Thursday featured two game threes. One would see a team take the lead in their series. The other could see a team, an eight seed at that, take a 3-0 series lead. What would happen? Also, what is going to happen Friday? Oh, have I got things to tell you.
The Devils won game two without Ilya Kovalchuk, but they got him back in game three, and they still had to be happy about that. However, the Flyers scored first, with Brayden Schenn lighting the lamp on the power play. Then, a few minutes later, Patrick Elias tied the game, with Kovalchuk getting an assist. A mere 20 seconds later, Kovalchuk scored a goal of his own.
In the second period, Matt Carle tied the game. In the third, Zach Parise gave the Devils the lead. Following that, Daniel Briere scored his eighth goal of the playoffs to tie the game, and we headed into yet another overtime. It’s been a big postseason for bonus hockey. Late in the first overtime, Alexei Ponikarovsky gave the Devils the win to give New Jersey the series lead. You know who got the lone assist on Jersey’s overtime goal? Kovalchuk.
Clearly, Kovalchuk made his presence known in his return to action. Martin Brodeur made 25 saves, while Ilya Bryzgalov made 27. Now, New Jersey has the series lead. The Flyers won their first series by scoring a ton of goals and relying on Marc-Andre Fleury’s struggles. Brodeur hasn’t struggled like Fleury, and Philly isn’t scoring as freely. It may be time for the Flyers to worry a bit, but they are still easily in this.
The Blues, down two games to none, got a player back of their own in elite blueliner Alex Pietrangelo. Would this get them their first series win? Well, in the first period, the lone goal went to Justin Williams. Then, in the second, Chris Stewart tied the game up. However, 40 seconds later, Dwight King gave the Kings the lead once more. It seems that anytime the Blues have had anything positive happen to them in this series, Los Angeles has quickly popped their balloon.
A Mike Richards goal made it 3-1. Early in the third, Stewart scored again to get the Blues within a goal. However, Drew Doughty would make it a two goal game again. The Kings won 4-2. They have a 3-0 series lead.
This was not a game with a lot of shots. The Kings had 22. The Blues had 20. It wasn’t a particularly good nght for Brian Elliott or Jonathan Quick. Also, this series is basically over. The Kings, as an eight seed, are very likely headed to the Western Conference Finals. They have played really well, and they have a great goalie. They could easy end up in the Cup Finals. They will want to end this series first, of course. This is no guarantee. It’s just practically a guarantee.
Also practically a guarantee? One hockey game on Friday. At 7:30 PM Eastern on NBC Sports, Nashville hosts Phoenix. The Predators got their first win of the series in game three despite not having Andrei Kostitsyn and Alex Radulov. The secret? Top notch goaltending from Pekka Rinne. If he can do it again, this series will be all tied up and that would be quite exciting. Perhaps exciting enough to make up for a possible sweep in the other series out West.
Who will get the win Friday? Will the Coyotes take the 3-1 series lead? Or will the Preds tie things up? Will everybody make curfew? Or will some players sneak out only to find Barry Trotz eating ice cream with an Icelandic woman? Tune in and find out. Enjoy.