Everyone who thought the Eastern Conference Finals would be a short series probably was a bit surprised by last night's contest. The The Montreal Canadians team, that we had seen in the first two rounds, returned and beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-1 at the Bell Center.
All of the Hab's difficulties of the first two games disappeared as they solved the scoring problem and scored early and often and never really let the Flyers get a foothold. Joroslav Halak also returned to form and received much better support from his defense.
Michael Leighton, who had been unbelievable for the last three games, came back to earth and seemed very average. To be fair, he had bad breaks on a couple of the goals, but it was obvious that he was not at his best.
Saturday's game will be interesting as both teams make adjustments. Remember it is a day game at 2:00 CDT on NBC.
Tonight we will see if the San Jose Sharks still have any life in them after two home losses to the Chicago Blackhawks. Two days off had to be helpful to the Sharks as they were not able to keep up with the Hawks in the first two games.
The Hawks have played so well on the road in the postseason so they decided to stay in a Chicago hotel last night to emulate the road experience.
I have a feeling that the Sharks may make a brief comeback in one of the two games in Chicago, but I don't see them taking the series.
The game gets underway tonight at 7:00 p.m. CDT on Versus.
The field was cut in half at the World Championships on Thursday. The simi-finals are set for Saturday with Sweden playing the Czech Republic and the dominant Russian team playing the home-standing Germans. The winners meet on Sunday in the finals.
Yesterday. in the battle of current vs. past Pred goalies, Tomas Vokoun (Czech Republic) beat Pekka Rinne (Finland) 2-1 in a shootout. Pekka stopped 33 of 35 (including the shootout) while Vokoun stopped 29 of 30.
Germany continued their "Miracle" run with a 1-0 win over Switzerland to advance to the simi-finals for the first time since the current system was introduced in 1080.
Russia embarrassed Canada with a 5-2 win that deteriorated into a few frustrating events from Canadian players that were nothing that they could be proud of.
Sweden beat Denmark 4-2 in the other game leading up to the simi-finals.
The Calgary Hitmen will meet the host Brandon Wheat Kings tonight at 7:00 CDT on the NHL Network to determine who will play Windsor on Sunday night for the championship. Calgary beat Brandon 5-1 on Tuesday in the final round-robin game in a chippy game that should insure a good contest tonight.
Sunday's Championship game will be at 6:00 on the NHL Network.
Nashville Flood Relief NHL Tweet Up...
Mark at The View From 111 is starting to get some of the items listed at the eBay Giving Works site that has been set up for auctioning the items from around the league in conjunction with the Nashville Flood Relief NHL Tweet Up. Go here to check it out. Bid high, and bid often.
Mark also has news that the Blue Jackets Foundation is stepping up to help out with a generous contribution to the cause.
This guy has the first negative article I have seen about Nashville's Flood Relief efforts.
In Pred Nation...
The Cincinnati Cyclones are one win away from winning the Kelly Cup after a 3-2 comeback win over the Idaho Steelheads last night at U S Bank Arena, They return to the ice tonight at 6:30 CDT for game 5 with the Cyclones last chance to wrap it up at home. It is also been declared Cincinnati Cyclones day in the city so it would be great timing to end the season.
If the 2009-10 Predators were in a movie, who would play the coaching staff. Jim Diamond has the answers.
Paul McCann is really irritated with the hippocracy of the IIHF in their recent blasting of athletes for not playing in the World Championships as well as a few other topics that don sit well.
Curt Smith has glowing praise for the Pred's voice, Pete Weber.
Mark Willoughby still has time for his weekly View in the middle of the Tweet Up planning.
Dan Ellis is skating out for his summer rec league team and checks in. @dellis39: A little rusty 1 goal 3 assists in a 9-8 win over the yellow team. Great way to start the season!
Around the NHL...
The Flyers seem to think that Michael Leighton is their man of the future. He has certainly cut in to the chance that Dan Ellis would join the Flyers in the off season.
Before last night's game, Matt Reitz takes a look at what changed with the Habs in the Conference Finals.
Not only is Pat Hickey a good writer, he was almost a good investigator too as he thought that he had found the guy that vandalized his car and stole his license plate on Facebook. The liscense plate showed up on this guy's Facebook page but has since been taken down. They are closer to finding the perpetrator since the Facebook guy does know who took it.
Brian Burk called the IIHF writer who criticized players not playing "ignorant". He also suggested not having the world championship in Olympic years. That makes a lot of sense.
The Panthers are getting creative on the fact that they are having trouble selling seats. Our friend Vickey Godwin had a good rebuttal to the moves on Facebook, "I think this is one (or two depending on how you look at it) of the most awful ideas the Panthers management has ever come up with! Why would you 1. put those nasty, ugly, insulting covers over seats to only bring worse attention to the Panthers and their inability to sell out, when on TV for viewers to see, and 2.There is no price scale depending ... See Moreon interest in the game... it's an excuse and guise for the management to raise prices and find a reason to excuse behavior - threatening to raise prices to games that people already aren't attenting as frequently as they should is probably not the best strategy - but that's just my opinion... good luck!"
Michelle Kenneth has a few favorite moments from the past season.
From @NHLdilo: I am looking to hire a social media manager in NYC who excels at platform/partner + business development.
Condolences to the family of Lightning Defenseman Kurtis Foster who lost their infant daughter on May 10.
Steve Lapore has the history of playoff games on US TV dating back to 1993 and also has the lowdown on this weekend's NBC coverage.
Folks in Canada aren't happy with NBC moving playoff games to the daytime now that nicer weather has moved north.
Karma struck back after Lance Armstrong blasted Versus. He was accused of doping and then had a wreck in the Tour of California.
Light House Hockey takes a look at John Tavares and the Calder chances.
Pensburgh takes a look at next year's version of the Penguins.
Jeremy Roenick has hard feelings against the Hawks for his 1996 trade to Phoenix but still thinks they will win it all. I'm looking forward to his commentary during the finals.
The Point - Fantasy Edition on XM with Rob Higgins and Boomer Gordon is up at the Dearly Beloved site. You got to love a fantasy expert who is a rock star and vice versa.
Freddy Charles searches for the first European hockey player and gets a variety of answers.
Sports Fan Graph has interesting figures on social media followers by team across all major sports. Interesting stuff.
Blades of Funny has an interesting feature commenting on other stories.
Odds and Ends...
Mark Cuban takes a look at the potential of Google TV.
This is something Jackson needs. Free ACT prep material.
From @belcourt: The 7:45 screening of CASINO JACK on Friday will be the inaugural screening with our new seats in the 1925 hall. This is great that the improvements at the Belcourt are partially in place.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass