Nightly Review: Stretcher, suspension, suspension, suspension…

Just as Brendan Shanahan was checking off his laundry list of supplemental discipline, Raffi Torres pulled a, well, he pulled a Raffi Torres. At 11:51 of the first period, Torres left his feet and delivered a shoulder-to-head check against Marian Hossa that knocked Hossa unconscious and required a stretcher to take him off the ice. He was transported to hospital. No word on his condition except that he has since left the hospital.

If TSN’s Bob McKenzie knows what he’s talking about, and he does, we can all expect a very lengthy suspension from the department of player safety. (TSN)

Brendan Shanahan must be beside himself. On a day when he already handed out four suspensions, another one comes rolling in.

Andrew ShawJames NealArron Asham and  Nicklas Backstrom were all given time off for their recent actions. Most of them hadn’t even been announced at the time of the Torres hit. Shanny’s going to get a tan pretty soon from all this camera work. I highly doubt we’ve seen our last suspension video either.

Florida 4 New Jersey 3

Earlier today, I wondered whether the Panthers could turn their first playoff win in sixteen years into a streak. I said it in jest, but it turns out they can! I have to give the Panthers credit here. If there was one series where I expected a sweep it was this one. Just another example of parity in the NHL these days. Kudos, Florida.

As with each of the first two games now, one team stormed out to a 3-0 lead, only to let their opponents crawl back into the game. The difference tonight? It was the losing side who had the early lead. The Devils scored three times in the first 6:16 of the game, chasing Panthers goalie Jose Theodore. From there it was all Florida.

Sean Bergenheim and Jason Garrison each scored powerplay goals before the end of the first period to cue the comeback. Martin Brodeur was pulled after the Panthers tied the game early in the second and Brian Campbell scored the winner on the powerplay as well, 6:34 into the middle frame. Scott Clemmensen made 19 saves in relief and earned the win.

Game 4: Thursday 7:00 EST

Panthers lead the series 2-1

Nashville 3 Detroit 1

The Detroit Red Wings threw everything they had at Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne. They were in desperation mode, needing a win to avoid falling into a 3-1 series deficit. But Rinne was sensational, making 40 saves and helping his team earn a 3-1 win, thus pushing the Red Wings to the brink of elimination.

The Predators won both games played in Detroit in this series. It’s a remarkable feat given how good the Wings were at home all season. Detroit was 31-7-3 at home during the regular season, the best such record in the league. Now they must fear not getting another chance at the Joe.

Nashville had more contributions from unlikely sources. Gabriel Bourque opened the scoring in the third period with his third goal of the playoffs. He only had seven goals all year. Kevin Klein already has half his regular season goal total after scoring the game-winning goal tonight.

Detroit now needs to win three straight games to advance. It will be a tough challenge as teams trailing 3-1 have won only 24 times in 253 series (9.5%).

Game 5: Friday 8:00 EST

Predators lead the series 3-1

Phoenix 3 Chicago 2 (OT)

It was the third straight game decided with overtime in this series. It was also the second consecutive game marred by a bad hit. As I wrote earlier, Raffi Torres is likely to be suspended and my guess it will be more than the 3 games handed to Andrew Shaw for his hit on Phoenix goalie Mike Smith in game 2.

It was Mikkel Boedker as the overtime hero this time around. He scored on a bank play that was similar to Patrick Kane‘s Stanley Cup winning overtime goal three years ago. Kane assisted on the first goal of the game, late in the first period, as his shot was tipped in by Hawks forward Andrew Brunette. The goal stood until 8:13 of the third period when Rostislav Klesla tied the game with a slap shot from the point. That began a wild 1:05 which saw Michael Frolik and Ray Whitney both score on rebounds for their respective teams.

Both goalies were sharp. Smith made 35 saves for Phoenix and Corey Crawford stopped 31 for the Hawks. The two had an altercation at the end of the second period as they were skating off the ice. It appeared words were exchanged but nothing more.

Game 4: Thursday 8:00 EST

Coyotes lead the series 2-1


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