2010 NHL Playoffs: Eastern Conference 1st round matchups

Thanks to the Devils’ win over the Buffalo Sabres, we can finally be
sure about the Eastern Conference playoff seeding. Let’s take a look at
the first round.

#1 Washington Capitals vs. #8 Montreal Canadiens
My goodness, this could be an absolute bloodbath barring a miraculous
performance by Montreal goalie Jaroslav Halak. The Canadiens are limping
their way into the playoffs, losing three in a row and going on a 3-4-3
streak in his last 10 games. Sometimes the simple stats tell
everything: the Canadiens are the only team in the postseason with a
negative goal differential (-6) while the Capitals sport an absurd +85.

2. New Jersey Devils vs. 7. Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers will be headed into the playoffs with Brian Boucher
getting them there down the stretch, although there’s a possibility that
Philly turns to Johan Backlund. With the emotion that Boucher is
playing with now, I can’t see how they give up on too quickly. That
being said, it’s going to a drawn out, defensive battle that definitely
favors the New Jersey Devils. This is what they acquired Kovalchuk for.

3. Buffalo Sabres vs. 6. Boston Bruins
This is a very, very interesting matchup. Three months ago,
this would have been a lock for the Sabres. Yet with Tuukka Rask in net
for the Bruins, anything is possible. This is going to be the
goaltending battle of the first round, with Ryan Miller doing his best
to once again magically carry a team to glory. Neither team has much
offense, so I’m expecting a number of overtime games. Since I said that,
that means the average score in each game will be 5-3.

4. Pittsburgh Penguins vs. 5. Ottawa Senators
I’m not going to be picking the series just yet, but I’m
completely up in the air on this series. The Senators had a run of
horrible games right after the Olympic break and looked to be falling
apart, but have pulled it together at the end of the season. The
Penguins, on the other hand, have some questions as they enter the
postseason in search of a second straight Stanley Cup. The Pens could
win in five, or the Senators could win in six. Hmm….

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    Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

    Connor Brown, Robin Lehner
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    They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

    The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

    In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

    The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

    Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

    The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

    McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.



    Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

    Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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    It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

    Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

    Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

    Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

    “Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

    Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: