Tag: 2011 semifinals

Andreas Nodl, Tim Thomas

Eastern Conference semifinals: Bruins-Flyers; Who do you have?


(Share your thoughts about which team will win the Lightning-Capitals series here, the Predators-Canucks series here, the Red Wings-Sharks series-here and the Stanley Cup in this post.)

After appearing in the most eagerly anticipated first round series against the Montreal Canadiens, the Boston Bruins find themselves in the juiciest second round match as well. The Bruins will face approximately five billion questions about last year’s collapse against the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers as they prepare for the formidable 2011 model.

Just about anyone with a vague interest in playoff hockey knows that the Flyers dealt with a bizarre three goalie carousel in the first round. What you might not realize is that Brian Boucher was actually quite excellent at times as he amassed a 4-1 record with an outstanding 93.4 save percentage and 2.10 GAA. Even so, the driving force behind Philly’s first round win was their fearsome offensive attack. While the squad boasts waves of talent including Mike Richards and Claude Giroux, post-lockout leading scorer Danny Briere stole the show with six goals in just seven games. If that wasn’t enough, Chris Pronger actually looked pretty good in Game 7, skating for more than 17 minutes and collecting an assist.

The Bruins come into this series with more than a few questions, even if they defeated their historical rivals. Tim Thomas was great against the Habs, but he’ll have to be even better in Round 2. Ryan Miller got the best of Philly a couple times, but they ultimately broke him down. Boston’s defense is a little bit better at the top, but looked shaky in other areas (especially disappointing trade acquisition Tomas Kaberle). Can they deal with the Flyers’ depth in a best-of-seven series?

The B’s received surprising contributions from the Rich Peverley-Chris Kelly-Michael Ryder line, but they need more from Milan Lucic and a whole lot more from their anemic power play. A scoreless PP might cut it against the offensively shallow Habs, but that won’t fly against the Flyers’ firepower.

So what do you think? Will Boston get revenge against Philly for that epic 2010 collapse or will the Flyers bully the big, bad Bruins? Let us know by voting in the poll below.

Eastern Conference semifinals: Lightning-Capitals; Who do you have?

Alexander Semin, Victor Hedman, Steven Stamkos
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While the Western Conference semifinals were clear to us by Tuesday (Predators-Canucks; Red Wings-Sharks), the East’s second round wasn’t determined until Dwayne Roloson completed his shutout against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Now that we’re aware of which four teams will square off in the East, everyone can draw sides.

The Washington Capitals were supposed to cruise their way to yet another Southeast Division title, but the Tampa Bay Lightning held the top spot for a healthy portion of the 2010-11 season. Eventually the Capitals adjusted to their new, balanced system and took their title back, though. They also asserted their dominance over the Lightning, going 4-1-1 against Tampa Bay.

The Capitals didn’t miss many beats in their first round playoff series against the New York Rangers, either. That’s not to say that it was as easy as the 4-1 series record would indicate, but it was still a shining example of their renewed commitment to defense. The Capitals’ oft-criticized stars Alex Ovechkin, Mike Green and Alexander Semin came up big and their rookie netminder Michal Neuvirth seemed perfectly comfortable in high-pressure moments.

Meanwhile, the Lightning were in a very different situation. They found themselves down 3-1 to the Penguins but managed to win all three elimination games. It wouldn’t be wise for Tampa Bay to fall into such a hole against the Caps, but at least they know they can fight back from the brink of premature vacation. Martin St. Louis was his typical brilliant self (eight points against Pittsburgh) and Roloson’s first round output might make him the best low-risk high-reward trade acquisition of the season. Steven Stamkos started to ramp up his game toward the end of the first round, but Tampa Bay probably hopes that he will try to one-up Ovechkin in this series.

Both teams have plenty of firepower, with the Bolts being a bit less proven (beyond a handful of vets) while the Capitals must deliver under intense pressure. Which team do you expect to win and how many games will they need to get it done? Let us know in the poll.

2011 Stanley Cup playoffs second round schedule

Detroit Red Wings v San Jose Sharks

Let’s make no mistake about it; the first round of the 2011 playoffs is going to be tough to match. There were nine straight nights with at least one overtime game, including two Game 7’s that went beyond regulation. Those eight series featured plenty of comeback wins and high-pressure hockey.

For a quick preview of the 2011 semifinals, click here. Now let’s look at the game-by-game schedules for the four series that will take place in the second round, with a note for any contests that will be covered by Versus or NBC. (For information regarding TV schedules in Canada, click here.)

Included: Date, where the game will take place, start time and channel (if applicable). Italics indicate “if necessary” and TBD means to be determined. All start times are according to Eastern Standard Time (ET).

Important Note: Some games might be joined in progress on Versus and this schedule is subject to change.

