Red Wings captain, Norris finalist, four-time Stanley Cup champion and still the best defenseman in hockey, Nicklas Lidstrom turns 41 today. He'll celebrate his birthday today much like any man in his mid-life will. He'll wake up about 2,500 miles from home and prepare for a 2nd-round playoff series. No word yet on what presents he's getting, but we know one thing he won't likely be receiving, and that's a shaving-cream pie to the face via the Red Wings' resident Birthday Bandit, Kris Draper. Draper, who has hit just about everybody on the team at one point or the other has specifically said that Lidstrom is the only one off-limits to his shenanigans (shanahanigans?)
Elsewhere around the league:
Boston defeated Montreal in overtime last night to win game seven of their first round series. They'll get Philadelphia next. While the Flyers are a better overall team than the Canadiens and will pose a bigger threat to Boston, the Bruins have to be a little bit relieved that there won't be a Carey Price-level goaltender facing them in round 2.
Tampa Bay completed the comeback last night and eliminated the Pittsburgh Penguins in a surprising 1-0 game. Fellow 41-year old Dwayne Roloson showed his worth in stopping all 36 shots the Penguins fired at him, including 9 on the power play. The Penguins will take the summer to take stock in the achievements they accomplished without two of their best players while the Lightning will get set to face the Capitals in round 2.
Nashville/Vancouver starts tonight: who are you rooting for?