Habs fans to a degree.  The Canadiens did look better in game two tonight than they did in game one and perhaps they deserved a bit better fate, but the Flyers defense is doing a masterful job of limiting second chances around Michael Leighton and everything else after that - the fact that the Habs had a better night in the faceoff dot, the matching of the Flyers physical play, the limiting of bad turnovers, the fantastic play of Brian Gionta who had eight shots in the game and was the best Hab on the ice...  None of that will matter if more pressure isn't put on the Flyers defense and the Canadiens can start crashing the net better.

Yes Canadiens fans, you can keep telling yourself that things will be much different now that your team will be home for game three.  I hope that goes better for you Habs fans than it did for one of my favorite pro sports clubs that was also down 0-2 to an orange clad club but looking forward to playing games at home.  That didn't turn out so well.

Chicago: 4 - San Jose: 2 (Blackhawks Lead Series 2-0)

For as bad as Montreal fans might feel after tonight, they do have one bit of small consilation to lean on:  They arern't San Jose Sharks fans.  The Sharks are now 0 and 5 at home in western conference finals games.  They are also heading to the Madhouse on Madison now down 0-2.

It's not looking good at all for team teal.

Just like the Canadiens, it's not like the Sharks are being grossly outplayed in this series.  San Jose was just as physical, they had more shots on net and they too perhaps deserved a bit better of a fate, but just like Philadelphia out east, the Blackhawks are clogging up the slot area of their zone very well and giving the Sharks little skating room and limiting the second chances that the Sharks have on Antti Niemi.

Jonathan Towes tied a Hawks record set by Stan Mikita for points in consecutive playoff games with a goal and an assist tonight and now has points in ten straight.  Say what you will about the goaltending on both teams currently leading their series, but for my money Towes should get some serious consideration for the Conn Smythe.  The Hawks themselves also have six straight road victories in the playoffs.

What can the Sharks do to turn the tide and get back into the series?  At this point, I don't know if they can.  Chicago is just a little bit faster, a little bit stronger, just as deep at both offense and defense and right now their goalie is making Evgeni Nabokov look like an amateur even though Nabby hasn't been overly poor himself in these playoffs - save for the long goal from just inside the blue line he gave up tonight.