SMJ Cup Playoffs

 

Top Seeds Up to Task

 

PHI

3 4

HAR

Hartford Leads Series 1-0

The President's Trophy champs start off their second round series with a close fought victory that, to most observers, they didn't deserve.  Despite 78% of nationwide NFHL writers predicting the Hartford win, particularly since the Flyers are the defending Wales Conference champions and are stacked on paper, Philly was consistently dominant.  They fired 12 shots in each period, limiting Hartford to half that, but couldn't find an answer to Don Beaupre.  And Tom Barasso couldn't find an answer to Mario Lemieux.  Lemieux scored two third period goals, one coming in the opening minute, the other in the closing minute.  That final one, with just 6 seconds left in the game before overtime, was the winner.  Peter Andersson and Gary Suter scored the other goals.  Patrick Sundstrom, Phil Housley and Mike Modano scored for the Flyers.  Game #2 will see if it is another battle of goalies.  Can Tom Barasso do better than 17 saves on 21 shots.  Can Don Beaupre continue to stop 33 of 36 shots?

 

FLA

3 5

NJD

New Jersey Leads Series 1-0

The opening game in this series was all about momentum shifts.  New Jersey started the game off quickly.  Like record-setting quickly.  Before the game was 30 seconds old, they had a 2-0 lead as they caught Patrick Roy before he woke up.  Before the midway of the period, it was 3-0 and the momentum was all with New Jersey.  Dave Andreychuk scored the first goal, while Peter Bondra had the next two.  And then the momentum stopped.  And shifted the other way.  Florida, who had been outshooting New Jersey in the period, finally found a way to beat Kirk McLean, punching 2 through before the end of the period.   Stephane Richer and Mark Recchi had those goals.  Momentum to Florida.  They carried that momentum into the second period, with Mark Messier scoring his 1st of the playoffs to tie the game at 3-3.  Florida dominated that first half of the second. All the momentum and a gigantic shot advantage.  And then the momentum stopped.  It shifted.  Back to New Jersey.  They found a way to create some offense, got a Murray Craven marker midway through the period to get their lead back and then, 34 seconds later, Robert Kron scored to make it 5-3.  It was the final momentum shift of the game.  New Jersey continued to pressure the Panthers, playing the rest of the game in Florida's zone.  And while they didn't beat Rick Wamsley, who came in to replace Roy after the Kron goal, they did pepper him with 17 third period shots, while Florida could only get 4 and limped out of the arena, down 1-0 in the series.

 

EDM

3 5

WIN

Winnipeg Leads Series 1-0

Winnipeg management took a lot of heat in the first round for seemingly disrespecting the San Jose Sharks by putting their back up in Game #4 after taking a 3-0 series lead.  They lost Game #4, then lost Game #5 and the phone lines were lit up, demanding heads.  Winnipeg fans were not happy.  They ended up closing it out with an easy Game #6 victory, but that cast doubts on the team.  Those doubts have now been erased.  The Jets were simply dominant in their first game of the second round, out classing, out shooting, and out scoring the Edmonton Oilers.  The score was flattering for Edmonton as they scored two meaningless 3rd period goals to make it seem respectable.  It wasn't.  For 40 minutes, Winnipeg put on a show.  They fired 34 shots, limited Edmonton to 12 and had a 5-1 lead going in to the 3rd period.  They took their foot off the gas in the 3rd, only getting out shot 7-6 and allowing 2 goals in the final 2 minutes of the game.  Not a great end, but not likely enough to give the Oilers any sense they can do it again.  They are playing in the halls of giants as the only lower seeded team to win their opening round series.  And up against these giants like Winnipeg, their shortcomings are very apparent.  Brendan Shanahan had 2 goals for Winnipeg, with Gary Leeman, Vladimir Konstantinov and Al MacInnis also scoring.  Brent Gilchrist had 2 goals for Edmonton and Teemu Selanne one.

 

VAN

4 7

COL

Colorado Leads Series 1-0

Vancouver played a great 40 minutes tonight, matching the mighty Rockies shot for shot and goal for goal.  Unfortunately, they got goalied in the 2nd period as Kelly Hrudey did what Kelly Hrudey does best.  He made the big saves when it counted and led his team to victory.  Colorado scored 3 times in that middle frame, despite being outshot 16-8.  Those were the difference in this game.  In the other two periods, the teams were even in shots and goals.  But this is what a veteran team that has been in this situation so many times before will do.  Mario Tremblay and Steve Yzerman each scored twice, with Ron Francis, Petr Klima and Joe Reekie also contributed goals.  Michel Goulet, Russ Courtnall, Adam Oates and Tom Kurvers scored for Vancouver.  We'll see if this is the kick in the butt the Canucks needed.  They have been shown that it takes 60 minutes to win a playoff game.  Will they learn in Game #2?