***** National Hockey League Previews from The Sports Network *****
Sunday, April 20th
(All times Eastern)
PHILADELPHIA FLYERS (0-1) AT NEW YORK RANGERS (1-0), 12 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Rangers hope to ride their home dominance
of the Philadelphia Flyers to a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference
quarterfinals when the teams get together for Game 2 on Sunday afternoon.
The Rangers posted a 4-1 win in the opener of the best-of-seven series
Thursday at Madison Square Garden, giving New York nine straight wins against
Philadelphia at home. The club's last loss in this series at MSG was back on
Feb. 20, 2011.
The Flyers hope to break their slump in Manhattan on Sunday before the series
heads to Philadelphia for Games 3 and 4. The Rangers were 0-2 in Philly this
season and have lost in their past three trips to the City of Brotherly Love.
New York controlled play for most of Game 1, but the score was tied 1-1
heading into the third period. The Rangers, however, seized a golden
opportunity when Philadelphia's Jason Akeson drew blood on a high stick
against Carl Hagelin, resulting in a four-minute power play for the home team
at 7:35 of the final period.
The Blueshirts scored twice off Akeson's double minor, with Brad Richards
scoring at 8:22 and Derek Stepan converting just 47 second later.
Richards posted a goal and two assists while Hagelin, Stepan and Mats
Zuccarello all lit the lamp for New York, which also got two assists from
late-season addition Martin St. Louis.
Henrik Lundqvist, meanwhile, only needed to stop 14 shots to pick up the win.
"I think we controlled play, didn't give them much," said Richards. "There was
no other thought than to keep controlling the puck and keep trying to get it
behind them. In a series sometimes having the puck and wearing them out can
benefit you later in the game."
With a three-point performance in Game 1, Richards already has tripled his
production from last season's postseason when he had one assist in 10 games.
Andrew MacDonald scored the only goal of the game for the Flyers, who played
with Ray Emery in goal due to an injury to No. 1 option Steve Mason. Emery
will get the call again in Game 2 with Cal Heeter serving as the backup, as
Mason isn't ready to return from an upper-body injury suffered April 12
Emery played well in defeat on Thursday, stopping 32-of-36 shots. The veteran
netminder fell to 20-16 in his postseason career.
"We've got to win one in here and we'd like to have that one but we'll be
refocused for the next one," said Emery. "We're confident that if we play the
way that we can play we can take them."
Philadelphia head coach Craig Berube is looking for a much better effort from
his top line in Game 2, as Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell and Jakub Voracek
combined for just two shots in the loss. Hartnell registered both shots and
also assisted on MacDonald's goal
"They didn't produce," Berube said. "They didn't shoot pucks, they didn't get
shots on net, didn't get an attack."
Giroux, who finished third in the NHL with 86 points this season, only had two
assists in four regular-season games against the Rangers in 2013-14.
This series marks the first time these rivals are meeting in the playoffs
since the 1997 Eastern Conference Finals, which the Flyers won in five games.
Philadelphia has won six of the 10 playoff series against the Rangers,
including three straight.
Game 3 is scheduled for Tuesday in Philadelphia, with the four meeting set for
DETROIT RED WINGS (1-0) AT BOSTON BRUINS (0-1), 3 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The first playoff meeting between the Boston Bruins and
Detroit Red Wings since 1957 was short on scoring, but it certainly didn't
lack for drama or controversy.
After surprising the top-seeded Bruins with a 1-0 win in Game 1, the Red Wings
hope to grab an early 2-0 lead when the Original Six rivals continue the
Eastern Conference quarterfinals Sunday afternoon in Boston.
Pavel Datsyuk's pretty goal with 3:01 to play was the first and only marker of
the game. The Russian superstar's great individual effort stood up for the win
thanks in part to the play of Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard, who outdueled
Boston's Tuukka Rask with a 25-save shutout victory. Rask stopped 23-of-24
shots to take the loss.
Detroit entered this best-of-seven series as the second of two wild cards in
the East and figured to face a tall task in playing the Presidents' Trophy-
winning Bruins on the road in Games 1 and 2. However, with a win in the
opener, the Red Wings, who are making a 23rd straight appearance in the
postseason, managed to snatch home-ice advantage away from the defending
Eastern Conference champions.
"Obviously you want to get in and you want to establish yourself in the series
especially when you're the lower seed," said Detroit head coach Mike Babcock.
