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Conference Finals: Game 1's

Philly thumps Habs 6-0

The Philadelphia Flyers handed the Canadiens a big loss, 6-0, in game one of the Eastern Conference Finals. Philly got goals from six different players and chased Jaroslav Halak after allowing 4 goals on 14 shots. Former Red Wings stud (har-har) Ville Leino had two assists in the game and has continued to look like a great fit for the Flyers team.

Travis Hughes of Broadstreet Hockey offers up this insight to the success:

The Flyers also did a great job of evading the Canadiens shot blockers. Montreal blocked more shots than anybody in the first two rounds, but the Flyers did a spectacular job in eliminating that threat, even though the Habs still blocked 20 of them. It's all about patience in the offensive zone, and the Flyers had plenty of it tonight.

That was pretty indicative of the game indeed. The Canadiens were great at blocking shots thus far in the playoffs and the way the Flyers opened up the passing and shooting lanes created some success and great scoring chances. Montreal actually outshot the Flyers 28-25 but Philly made the most of the chances given and have a 1-0 series lead. Game 2 is Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. on Versus.

Blackhawks edge Sharks 2-1

Chicago took a 1-0 series lead with a 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks in SJ. Dustin Byfuglien scored the game-winning goal at 13:15 of the third period as Antti Niemi stopped 44 of 45 shots from San Jose. San Jose had 5 or more shots from 5 players but Niemi was solid, giving Chicago a 1-0 lead.

McClure of Second City Hockey offers up this bit on the game's biggest factor:

Once again, Antti Niemi answered even more questions regarding his playoff readiness. After allowing a deflected shot on the power play from Jason Demers that it could have been argued that he should have had, he was an absolute rock in the crease, making numerous key saves, none bigger than a diving save on the ice sweeping the puck away with his left arm to save a goal.

That'll Cheech You of Fear the Fin offers up this positive note for the Sharks:

On the positive side, the Sharks did play well against one of the best defensive units in the game; the 45 shots taken is an impressive total, as it's the most allowed by the Blackhawks in these playoffs by 10. Yes, the Sharks gave up a good amount of shots as well, but Nabokov didn't have to make as many difficult saves as Niemi, and most of those shots were during yet another second period where the Sharks fell victim to a lull. The Sharks dominated play in the first and for much of the third; you have to believe that they will be able to solve Niemi going forward in the series.

The Sharks did play well offensively but ran into a stone wall in Niemi. If the pressure stays like this in favor of San Jose, will he be able to hold? That's not to say Nabokov didn't face his fair share of rubber though. "Nabby" faced 40 shots and stopped 38 of them in the losing effort. Game 2 is Tuesday at 10:00 p.m. on Versus.