It's a big day in the NHL. We could be looking at seeing 3 more teams eliminated tonight, and we will know who the Red Wings will be facing in Round 2.
Think the Bruins have learned their lesson from last year? They always say that the fourth game is the hardest to win, and the Bruins learned that very painful lesson a year ago when they blew a 3-0 series (and 3-0 Game 7) lead to the Philadelphia Flyers. Tonight, they can erase that bitter memory by beating the Canadiens in Montreal after forging an impressive comeback of their own. It's interesting to note that the last team to lose the first 2 games at home and then win the series went on to win the Stanley Cup (the 2006 Hurricanes, who beat these same Canadiens in the first round).
We will also witness one of the greatest things in sports: Game 7. Last year, it was Wing fans who were the nervous wrecks as we waited to see whether the Wings would advance past the first round. This year, we get to sit back and just enjoy 2 Game 7s tonight. The first is in in Philadelphia, where noted mass murderer Mike Richards will be trying to lead his team into the second round over the Buffalo Ryan Millers. Ville Leino (what?) saved the Flyers season when he scored in OT in Game 6. That series has been a battle in every sense of the word; the only thing that's left is for each side to dig trenches.
The game that actually matters (albeit indirectly) for Wing fans occurs on the Left Coast. The Blackhawks try to become only the 4th team ever to rally from a 3-0 series deficit, and they hope to do so against the Presidents Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks. To call what the Canucks have done a "collapse" is an understatement: after leading the series 3-0, they have been outscored 16-5 over the last 3 games. I'm at the point that I actually expect the Hawks to win, and a small part of me won't mind seeing that (a feeling that leaves me very upset with myself). For those unaware, a Canucks win and the Wings will get a rematch against the Sharks; a Hawks win and it's a series against the Predators.
TV: CBC, NHLN, NESN
Probable starters: Tim Thomas (BOS) vs Carey Price (MTL)
(2) Philadelphia Flyers vs (7) Buffalo Sabres - 7:30 PM EDT
TV: TSN, VERSUS, MSG-B, CSN-PH
Probable starters: Brian Boucher (PHI) vs Ryan Miller (BUF)
(1) Vancouver Canucks vs (8) Chicago Blackhawks - 10:00 PM EDT
TV: CBC, VERSUS, CSN-C
Probable starters: Roberto Luongo (VAN) vs Corey Crawford (CHI)
I don't have a real dog in any of these fights. I'm just hoping for at least one of the Game 7s to go multiple OTs.