"Sometimes when the upper seed gets the upper hand right away you start
questioning whether you're good enough. We know we're good enough but it's one
thing to know you're good enough and another thing to show you're good
After both teams went scoreless through two periods, Datsyuk finally recorded
a goal late in the third period.
Shortly after Howard kept Boston off the board with a tough stop on a Milan
Lucic tip down low, the Red Wings took the puck the other way and let Datsyuk
do what he does best.
Johan Franzen picked up the puck in his own zone and was able to push it
towards Datsyuk, who reached behind to pull the puck forward and skate into
the zone down the right side. Skating towards the middle and approaching the
left circle, Datsyuk used a screen to send a low wrister that went under the
glove of Rask and into the right side of the net for his 37th career playoff
"It was a great play and I've seen a lot of those over the years," said Bruins
forward Jarome Iginla of Datsyuk's goal. "Many guys have seen the highlights
but I've seen them up close. He doesn't need that many opportunities and he
made a great play there."
Of course, dropping Game 1 on home ice is never a good thing, but Boston,
which has made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in two of the past three seasons,
is no stranger to facing adversity in the first round.
Boston has gone the distance in the opening round in each of the past three
seasons. In fact, the Bruins blew a 3-1 series lead against Toronto last
spring in the conference quarterfinals and needed to overcome a 4-1 third-
period deficit in Game 7 just to get past the Maple Leafs.
The Bruins also beat Montreal four games to three in 2011 en route to its
first Stanley Cup title since 1972, but lost in seven the following season
"There weren't any secrets in tonight's game. Both teams played tight...don't
think there was any surprise out there today," said Boston head coach Claude
Julien. "Everybody's got to find a way to create more, and that's going to be
the challenge in this series."
While Datsyuk provided the late-game dramatics for Detroit, Lucic was the
center of controversy for the Bruins. Late in the second period, Lucic speared
Danny DeKeyser in the groin, whacking the Red Wings defenseman from behind
with his stick.
No penalty was called on the play but Lucic was fined $5,000 by the league on
Saturday. Although Detroit had the NHL's fourth-fewest penalty minutes (725)
during the 2013-14 regular season, all eyes will be on Lucic in Game 2 to see
if the Red Wings try to retaliate for the dirty play.
Lucic also was caught by cameras pulling a similar stunt against Montreal's
Alexei Emelin back in March, but Boston's power forward says it's not going to
become a habit.
"Obviously, it was kind of the heat-of-the-moment thing when you're not
thinking when you do something like that," Lucic told reporters after practice
on Saturday. "I've been in the league for seven years now and I think I've
only done that three times. I don't know why I did it, but it was the heat-of-
the-moment things that unfortunately I did. I believe in playing within the
rules and, for me, I definitely won't be heading down that road again."
This series is the first playoff meeting between the Bruins and Red Wings
since the 1957 Stanley Cup semifinals. The clubs, of course, spent decades
playing in opposite conferences before Detroit moved to the East as part of
the NHL's realignment plan for the 2013-14 season.
Game 3 of this series is scheduled for Tuesday in Detroit. The Red Wings also
will host Game 4 on Thursday.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (0-2) AT MONTREAL CANADIENS (2-0), 7 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - After failing to win in the first two games on home ice,
the Tampa Bay Lightning will try to dig themselves out of a hole on the road.
Down 2-0 to the Montreal Canadiens in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference
quarterfinals, the Lightning will try to pick up their first win of the series
Sunday in Game 3 at the Bell Centre.
Montreal claimed Game 1 at Tampa in overtime on Wednesday, earning a 5-4
victory after Dale Weise's OT tally. Friday's win, however, came much easier
for the Canadiens, who notched a 4-1 decision to carry a 2-0 lead in the
series back to Montreal.
Rene Bourque scored twice for the Habs in Game 2 and Carey Price stopped 26-
of-27 shots to anchor the Canadiens in the comfortable victory. David
Desharnais and Brendan Gallagher also scored while P.K. Subban supplied two
assists to the winning effort.
Despite holding a 2-0 lead before entering a home stretch in Games 3 and 4,
Bourque warned against overconfidence.
"That's probably going to be their biggest game of the series," said Bourque
of tonight's battle. "They're going to come out hard and we're going to have
to match their intensity."
Friday's three-goal margin of victory was rare for a meeting between the Habs
and Bolts. Including Game 1 of the playoffs, the clubs have gone past
regulation in four of six encounters since the start of the 2013-14 regular
Teddy Purcell scored the lone goal for Tampa in the Game 2 loss, while
starting goaltender Anders Lindback was pulled midway through the third period
after allowing three goals on 23 shots. Kristers Gudlevskis stopped 2-of-3
shots the rest of the way.
