Flyers present different challenge for Boston Bruins

Carcillo4.jpgBoston Bruins vs. Philadelphia Flyers
12:30 p.m. EDT, May 1, 2010
Live on NBC

The Philadelphia Flyers needed a shootout in the final game of the
season just to make the playoffs, yet needed just five games to
eliminate the 2nd seeded New Jersey Devils. With some opportunistic and
timely offense, along with some surprising goaltending from Brian
Boucher, the Flyers enter their second round matchup with the Boston
Bruins as a team confident and rested.

They also present a bit of
a different challenge for the Bruins, who had a surprising series win
of their own against the Sabres. The Flyers are a much more physical
team than the Bruins were able to be in the first round, who will be
able to keep up with the brutality the Bruins can show at times —
especially on defense.

While the Flyers will never be mistaken
for a top-notch offensive team — and the loss of Jeff Carter and Simon
Gagne will certainly hurt — they’ve been able to use strong
forechecking and a crash the net mentality to be incredibly successful
against one the best defensive teams in the NHL.

The Bruins also
didn’t have to deal with a player of the likes of one Dan Carcillo. He’s
not going to single-handedly beat any team, but his physicality and
energy spark the rest of his team and he’s been able to score some
timely goals of late for the Flyers. Compared to the Flyers skating
behind Carcillo, the Sabres were a rumbling and stumbling team that
resembled hockey players sleepwalking on ice skates.

The question
is, especially without Carter and Gagne, is whether the Flyers have the
firepower left to get past the goaltending of Tuukka Rask. The Flyers
can certainly bring the wood and put forth a tremendous forecheck, but
do they have the talent level needed to negate the defense and
goaltending that has worked so well for the Bruins of late?

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    Wideman’s suspension appeal will be heard in New York City on Wednesday

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    Dennis Wideman‘s appeal for his 20-game suspension will take place in New York City on Wednesday, per ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

    The 32-year-old has already served two games for his hit on linesman Don Henderson (above).

    Gary Bettman will be the one to decide if Wideman’s suspension should be reduced. If the Commissioner decides not to reduce the suspension to six games or less, the Flames defenseman will have the right to be heard by a neutral arbitrator.

    Earlier this week, Wideman apologized publicly for the incident, but maintained that he never intended to hurt Henderson.

    “I feel awful about what happened,” the Flames defenseman said after he was suspended 20 games.

    “I feel really bad about the whole situation. The last seven days have been tough. Never in my career have I ever disrespected, or done anything like this, to an official.”

    When the suspension was handed down, the league said Wideman was diagnosed with a concussion after the game, but they aren’t using that as an excuse in this case.

    “It is accepted for the purposes of this decision that he was later diagnosed as having suffered a concussion,” the NHL said. “However, that fact even accepted as true, cannot excuse Wideman’s subsequent actions.”

    The Ducks look pretty mighty right now after six consecutive wins

    Anaheim Ducks v Los Angeles Kings
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    In what should be a disturbing trend for every other team in the Pacific Division, the Anaheim Ducks have now won six consecutive games, and eight of their last 10.

    After dominating the shot clock for pretty much all of Friday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes, the Ducks completely took over on the scoreboard in the third period. It seemed like only a matter of time before a breakthrough would occur.

    Just 24 hours after beating the L.A. Kings, the Ducks earned a 5-2 victory over the Coyotes.

    Ryan Kesler has eight points in his last six games. Corey Perry has seven points in his last six games. Patrick Maroon, who had only eight points all season prior to Friday, had a three-point night versus Arizona.

    Again. Bad news for every other team in the Pacific.

    The Ducks now have a three-point lead over the Coyotes for third place in the division. They’re one point back of second-place San Jose and eight back of division-leading L.A.

    As for everyone else, more specifically the Canucks, Flames and Oilers, well it might be time to start focusing more on the upcoming trade deadline and, beyond that, the draft.

    The Ducks had a terrible start to this season, one that started with so much hype about a team seen as an immediate Stanley Cup contender for 2015-16.

    Count Corey Perry as one who believes those early season struggles could pay off at playoff time.

    And remember all of that talk in October about Bruce Boudreau perhaps at the end of his days as coach of the Ducks?

    At the end of October, GM Bob Murray vowed to be patient despite such a poor start just a few months after being one win away from the Stanley Cup Final last June.

    There is still plenty of hockey remaining in the regular season. The Ducks have 32 games remaining on their schedule. But it appears that patience Murray showed in October is paying off.

    Jets can’t complete the comeback after miserable start against Hurricanes

    Colorado Avalanche v Winnipeg Jets
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    WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) Phillip Di Giuseppe, Andrej Nestrasil, Jordan Staal and Justin Faulk scored in the first period, and the Carolina Hurricanes held on for a 5-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night.

    The Hurricanes scored four times on their first nine shots, taking a 4-0 lead just 10:04 into the game. Nestrasil added another goal in the third period, and Cam Ward made 33 saves. Staal and Joakim Nordstrom each had a pair of assists.

    Alexander Burmistrov, Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler scored for Winnipeg.

    Jets rookie Connor Hellebuyck allowed three goals while facing only six shots before being replaced by Michael Hutchinson after Staal’s power-play goal just 4:33 in. Hutchinson, who hadn’t played since a 4-1 loss in Anaheim on Jan. 3, finished with 21 saves.

    The loss wrapped up Winnipeg’s season-high six-game homestand, which included just one victory.

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    Carolina’s first goal came after the Jets turned over the puck and Di Giuseppe scored on a sharp-angled shot at 1:43.

    Hellebuyck then kicked out a bad rebound and Nestrasil tallied his 16th goal of the season in his 100th NHL game from almost the same angle at 3:05.

    With Byfuglien in the penalty box for delay of game, Staal’s shot beat Hellebuyck, ending the young goalie’s night.

    Faulk made it 4-0 when his team’s third shot at Hutchinson went between his pads at 10:04.

    The Jets came out at a faster, more aggressive pace to start the second period and it paid off with 1:25 remaining.

    Andrew Copp and Chris Thorburn were battling a pair of Hurricanes behind the net when Thorburn poked the puck out front as he was falling and Burmistrov got his sixth goal of the season.

    Ladd, who hit the post late in the second period, banged home a rebound with Hurricanes winger Jeff Skinner off for hooking at 9:07 of the third.

    Byfuglien one-timed a pass from Nikolaj Ehlers that Wheeler deflected to make it 4-3 with 6:12 remaining.

    Nestrasil sealed the win with his second goal at 18:40.

    NOTES: Ehlers’ assist extended his point streak to six games, with four goals and four assists. … Winnipeg heads out for a two-game road trip starting in Colorado on Saturday. Carolina visits Montreal on Sunday.

    Video: Zatkoff robs Condra with sprawling paddle save

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    All Erik Condra had to do was lift the puck off the ice.

    He didn’t, and as a result, he was robbed by sprawled out Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Jeff Zatkoff, who made a spectacular desperation save with the paddle of his stick on the Lightning forward.

    The save occurred just past the midway point of the third period. That kept the Penguins in the game, down by a goal at the time.

    However, the Penguins couldn’t get the equalizer. The result was a 6-3 loss for Pittsburgh, as Tampa Bay scored twice later in the period.