Tag: 2011 playoffs


Top 10 2011 Playoff Moments: Burrows buries Blackhawks


From Apr. 1-10, ProHockeyTalk will be counting down the Top 10 moments from the 2011 postseason.

Here’s No. 6 — Alex Burrows scoring a series-winning goal for Vancouver against its hated rival, Chicago.

On the morning of Apr. 18, all was well with the Vancouver Canucks. They woke up owning a commanding 3-0 series lead in their opening-round playoff series with Chicago, with goalie Roberto Luongo allowing just five goals over three games.

But eight days later — on the morning of Tues, Apr. 26 — the Canucks were a far different bunch.

They’d blown their seemingly insurmountable series lead in spectacular fashion — losing 7-2, 5-0 and 4-3 (overtime) — and even replaced Luongo in goal with Cory Schneider after Luongo got torched in Games 4 and 5.

The Canucks headed into the decisive Game 7 looking to exorcise their playoff demons and eliminate the team that had ended each of their last two seasons.

In overtime, Alex Burrows did exactly that:

After the game, Burrows told reporters winning the way they did was perfect for the Canucks.

“I think it feels even better getting it done this way,” he said. “We didn’t make it easy on ourselves.”

No, they certainly didn’t.


Top 10 2011 Playoff Moments: Philly stays alive

Top 10 2011 Playoff Moments: Roloson turns back the clock…and the Penguins

Top 10 2011 Playoff Moments: Preds win! Preds win!

Top 10 2011 Playoff Moments: Horton beats the Habs

Comparing PHT editor and reader predictions in the 2011 playoffs

Adam McQuaid; Raffi Torres
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Over the long haul, we all did pretty well with our predictions for the 2011 playoffs. There wasn’t a Cinderella team anywhere near the shocking level of the 2009 Montreal Canadiens or 2006 Edmonton Oilers to make everyone look silly. Instead, this year’s playoffs were like a class everyone did pretty well in all along … until final exams handed us C’s and F’s (except for one handsome/beautiful group of students). Hopefully that final test doesn’t wreck our overall grades, though.

Let’s take a look at how everyone did in the 2011 Stanley Cup finals and the 2011 playoffs overall.

2011 Stanley Cup finals

Boston Bruins (third seed in the East) vs. Vancouver Canucks (first seed in West)

Actual result: Bruins beat the Canucks 4-3
PHT readers pick: Bruins beat the Canucks 4-3 (22.83 percent)
Joe’s pick: Canucks beat the Bruins 4-2
Matt’s pick: Canucks beat the Bruins 4-2
James’ pick: Canucks beat the Bruins 4-1

First round records:

PHT readers: 5-3 (with two exactly correct)
Joe: 6-2 (with three exactly correct)
James: 8-0 (with two exactly correct)

Second round records

PHT readers: 1-3 (with one exactly correct)
Joe: 1-3 (with one exactly correct)
James: 2-2 (with none exactly correct)

Third round records

PHT readers: 1-1 (zero exactly correct)
Joe: 2-0 (with one exactly correct)
James: 2-0 (with none exactly correct)

Final round records

PHT readers: 1-0 (one exactly correct)
Joe: 0-1
Matt: 0-1
James: 0-1

Overall record

PHT readers: 8-7 (with four exactly correct)
Joe: 9-6 (with five exactly correct)
James: 12-3 (with two exactly correct)
Matt: 6-3 (with three exactly correct)

Pekka Rinne, Mike Fisher help Predators dismantle Ducks 4-1

Pekka Rinne, Bobby Ryan

The Nashville Predators gave up a pretty nice package to acquire two-way center Mike Fisher from the Ottawa Senators, but they’ll be glad they did it if Mr. Carrie Underwood keeps belting out great tunes. Fisher scored two goals and one assist while Pekka Rinne stopped 27 out of 28 shots to power the Predators to a dominant Game 1 road win against the Anaheim Ducks.

Nashville 4, Anaheim 1; Predators lead 1-0

As red-hot as the Ducks came into the playoffs, the Predators seem like an especially tough matchup for Anaheim. Nashville has strong goaltending, a stingy defense and a nice group of low-profile, versatile forwards.

Even if this win was somewhat predictable, the actual one-sided nature of the outcome was a bit startling.

Shea Weber began the scoring, Steve Sullivan made it 2-0 and then Fisher took over with two more goals. Teemu Selanne did what he does best by scoring on the power play midway through the third period, but by then it was just about preserving some dignity.

Dan Ellis had a rough game against his former team, getting pulled early in the third period after allowing four goals on only 24 shots. Ray Emery actually filled in for Ellis, stopping all six shots in relief. Is this a sign Emery could step in full-time if needed?

Rinne didn’t get a shutout like Marc-Andre Fleury or Roberto Luongo tonight, but he was still impressive against the Ducks. It was a relatively “easy” win for Nashville, but chances are good that they haven’t seen the best of Anaheim just yet.

Roberto Luongo blanks Blackhawks, Vancouver wins 2-0

Roberto Luongo
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When people talk about the greatest success of the greatest regular season in Vancouver Canucks franchise history, they usually point to the Sedin twins (especially Daniel Sedin) and possible Selke Trophy winner Ryan Kesler.

One player who surprisingly slips under the radar a bit is goalie Roberto Luongo. The big Canucks goalie suffered through a tough campaign last year, but he bounced back in a big way without the weight of being a captain on his shoulders. Luongo didn’t just lead the league in wins with 38 (largely a team-based stat), he also produced an excellent 92.8 save percentage.

If his contributions to Vancouver’s best-ever season weren’t clear enough, he provided a compelling example of how great he’s been, standing on his head to stop all 32 of the Chicago Blackhawks’ shots tonight.

Vancouver 2, Chicago 0; Canucks lead 1-0

At one point in this game, it seemed like Luongo’s performance wouldn’t be that important. The Canucks galloped to a 2-0 lead midway through the first period as Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen, which obviously ended up being all the goals Vancouver needed.

That’s not to say that Chicago’s attack was totally impotent, despite the score. While the Blackhawks received plenty of luck in getting into the playoffs in the first place, they didn’t get many lucky bounces in this game, as their shots hit at least four posts in the game.

Corey Crawford couldn’t earn the win, but the ‘Hawks rookie kept his team in the game by stopping 31 out of 33 shots. He made some big saves especially once the score was 2-0, giving Chicago at least a shot at a comeback.

It was not to be, though, as Vancouver got their first win out of the way. It was an intense and entertaining game, as the Canucks took the physical part of the game to the Blackhawks by out-hitting them 47 to 21. That’s a wise strategy since Chicago faced an exhausting stretch run to make the playoffs and tend to lean heavily on their best players with little help from depth guys.

The Canucks are still three wins away from getting this deep dish pizza-sized monkey off their backs, but Luongo & Co. look hungry to do just that.

Alexes Semin and Ovechkin briefly silence critics as Capitals beat Rangers 2-1 in OT

Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin
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Almost anyone eager to criticize the Washington Capitals for their playoff troubles will blame their defense, goaltending and two star Russian wingers: Alexander Semin and Alex Ovechkin.

Whether it’s their carefree attitudes, perceived lack of production* or the simple sports writing formula of “Team doesn’t win = player is a choker,” there are many hockey people who revel in the “failures” of Semin and Ovechkin. Those people probably weren’t very happy with the results of Game 1, as Ovechkin tied the game up in the third period while Semin scored the overtime game-winner and assisted on Ovechkin’s tally as well.

Washington 2, NY Rangers 1 (OT); Capitals lead 1-0

This was the tight-checking, rugged defensive game that some assumed would be too much for Washington. Anyone who’s been following this team during the 2010-11 season (rather than leaning on outdated opinions) would know that they’ve grown quite a bit in that area, something they showed by grinding out a tough win against a resilient team.

The first two periods went without a goal as Henrik Lundqvist and Michal Neuvirth kept both teams off the board. Matt Gilroy finally gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead about two minutes into the third period, followed by that video-reviewed Ovechkin goal at the 13:44 mark. The game then went into overtime, putting greater pressure on the Capitals.

It looked like that pressure would increase that much more as the two teams slugged it out deep into the first (and only) overtime period, but Semin scored a resounding goal with about a minute and a half left to win it for Washington. Marc Staal is a great defensive defenseman, but he coughed up the puck to Jason Arnott, who made a nice play to keep the puck in the Rangers’ zone before setting up Semin’s winner.

Lundqvist made 33 saves in the game, often frustrating the Capitals shooters with his world-class netminding, but it wasn’t enough. Neuvirth had a comparatively easy night, passing his first test as Washington’s No. 1 goalie by stopping 24 out of 25 shots.

Obviously, it’s erroneous to judge an entire two month playoff schedule by one night of action, but Wednesday’s game does force the question: is it time to take Semin and Ovechkin seriously? If they keep it up, their detractors will have to eat some playoff crow.

* Semin has 26 points in 29 career playoff games, while Ovechkin has a whopping 41 in 29. They might not have blemish-free games, but calling them chokers seems downright silly.