"You focus on Game 3. That's all you can control," said Lightning forward Ryan
Callahan after the clubs poor start at home. "These two are behind us. You go
win Game 3, it's a brand-new series. ... The odds are against us but we have
to go in there and show our character."
Tampa Bay has fared well in Montreal this season, posting a pair of close wins
at the Bell Centre in 2013-14. The Bolts earned a 2-1 shootout win on Nov. 12
and won by the same score in overtime on Feb. 1.
All told, Montreal was 23-13-5 as the home team during the regular season,
while the Lightning were 21-17-3 on the road. Game 4 is scheduled for Tuesday
at the Bell Centre.
With No. 1 goaltender Ben Bishop still out with an upper-body injury, it's
uncertain if Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper will go with Lindback or
Gudlevskis as the starter in Game 3.
Gudlevskis made his first NHL start late in the regular season and the 21-
year-old Latvian entered his first playoff game on Friday. However, the young
goaltender is no stranger to performing at a high level on the big stage, as
Gudlevskis showed when he came up with 55 saves in Latvia's 2-1 loss to Team
Canada in the quarterfinals of February's Sochi Olympics.
Tampa Bay could get rookie forward Ondrej Palat back in the lineup Sunday
after he missed Game 2 with an upper-body injury. The Calder Trophy candidate
expects to be a game-time decision for tonight's contest.
This is the second time the Canadiens and Lightning are meeting in the
postseason, with the Tampa sweeping Montreal in four games in the Eastern
Conference semifinals during its 2004 Stanley Cup championship season.
LOS ANGELES KINGS (0-1) AT SAN JOSE SHARKS (1-0), 10 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Kings hope to get off to a better start
in Game 2 at San Jose, as they try to even up the Western Conference
quarterfinals in Sunday's road clash against the Sharks.
San Jose claimed Game 1 on home ice by a 6-3 score, but that was after
carrying a 5-0 advantage into the third period. Los Angeles will try to build
off its strong finish in Game 1, as it attempts to avoid falling into an 0-2
hole before the series shifts to Southern California for Games 3 and 4.
Already holding a 1-0 lead after Joe Thornton scored just over three minutes
into the game, Tomas Hertl and Patrick Marleau tallied 48 seconds apart late
in San Jose's three-goal first period. Raffi Torres, playing in his first game
since March 8, added a goal in the second period and Marc-Edouard Vlasic made
it 5-0 later in the middle stanza.
After the Kings made their push in the third, Brent Burns sealed the win for
San Jose with an empty-net goal in the final minute of regulation.
Burns, Hertl and Vlasic each finished with a goal and assist, while James
Sheppard picked up a pair of helpers. Hertl, who had 15 goals and 10 assists
in 37 games during his rookie campaign this year, became the first player in
Sharks history to record multiple points in his postseason debut .
Antti Niemi recorded 31 saves for the Sharks, who were bounced from last
year's playoffs by the Kings in seven games in the conference semifinals.
"Obviously we're a little disappointed in the way we responded there (in the
third), but for the most part, it was a real good game on our behalf," Sharks
head coach Todd McLellan said.
Jake Muzzin, Trevor Lewis and Slava Voynov supplied the goals for Los Angeles,
which saw goaltender Jonathan Quick chased after giving up five goals on 28
shots. Martin Jones stopped all four shots he faced in relief for the Kings.
"It's a series and every chance you get to finish a check, rub a guy out, make
it harder on them, tire them down, it pays dividends later," Kings captain
Dustin Brown said of his team's play at the end of Game 1. "We needed a third
period like that."
Although Quick was pulled from Game 1, the proven postseason performer will
get the start in Game 2. Quick won the Conn Smythe Trophy when the Kings won
the Stanley Cup in 2012 and boasts a 29-22 record and a .927 save percentage
over 51 career playoff games.
In order to even the series at 1-1, Los Angeles needs to pick up a rare win at
San Jose's SAP Center. Including the playoffs, the Kings have lost 11 of their
last 12 games on the road against the Sharks. In last spring's playoff
encounter, the home team won every game, but unlike 2013, San Jose holds home-
ice advantage in this series.
The Kings will host Game 3 on Tuesday, with the fourth meeting set for
Thursday at Staples Center.
04/20 10:48:22 ET