There was some pretty good line dancing going on in the NHL playoffs Friday.
Vancouver’s top line of Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Alex Burrows had a nice night, combining for five points before an appreciative, clapping and stomping crowd in a 4-3 victory over Chicago.
But they didn’t get to celebrate nearly as much as the Anaheim line of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan. They totalled eight points in a 5-3 win over Nashville.
The paycheques stop coming at the end of the regular season, but this is the time of year the big players earn their keep.
In Vancouver and Anaheim, such was definitely the case on this night.
STARTS AND STOPS: Who cares why Bruce Boudreau called a timeout with his team leading by two and under five seconds to play? It had to bother John Tortorella almost as much as Larry Brooks does ... Marc-Andre Fleury was nearly as bad Friday as he was good in Game 1. The Marty St. Louis goal was unforgiveable ... You had to like the Sean Avery plan, in theory. Getting super pest in the lineup after sitting him in seven of the previous 14 games was sure to give the Rangers a boost of energy. It didn’t work, of course, but it was a good idea ... The announcers called it a “double stack” and “swim” move. They said it was a classic example of “old time” hockey. What else is a 41-year-old Dwayne Roloson going to play? ... The “O” in O’Canada was starting to take on a new meaning. The Americans teams in the Stanley Cup playoffs were looking at it as a “zero”. That’s how many goals the two Canadian clubs had given up through more than two and a half nights of Round 1 before the Blackhawks finally solved Roberto Luongo late in the middle period Friday.
BETWEEN PERIODS: As Jim Hughson so aptly put it, now it’s time for the Canucks to “muffle the Chelsea Dagger.” But hopefully we get to hear that good tune a couple of times, anyway ... Vinny Lecavalier doesn’t get the press Marty St. Louis or Steven Stamkos get. But he was excellent in Game 2, and with Lecavalier playing the type of all-round game he can, the Bolts will be tough to put down .., Things might have turned out differently for the Penguins had Mark Letestu’s second period backhand gone in instead of clanging off the post. That effort, of course, did not count as a shot on net. But Letestu did have seven of those to lead his team. That Mark Letestu led the team in shots on goals speaks volumes of the state of the Penguins.
DIDN’T YOU WONDER?: Why Ruslan Fedotenko wasn’t given what might have been the first ever tripping penalty (on Alex Ovechkin) before the opening faceoff? ... If Glen Sather realizes he has that unlit cigar in his mouth? ... Who was wearing Eric Brewer’s jersey Friday night? The big defenceman had only two points in 22 games with Tampa during the regular season. In Game 2, he had a goal and two assists to earn first star nomination ... If the Canucks also play shuffleboard? In the final minute, two of them sent the puck down the ice with just enough tempo that they weren’t called for icing. Their touch was perfect.
THINGS I THINK I THUNK: All you need Saturday is for the Detroit-Phoenix 1 p.m. matinee to go into a period of overtime and you’re looking at 12 consecutive hours of playoff hockey. Do the chores Sunday. When there’s only 480 minutes (3-11 p.m.) of wall-to-wall action ... The Caps jersey, the haircut, the fist pump, the facial features - was that Donald Brashear singing the anthem before the Caps-Rangers game? ... Chris Cuthbert said that Matt Bradley was going to “be headed off” after taking a penalty. That’s rather harsh punishment for charging, isn’t it? ... Still waiting for the fans of another playoff team to come up with a better chant than “Beat L.A.” ... Jason Arnott was a great deadline pick up by the Caps. You knew it then and you see it now ... Raise your hand if you predicted Ben Smith would score the first playoff goal for the defending champs. Raise your hand if you’re now saying “who?”.
POINT SHOTS: Don’t look now, but the Washington Capitals appear to be figuring out what playoff hockey is all about ... Cassie Campbell or Sara Orlesky. You choose ... And now for a bit of sarcasm: At least the refs are calling the games the exact same way they did in the regular season ... Alex Kovalev, who had the winner in Game 1, was back to his old invisible self Friday. This, despite leading all Penguins forwards with 19:22 of ice time .. Stamkos is the now best third-liner in hockey ... Michal Neuvirth called his shot at the start of the playoffs, saying he could outplay anyone. By giving up just one goal in the first two games of the series, he is proving it.