Top 10 2011 Playoff Moments: Sharks clip Wings

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

Here’s No. 5 — San Jose avoiding an epic collapse to beat Detroit in Game 7, advancing to its second-straight Western Conference final.

After the Vancouver Canucks nearly blew a 3-0 series lead in their opening round matchup with Chicago, most figured it would be a cautionary tale — that the next team to build a seemingly insurmountable lead would learn from Vancouver, and not let the opponent hang around.

The San Jose Sharks didn’t get the memo.

After racing out to a three games to none lead on Detroit in Round 2, the Sharks proceeded to drop three in a row — 4-3, 4-3 and 3-1 — setting up a dramatic Game 7 at HP Pavilion.

Stress the word “dramatic”:

In the end, it was Patrick Marleau scoring the game-winner to push San Jose to its second Western Conference finals in as many years. A fitting hero, given Marleau was called “gutless” by Jeremy Roenick following Game 5.

“For him to end up with the winning goal was pretty special for our team and for him,” coach Todd McLellan said. “I think the monkey may be off his back for the next series. … He was a difference maker tonight.”


Top 10 2011 Playoff Moments: Burrows buries Blackhawks

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

PHT Predicts: Penguins vs. Lightning – Who do you have?


All right so there’s probably not going to be any Sidney Crosby and there definitely won’t be Evgeni Malkin, but the Penguins have Jordan Staal and Marc-Andre Fleury still and they did nearly win the Atlantic Division. They’ll be matched up against the phenomenal Steve Stamkos, diminutive star Martin St. Louis, and the venerable Vincent Lecavalier in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

With Fleury matching up against Dwayne Roloson for Tampa Bay and the Lightning bringing the bulk of the star power in this series, we’re left wondering just who you’ve got in this series. Here’s how we’re looking at things.

James says:
The Penguins have been impressive and resilient this season, but I just don’t know if they can grind out four wins against the Lightning. Only the Vancouver Canucks scored more power play goals than the Lightning in 2010-11 while Pittsburgh is all the way in 19th place. My guess is that the Bolts will get some crucial “easy” goals on the man advantage and will use their superior scoring depth against the star-starved Penguins.

Is Marc-Andre Fleury so superior to Dwayne Roloson that Pittsburgh can overcome those disparities? I’ll guess that the answer is “No.”

It’s the Lightning in 6, while Martin St. Louis stands up and asks, “So why exactly don’t I get Hart Trophy attention? Are voters Heightists or something?”

Matt says:
In one corner we have a team that has been through the battles—on the other, we have a team that has two players who have won a cup and a line-up full of youngsters.  I’m a big believer in the idea that a team has to learn how to play in the playoffs and this looks like it could be a learning experience for a lot of the guys in Tampa Bay.  The Penguins went to the Cup Finals two seasons in a row until last season—when a weak defensive corps couldn’t hang when the games got tougher in the playoffs.  Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek should fix that; the Pens will be able to sneak by on the strength of their defensive game this time.

The Lightning will learn lessons for next year, but Penguins in 5.

Joe says:
Tampa has the dangerous offense and the streaky goalie. Pittsburgh has the stingy, rugged defense and the playoff-tested lights out goalie. I like a lot of what Tampa Bay has but I don’t know that they can hang with the Penguins in what should be a knockdown, drag-out series. Penguins in 7.

What say you faithful PHT readers? Think we’re playing favorites with the Pens or downplaying the Lightning? Vote in our poll and let us know.

Sideshow Bobrovsky: Flyers goalie shows off new Simpsons-inspired mask for playoffs


While most players are busy growing out the playoff beard for the postseason (unless you’re Patrick Kane, then it’s time for the mullet) Flyers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is new to the whole NHL playoffs thing. While the rookie goalie had a huge year in leading Philadelphia to the Atlantic Division title and the two seed in the Eastern Conference, finding a new way to show off for the playoffs can be difficult.

For a goalie, changing up the mask can be a sign of trying to change your luck or mixing up your superstitions, but Bobrovsky is going in another direction for inspiration. He’s going with Sideshow Bob. The tormentor of Bart Simpson adorns one side of Bobrovsky’s new lid just in time for the playoffs and as CSN Philly’s Sarah Baicker showed us on Twitter, it’s truly a glorious sight to behold.

Bobrovsky’s new mask also shows off Philadelphia folk hero Rocky Balboa on the other side adorned in the US flag, arms raised like the champion he was (belt or no belt) in six five movies. (Rocky V never happened, you hear me?!)

Going with Rocky on the helmet is obviously a nod to Philadelphia in itself but we’re just a little disappointed that the Russian netminder didn’t sneak in some love for Ivan Drago in Rocky IV just for fun. After all, this is the guy who had a fighter jet on his mask during the regular season, so why not just go all out with the sweaty, menacing mug of Dolph Lungdren as well?

As it stands, the only thing getting in the way of Bobrovsky now is either Apollo Creed or many carefully placed rakes. We’re thinking he doesn’t have to worry about any of those finding their way on the ice. Fortunately for Bobrovsky, there’s no one named Bartholomew on the Sabres to pester him in the first round of the playoffs.

(Thanks to Sarah Baicker from CSN Philly for sharing the photos via Twitter.)

2011 Stanley Cup playoffs first round schedule

With the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs set to kick off on Wednesday, it’s only right for you to know when the action is all going down for the first round. The first round of the playoffs also sees NBC getting into the action on the weekends with four games picked out and provided a couple of series go deep, we’ll have two straight weekends filled with intrigue.

The opening weekend of the playoffs, NBC will carry Game 2 of the Detroit-Phoenix series at 1 p.m. ET from Detroit on Saturday April 16. The next day, Game 3 of the Washington-New York series from Madison Square Garden in New York City at 3 p.m. ET. The following weekend will see a possible Game 5 from Washington for the Caps-Rangers series at 3 p.m., while Sunday could see a Game 6 between Buffalo and Philadelphia from HSBC Arena in Buffalo at 3 p.m. ET.

You’re not here to read us blather on with the introductions, you want to see the schedules. Here’s how things play out for each series. Any game that is set to be aired on NBC will be in bold type and italicized. All times listed are Eastern.

(*-if necessary)

Eastern Conference

1. Washington vs. 8. New York

Wed. April 13 Game 1: @Washington 7:30 p.m.
Fri. April 15 Game 2: @Washington 7:30 p.m.
Sun. April 17 Game 3: @New York 3:00 p.m.
Wed. April 20 Game 4: @New York 7:00 p.m.
*Sat. April 23 Game 5: @Washington 3:00 p.m.
*Mon. April 25 Game 6: @New York TBD
*Wed. April 27 Game 7: @Washington TBD

2. Philadelphia vs. 7. Buffalo

Thu. April 14 Game 1: @Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.
Sat. April 16 Game 2: @Philadelphia 5:00 p.m.
Mon. April 18 Game 3: @Buffalo 7:00 p.m.
Wed. April 20 Game 4: @Buffalo 7:30 p.m.
*Frid. April 22 Game 5: @Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.
*Sun. April 24 Game 6: @Buffalo 3:00 p.m.
*Tue. April 26 Game 7: @Philadelphia TBD

3. Boston vs. 6. Montreal

Thu. April 14 Game 1: @Boston 7:00 p.m.
Sat. April 16 Game 2: @Boston 7:00 p.m.
Mon. April 18 Game 3: @Montreal 7:30 p.m.
Thu. April 21 Game 4: @Montreal 7:00 p.m.
*Sat. April 23 Game 5: @Boston 7:00 p.m.
*Tue. April 26 Game 6: @Montreal TBD
*Wed. April 27 Game 7: @Boston TBD

4. Pittsburgh vs. 5. Tampa Bay

Wed. April 13 Game 1: @Pittsburgh 7:00 p.m.
Fri. April 15 Game 2: @Pittsburgh 7:00 p.m.
Mon. April 18 Game 3: @Tampa Bay 7:30 p.m.
Wed. April 20 Game 4: @Tampa Bay 7:30 p.m.
*Sat. April 23 Game 5: @Pittsburgh TBD
*Mon. April 25 Game 6: @Tampa Bay TBD
*Wed. April 27 Game 7: @Pittsburgh TBD

Western Conference

1. Vancouver vs. 8. Chicago

Wed. April 13 Game 1: @Vancouver 10:00 p.m.
Fri. April 15 Game 2: @Vancouver 10:00 p.m.
Sun. April 17 Game 3: @Chicago 8:00 p.m.
Tue. April 19 Game 4: @Chicago 8:00 p.m.
*Thu. April 21 Game 5: @Vancouver 10:00 p.m.
*Sun. April 24 Game 6: @Chicago 8:00 p.m.
*Tue. April 26 Game 7: @Vancouver TBD

2. San Jose vs. 7. Los Angeles

Thu. April 14 Game 1: @San Jose 10:00 p.m.
Sat. April 16 Game 2: @San Jose 10:00 p.m.
Tue. April 19 Game 3: @Los Angeles 10:30 p.m.
Thu. April 21 Game 4: @Los Angeles 10:30 p.m.
*Sat. April 23 Game 5: @San Jose 10:30 p.m.
*Mon. April 25 Game 6: @Los Angeles TBD
*Wed. April 27Game 7: @San Jose TBD

3. Detroit vs. 6. Phoenix

Wed. April 13 Game 1: @Detroit 7:00 p.m.
Sat. April 16 Game 2: @Detroit 1:00 p.m.
Mon. April 18 Game 3: @Phoenix 10:30 p.m.
Wed. April 20 Game 4: @Phoenix 10:30 p.m.
*Fri. April 22 Game 5: @Detroit 7:00 p.m.
*Sun. April 24 Game 6: @Phoenix TBD
*Wed. April 27 Game 7: @Detroit TBD

4. Anaheim vs. 5. Nashville

Wed. April 13 Game 1: @Anaheim 10:30 p.m.
Fri. April 15 Game 2: @Anaheim 10:30 p.m.
Sun. April 17 Game 3: @Nashville TBD
Wed. April 20 Game 4: @Nashville TBD
*Fri. April 22 Game 5: @Anaheim 10:00 p.m.
*Sun. April 24 Game 6: @Nashville TBD
*Tue. April 26 Game 7: @Anaheim TBD

Peter Laviolette names Sergei Bobrovsky Flyers starting goalie for playoffs

When the Flyers were able to get Michael Leighton clear from re-entry waivers to rejoin the team today, many Flyers fans began to fret and worry about what that could do to the goaltending set up. After all, Leighton carried the Flyers into the Stanley Cup playoffs while Brian Boucher carried part of the load in the playoffs.

With curiosity piqued and Flyers fans scurrying for answers while the team goes through a slide at the end of the season, coach Peter Laviolette is calming nerves today by naming rookie Sergei Bobrovsky the team’s starter for the playoffs. Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post Online gets the story from the Flyers head man.

“Our playoff starters are set. In Game One., Bob’s going to start and Boosh will back up. They’ve been great all year. They’ve been terrific.”

Bobrovsky, 22, is 28-13-7 with a 2.51 GAA and .917 save percentage.

“Paul (Holmgren) made the decision yesterday was the time for (Leighton) to come back up here,” Laviolette said. “He gives us more depth in that spot with his experience. But to start the playoffs, Bob will be the guy in net.”

As we saw last year, guys without a history in the Stanley Cup playoffs managed to do really well with Antti Niemi ultimately helping Chicago win it all as a first-year starter. Bobrovsky’s a bit younger than Niemi (by five years) and going with a guy who’s not even 23 years-old yet as your main man in goal seems a bit risky.

Running with a virtually unknown entity in goal in the playoffs is nothing new for Philly. They did so last year with Leighton and Boucher and will do it again with Bobrovsky and Boucher with Leighton waiting in the wings in case of trouble. It’s good to have that cushion for sure, but if things turn ugly early on, it’s a breeding ground for panic decisions and one way or another, the Flyers will have their hands full in the playoffs be it against the Rangers, Buffalo, Montreal, or Tampa Bay.

In “Bob” they trust for now, but after rotating guys all season, don’t be shocked if he gets the hook if he’s intimidated by the setting.