Blackhawks eliminate Predators, Islanders push Capitals to Game 7, Red Wings push Lighting to brink of elimination, and much more.
Game Recaps and Playoff Headlines.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES/THE TENNESSEAN: Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith scored for the Chicago Blackhawks as they rallied from a 2-0 first-period deficiti to defeat the Nashville Predators 4-3 to win their best-of-seven opening-round series in six games. Corey Crawford replaced Scott Darling in the ‘Hawks net after the latter gave up three first-period goals. James Neal scored twice for the Predators.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators have a bright future but they were no match for the Blackhawks depth and experience. Losing captain Shea Weber to a lower-body injury was a serious blow to their hopes in this series.
NEWSDAY/THE WASHINGTON POST: The New York Islanders forced a seventh and deciding game in their best-of-seven series against the Washington Capitals with a 3-1 victory Game Six victory in front of a raucous crowd at Nassau Coliseum. Jaroslav Halak made 38 saves while Nikolay Kulemin tallied the game winner midway through the third period. Game Seven goes Monday in Washington.
THE DETROIT NEWS/THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: The Detroit Red Wings have pushed the Tampa Bay Lightning to the brink of elimination with a 4-0 victory in Game Five, taking a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven series. Riley Sheahan, Drew Miller, Pavel Datsyuk and Danny DeKeyser scored for the Wings while Petr Mrazek made 28 saves for his second shutout in this series.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings are poised to pull off a significant opening-round upset. The Lightning were the NHL’s highest-scoring team this season but they’re firing blanks against the Wings, who’ve done a tremendous job shutting down the Bolts’ best scorers. The Lightning are clearly a frustrated team who seemingly have no answer for Detroit’s defensive game.
NOTE: Games involving Canadian NHL teams are recapped in “Canadian Corner.”
NEW YORK POST: Mats Zuccarello is reportedly okay after being struck in the head with a puck during the New York Rangers elimination of the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks backup John Gibson (upper-body injury) seems on track to return for his club’s second-round series against the Calgary Flames.
Other Notable Headlines.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins’ forward Milan Lucic’s father died unexpectedly in Vancouver on Wednesday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Lucic and his family.
SPORTSNET: The Philadelphia Flyer reportedly have former Edmonton Oilers coach Dallas Eakins among their list of candidates for their vacant head coach position.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some fans might chuckle over that, but Eakins might do a better job with a deeper pool of talent to work with compared to what he had in Edmonton the past two years.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Former NHL enforcer Mike Peluso penned a piece about his struggles with post-concussion symptoms and other injuries suffered during his playing days.