Sharks sweep the Canucks, the Canadiens and Wild teeter on the brink of elimination, the Islanders even their series with the Penguins, and much more.
MERCURYNEWS.COM/VANCOUVER SUN: A controversial penalty in overtime on Canucks forward Daniel Sedin led to Patrick Marleau’s series-winning goal as the San Jose Sharks downed the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 to sweep the series 4-0. It was the first time in Sharks history they’d swept a playoff series.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yes, it was a tough loss for the Canucks, but had they played better throughout this series, they wouldn’t have found themselves in that position in Game Four. A lack of offensive production and a struggling penalty kill finished the Canucks, who had no answer for the Sharks offense and close checking.
OTTAWA CITIZEN/MONTREAL GAZETTE: A Kyle Turris shot deflected off defenseman Raphael Diaz past Peter Budaj as the Ottawa Senators rallied from a 2-0 deficit to nip the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in overtime, pushing the Habs to the brink of elimination heading back to Montreal for Game Five. It was a tough loss for the Canadiens, from Mika Zibanejad’s controversial goal to Carey Price and Brandon Prust suffering lower and upper body injuries, leaving them questionable for Game Five.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens outplayed the Senators for most of this game, but inexplicably sat on their two-goal lead in the third (the Senators outshot them 13-4), and a late defensive breakdown led to the game-tying goal by Cory Conacher.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE/TWINCITIES.COM: Patrick Sharp scored twice as the Chicago Blackhawks blanked the Minnesota Wild 3-0 to take a 3-1 series lead heading back to Chicago for Game Five. Wild goalie Josh Harding was knocked from the game after the first period with an apparent injury to his left leg.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild fans will wonder if the outcome might have been different if Harding hadn’t been injured, but that shouldn’t take anything away from the Blackhawks effort, as they are poised to finish this series on Thursday on home ice.
NEWSDAY/PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Mark Streit, Casey Cizikas and Brad Boyes each had three-point nights as the NY Islanders won a wild one over the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-4 to even their best-of-seven series at two games apiece. The Penguins loss has given rise to speculation Tomas Vokoun will get the start in Game Five, as Marc-Andre Fleury has struggled with each passing game. It was a costly win for the Isles, however, as defenseman Andrew MacDonald suffered a broken hand, sidelining him for the rest of the postseason.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury has given up 40 goals in his last ten playoff games. The Penguins have no choice but to turn to Vokoun.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Struggling Ducks star Corey Perry (1 assist against the Detroit Red Wings) hopes to improve his production.
DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings need more from their third and fourth lines if they’re to defeat the Ducks.
STLTODAY.COM: Though the series is now tied, the Blues remain confident as their series against the LA Kings heads back to St. Louis for Game Five.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Panic has been stricken from the Kings vocabulary.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Defending Stanley Cup champions rarely panic.
BOSTON HERALD: Bruins forward Jaromir Jagr is getting healthier and so is his line’s production.
NEW YORK POST: Rangers center Brian Boyle has regained his playoff magic.
WASHINGTON POST: The Capitals hope to cut down on their penalties in their series against the NY Rangers.
NHL.COM: The Buffalo Sabres yesterday announced interim head coach Ron Rolston was taking over as their full time head coach.