Eastern Conference semifinals

1. Washington Capitals vs. 5. Tampa Bay Lightning

Game 1: Friday, April 29     at Washington, 7:00 p.m.     VERSUS
Game 2: Sunday, May 1     at Washington, 7:00 p.m.     VERSUS
Game 3: Tuesday, May 3     at Tampa Bay, 6:30 p.m.     VERSUS
Game 4: Wednesday, May 4     at Tampa Bay, 7:00 p.m.
Game 5: Saturday, May 7     at Washington, 12:30 p.m.     NBC
Game 6: Monday, May 9     at Tampa Bay, TBD     VERSUS
Game 7: Wednesday, May 11     at Washington, TBD     VERSUS

2. Philadelphia Flyers vs. 3. Boston Bruins

Game 1: Saturday, April 30     at Philadelphia, 3:00 p.m.     NBC
Game 2: Monday, May 2     at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.     VERSUS
Game 3: Wednesday, May 4     at Boston, 7:00 p.m.     VERSUS
Game 4: Friday, May 6     at Boston, 8:00 p.m.
Game 5: Sunday, May 8     at Philadelphia, 3:00 p.m.     NBC
Game 6: Tuesday, May 10     at Boston, TBD     VERSUS
Game 7: Thursday, May 12     at Philadelphia, TBD     VERSUS

Western Conference semifinals

1. Vancouver Canucks vs. 5. Nashville Predators

Game 1: Thursday, April 28     at Vancouver, 9:00 p.m.     VERSUS
Game 2: Saturday, April 30     at Vancouver, 9:00 p.m.     VERSUS
Game 3: Tuesday, May 3     at Nashville, 9:00 p.m.     VERSUS
Game 4: Thursday, May 5     at Nashville, 8:30 p.m.    VERSUS
Game 5: Saturday, May 7     at Vancouver, 8:00 p.m.     VERSUS
Game 6: Monday, May 9     at Nashville, TBD     VERSUS
Game 7: Wednesday, May 11     at Vancouver, TBD     VERSUS

2. San Jose Sharks vs. 3. Detroit Red Wings

Game 1: Friday, April 29     at San Jose, 10:00 p.m.     VERSUS
Game 2: Sunday, May 1     at San Jose, 3:00 p.m.     NBC
Game 3: Wednesday, May 4     at Detroit, 8:00 p.m.
Game 4: Friday, May 6     at Detroit, 7:00 p.m.     VERSUS
Game 5: Sunday, May 8     at San Jose, 8:00 p.m.     VERSUS
Game 6: Tuesday, May 10     at Detroit, TBD     VERSUS
Game 7: Thursday, May 12     at San Jose, TBD     VERSUS

2011 playoffs: Second round matchups

Tuukka Rask, Simon Gagne

Now that the Eastern Conference finally caught up with the West tonight, we finally know which teams will face each other in the second round of the 2011 playoffs. In case you weren’t already aware, the NHL is wise to reward its higher seeds (well, technically it’s a reward) by re-seeding after each round. Let’s get to the matches, with some quick thoughts for your enjoyment.

(Want to know the schedule for the second round games? We’ve got you covered right here.)

Eastern Conference semifinals matchups

1. Washington Capitals vs. 5. Tampa Bay Lightning

Quick thoughts: Much like the Montreal-Boston series, this is a clash between two teams who fought for a division title this season. The Capitals ended up winning the Southeast Division and also the series. (Washington won three times in regulation and once in a shootout, Tampa Bay won once in regulation and once in overtime). Bruce Boudreau’s bunch is well-rested and has home ice advantage, but the Lightning have far less pressure to succeed.

2. Philadelphia Flyers vs. 3. Boston Bruins

Quick thoughts: If you think the Bruins got that elimination game monkey off their backs with that OT win against the Montreal Canadiens, you’re dead wrong. Boston will face question after question (and their fans will see replay after replay) of that collapse from a 3-0 lead against the Flyers in 2010. Then again, maybe the best way to address your demons is by facing them eye-to-eye. They’ll get that opportunity in what should be an intriguing second round series.

Western Conference semifinals matchups

1. Vancouver Canucks vs. 5. Nashville Predators

Quick thoughts: The Canucks once again find themselves with all the pressure to succeed against the underdog Predators. That doesn’t mean that Nashville is likely to play the “happy to be there” role, even if this is their first exposure to the second round of the playoffs. Expect a physical series, especially since the Preds wouldn’t be wise to attempt matching Vancouver’s dangerous offense.

2. San Jose Sharks vs. 3. Detroit Red Wings

Quick thoughts: This is a rematch of their 2010 second round playoff series – a series the Sharks won in five exciting games – but there are a few key differences this year. This time around, San Jose is coming off a challenging six games against the Los Angeles Kings while Detroit quickly swept the Phoenix Coyotes out of the playoffs. The Sharks face some questions in net, which isn’t a great situation to be in considering the Red Wings’ high-powered offense. In other words, it should be an awfully interesting series, especially since the Sharks seem like a more resilient (and deeper) team than they were last year.