The Tampa Bay Lightning completed the sweep of the Washington Capitals last night with a 5-3 victory that ended the Caps season in yet another disappointing fashion. Bruce Boudreau will likely feel the brunt of yet another early playoff exit for the #1 Eastern seed. This is the fourth year in a row that the Caps have fallen to a lower seed. Tampa’s sudden scoring sensation Sean Bergenheim led the way with a pair for the Lightning, who after 7 straight wins may now have an extended layoff before the next series starts.
Meanhwile, the Boston Bruins jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and cruised to an easy 5-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, who didn’t put up much of a fight at all. Zdeno Chara and David Krejci scored in the first 63 seconds, and the Bruins finally scored a power play goal in the third period (their first of the playoffs) to seal the victory. Boston will be looking to end the series as soon as possible, as a loss will start to bring up memories of last year’s epic collapse to the Flyers. Boston had an identical 3-0 lead last season before the Flyers won 4 straight to win the series.
The Detroit Red Wings also find themselves in a 3-0 hole and facing elimination in game 4 against the San Jose Sharks. Dan Boyle scored a late 3rd period goal to tie the game and Devon Setoguchi scored his third of the game in OT to put the Sharks one win away from the conference finals. Antti Niemi made 38 saves for the win.
Tonight’s lone NHL matchup features the simmering cauldron of hatred that has become the Vancouver – Nashville series. Ill feelings have spoiled over from game 3 where perceived acting by Roberto Luongo and Ryan Kesler drew penalties that Vancouver was able to capitalize on. The Predators were angry with not only the Canucks, but also the officials for falling for the antics and calling the penalties. It will be interesting tonight to see how the game officials react when looking for calls against the Preds.
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