April 17, 2012
Double pull a head scratcher
By DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI AGENCY
One would have figured if there was going to be a series where both starting goaltenders were pulled in the same game, it would have been in Pennsylvania.
The Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins are scoring like they were in the '80s.
However, the first double pull of the playoffs occurred Tuesday in New Jersey, as neither Jose Theodore nor Martin Brodeur put in a full night's work.
Theodore was pulled just over six minutes into the first period after giving up three goals on six shots as the Devils jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead.
Brodeur then got the hook after giving up three goals on 12 shots when the Florida Panthers stormed back to tie the game and eventually went on to win it 4-3.
Theodore was replaced by Scott Clemmensen, who had a total of seven minutes of playoff experience dating back to 2006.
Brodeur, meanwhile, was pulled in the second period, making way for Johan Hedberg, who had not played in a playoff games since 2007 when he was a member of the Atlanta Thrashers.
No longer fair game
Apparently running a goalie during the regular season is fine, but do it in the playoffs and it'll cost you three games.
Such was the message the NHL sent Tuesday, suspending Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw for three games for his hit on Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith Saturday.
Shaw drilled Smith shortly after the goaltender had played the puck behind the net, earning a charging major and game misconduct in the process.
Smith went down in a heap on the play, but remained in the contest and was back in goal Tuesday night for Game 3 of the series.
Earlier this season, Boston Bruins winger Milan Lucic ran over Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, knocking him out of the contest.
Miller suffered a concussion on the play and was forced out of the lineup. Lucic was assessed a two-minute penalty, but did not receive any further supplemental discipline.
It would probably be a good idea for the Devils to stay out of the penalty box against the Panthers.
Heading into Game 3 Tuesday, the Panthers had scored on three of their seven of their power play opportunities.
They made it 4-for-8 with a power-play marker just over 16 minutes into the first period, then 5-for-9 with a goal eight seconds from the end of the frame.
For good measure, the Panthers added a third power-play goal in the second period, which gave them the lead.
Raffi Torres added to his list of victims Tuesday in Chicago.
The Phoenix Coyotes winger unloaded on Marian Hossa in the first period, forcing the Chicago Blackhawks forward to leave the game on a stretcher. Hossa was taken to a local hospital.
Hossa had just played the puck in front of the Blackhawks bench when Torres flattened him.
The hit came a year to the day when, as a member of the Vancouver Canucks, Torres blew up Blackhawks defenceman Brent Seabrook behind the net.
At the time, Torres had just returned from a four-game suspension after hammering Edmonton Oilers winger Jordan Eberle late in the regular season.
Later in those playoffs, Torres knocked San Jose Sharks centre Joe Thornton out of a game with a hit along the boards.
Back in 2006, as a member of the Oilers, Torres knocked Milan Michalek out of the playoffs with a questionable hit as the then-Sharks winger was cutting across centre ice.
Torres has escaped suspension for many of his hits during the playoffs in the past, but may not be so lucky this time around, despite the fact he was not assessed a penalty for the one on Hossa.
On the verge
The Nashville Predators have never beaten the Detroit Red Wings in a playoff series.
But with their 3-1 win Tuesday, the Predators find themselves a win a way from eliminating the Wings, with the series heading back to Nashville Friday.
This is the third time the Predators have faced the Red Wings in the playoffs, getting knocked out in the first round in 2004 and again in 2008.
The Predators have only once in team history advanced past the first round of the playoffs.