2010 NHL playoffs: Wednesday night's action

It’s that time of the year. Playoff hockey. 

It’s the second
season for the NHL, when 16 teams try for the chance to hoist that most
glorious of prizes in all of sports: Lord Stanley’s Cup.

eight teams kick off the 2010 NHL playoffs:

(5) Ottawa
Senators @ (4) Pittsburgh Penguins – 7:00 p.m. EDT (Versus, CBC, RDS)

– 0-0

If the Senators hope to have any kind of shot against
the Penguins, they’ll have to jump on them early in the series and shock
them with a game one win. The Penguins will be without Chris Kunitz
tonight, but Matt Cooke will be in the lineup after being knocked into
next week by Evander Kane.

(7) Philadelphia Flyers @ (2) New
Jersey Devils – 7:30 p.m. EDT (RIS, TSN, CSN-PH)

– 0-0

This is going to be one physical, drawn out series. Can
Brian Boucher keep the Flyers within striking distance, as they try to
crack the NHL’s stingiest defense? Can Ilya Kovalchuk justify his trade?
Will Dan Carillo ever shave that horrible mustache?

Detroit Red Wings @ (4) Phoenix Coyotes – 10:00 p.m. EDT (RIS, Versus,

Series – 0-0

It’s amazing how big
of an underdog the Coyotes are for this series. I guess it’s a case of
“well, you were good in the regular season but I’m not convinced yet”,
and unfortunately it’s true. When you’re facing the Red Wings, it’s
tough to say anyone going against them would be the favorite. Until the
prove it.

(8) Colorado Avalanche @ (1) San Jose Sharks –
10:30 p.m. EDT (CBC, Versus, RDS, ALT)

Series – 0-0

pointed out that the Sharks typically don’t choke until the second
round of the playoffs, so at least they have a shot against Colorado,

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    Leon Draisaitl continues hot streak with silky smooth goal (Video)

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    Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”

    Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).

    Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.

    Read more about his rise here.

    Video: Kuznetsov sets table for Vrana’s first NHL goal

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 27:  Jakub Vrana of the Washington Capitals poses for a portrait during the 2014 NHL Draft at the Wells Fargo Center on June 27, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
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    In his fifth NHL game, intriguing Washington Capitals prospect Jakub Vrana scored his first NHL goal (and point).

    Let’s be honest, though; Evgeny Kuznetsov deserves plenty of the credit, as he sent a fantastic pass for Vrana’s tap-in tally.

    See it for yourself:

    Even if that was mostly Kuznetsov, Vrana has been getting his chances so far.

    He generated four shots on goal in two separate occasions so far in his four games of NHL action, so maybe he was due for a chance like this.

    Considering he’s just 20 years old, the Capitals could get used to Kuznetsov to Vrana.

    Update: The Capitals won 4-1, and Vrana’s first goal wasn’t the only noteworthy “first.” After piling on shots, John Carlson finally scored his first goal of the season:

    Kulikov returns to increasingly healthy Sabres lineup

    CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 18: Dmitry Kulikov #77 of the Buffalo Sabres in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on October 18, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
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    No one’s going to confuse Dmitry Kulikov with Jack Eichel, but the Buffalo Sabres are likely happy to have him back after a long absence, too.

    The Sabres have been on an upward trend lately (5-2-2 in their last nine games), and now they get a key defenseman back against the Washington Capitals on Friday night.

    Kulikov last played on Nov. 9 and hasn’t recorded a point in 12 games, making for a tough start to his stint with the Sabres. Maybe he’ll begin to get a little more traction with his new team tonight?

    He’s far from the only returning Buffalo player, either, as Josh Gorges and Nicolas Deslauriers are also back in the mix. Kulikov is slated to be on the Sabres’ second pairing with Cody Franson.

    Buffalo sent Brendan Guhle to the AHL to make room for these tweaks.

    With Foligno out sick, Columbus gives Bjorkstrand another shot

    COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 13:  Oliver Bjorkstrand #28 of the Columbus Blue Jackets lines up for a face-off during the game against the Boston Bruins on October 13, 2016 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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    The Columbus Blue Jackets will be without captain Nick Foligno because of an illness on Friday, opening up an opportunity for interesting prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand.

    The team tweeted out his linemates as Matt Calvert and Lukas Sedlak as a solid fourth line facing the Detroit Red Wings.

    He failed to generate much (zero points, two shots on goal) in three games so far with Columbus this season, receiving about 25 minutes of ice time over that span.

    With eight goals and 12 points in 19 AHL games so far in 2016-17, there’s the thought that he could eventually make the next step to becoming a decent contributor for the Blue Jackets.

    Perhaps this will constitute his first real step in that direction?

    Apparently this is a pretty abrupt situation for the 21-year-old: