Updates on Carey Price, the Sedins and Patrick Wiercioch, plus the latest on the Flames, Jets, Maple Leafs and Oilers.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens feel confident in any series with Carey Price as their goaltender.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As well they should, as Price is clearly the NHL’s top goaltender this season. However, he cannot do it on his own. If the Canadiens hope to win their first Stanley Cup title in 22 years, they must improve their offensive and defensive play. Of the teams which advanced to the second round, the Habs are the lowest-scoring team (sitting 15th in goals and power-play percentage), with the second-worst penalty kill while giving up the second-most shots-against per game. If those numbers don’t improve, Price will have to stage a playoff goaltending performance for the ages for the Canadiens to have a real shot at winning the Cup this spring.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks will open their second-round series against the Calgary Flames on Thursday, April 30.
CALGARY SUN: Randy Sportak lists five keys for the Flames to defeat the Ducks, which include shutting down the Ducks duo of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry and maintaining their solid special teams’ play.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I would add a sixth key: the Flames must use their speed to counter the Ducks’ physical play.
THE VANCOUVER SUN: Despite the shrill and sometimes bigoted criticism of the Sedin Twins, they remain an important part of the Vancouver Canucks. Both were once again among the top-15 in NHL scoring this season and dominated their shifts in the series against the Flames.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Part of the reason for the Canucks returning to the playoffs in the first year of their rebuild was because the Sedins had a bounce-back performance this season.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: Senators defenseman Patrick Wiercioch has been selected to play for Team Canada at the upcoming World Championships.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a nice honor for Wiercioch, who at times this season was thought to be trade bait before staging a solid second-half performance with the Senators.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets defensemen Tobias Enstrom and Adam Pardy recently underwent successful shoulder surgery.
TORONTO SUN: Several notable names are floating around as potential candidates for the vacant positions of Maple Leafs general manager and head coach. Among the possible GM candidates are LA Kings VP of hockey ops Mike Futa, Nashville Predators assistant GM Paul Fenton and former NHL GMs Joe Nieuwendyk and George McPhee. Potential coaching candidates include Detroit’s Mike Babcock, St. Louis’ Ken Hitchcock and San Jose’s Todd McLellan.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: A detailed look at the Edmonton Oilers depth chart.