Fantasy Recap: Apr. 8
By CHRIS NICHOLS -- SLAM! Sports
Ottawa 4 Toronto 2 (Ottawa leads series 1-0)
You just knew it was going to be one of those nights for the Leafs when Bryan Marchment deflected Ottawa forward Bryan Smolinski's pass into his own net -- and how cheap is it that Peter Schaefer and Greg DeVries got assists off that blooper? The Sens won this game in large part due to two studs coming through with a two-man advantage, as Wade Redden scored first and Marian Hossa (2-goal game) got the game-winner shortly after the first Leaf stepped out of the box... Ottawa had the number one power play unit in the regular season... Marian Hossa only had one point in six games vs. Toronto in the regular season.
Joe Nieuwendyk scored the opening goal of the game, keeping pace with his strong finish to the regular season (8G, 5A in his final 13GP)... Despite being the fourth-leading scorer on the Sens this season, Jason Spezza was a healthy scratch and sat in favor of fellow youngster Antoine Vermette...Martin Havlat had two assists Thursday night after finishing the season series against Toronto with six points in five games... Maybe the penalty calls were a bit slanted, but give full credit to the overall Ottawa team defense; they surrendered only 17 shots on Patrick Lalime... Lalime was good to go in this game, recovering from his knee strain.
Tampa Bay 3 New York 0 (Tampa leads series 1-0)
Freddie Modin finished the regular season with six goals in 10GP and he scored twice Thursday. It's interesting to note that Modin uses a wooden stick, as opposed to those composite jobs that break all of the time... Nik Khabibulin made 30 saves and so far it looks like the Lightning will get Great Khabi for this series instead of his alter ego, Can't Stop A Beachball Khabi, who sometimes rears his ugly head... Martin St. Louis won the scoring race, but he only had two shots with no points and he was in the penalty box twice Thursday... Dave Andreychuk didn't register any points in Game One, but you know he'll score a clutch goal before this series is over.
Philadelphia 3 New Jersey 2 (Philadelphia leads series 1-0)
Robert Esche has a message for his critics: shut your yaps. Esche made 37 saves - some spectacular -- in picking up his first win in his first playoff start... Keith Primeau is a great defensive player and physical presence for his Flyers team, but he also came through with a goal and an assist Thursday... Simon Gagne used his speed to scramble for a loose puck and beat Martin Brodeur to open the scoring... The potent LeClair/ Recchi/ Handzus line was shut out in Game One, but it's only a matter of time before they find the twine... Alex Zhamnov had a power play assist and you should absolutely expect more offense from the line of Zhamnov/ Amonte and Roenick... Joni Pitkanen was not going to play in Game One, but the injury to Eric Desjardins (Broken forearm) forced the hand of Ken Hitchcock.
The Elias/ Gomez/ Gionta line was smoking in the second half of the season and they connected for a goal in the third period... Last year's playoff sleeper, Jamie Langenbrunner, set up a goal by linemate Jan Hrdina 35 seconds later to get the Devils to within one... As expected, Scott Stevens is not available for action yet - but he could still return to face the Flyers...
San Jose 1 St. Louis 0 (OT) (San Jose leads series 1-0)
Jonathan Cheechoo is tied for second in the NHL with nine game winning goals, but it was fellow playoff newbie Niko Dimitrakos who came through for the Sharks Thursday night in overtime... Evgeni Nabokov was one of the top goaltenders in the league this season and he was perfect through almost four periods of play and 26 shots against to earn his second career playoff shutout... Chris Osgood had a really strong game, stopping 28 shots before letting in the last shot of the night...Scott Mellanby was a healthy scratch for this contest... San Jose failed to score on a power play with two minutes left in regulation after Keith Tkachuk went off for an obstruction penalty... Veteran Vincent Damphousse stumbled over the teeth of the big shark mouth that the team goes through before the game started, but thankfully for Sharks fans it was not an omen of things to come... Petr Cajanek is in a plum spot playing with Tkachuk and Pavol Demitra, so he could be a sleeper for those thinking STL will advance.