Milan Lucic led the Boston Bruins into the conference final with a two-goal effort in a 5-1 victory over the Flyers in Game 4. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
The NHL Playoff Recap gives you our take of what happened in each game of the night and what the consequences will be for the rest of the series.
We also provide our Three Stars of the night, which will be tabulated after each round. First Star is three points, Second Star is two points and Third Star is one point. Be sure to vote on who you think the first star was as well.
Of course there's the other side of the coin: The Black Hole is a piece of the lineup that just couldn't get it going on a given night and contributed to a difficult evening for the team.
THN’s Take: It’s not often a team finishes the playoffs with a 4-4 record: sweeping in Round 1, getting swept in the second round. And the Detroit Red Wings barely made sure it didn’t happen to them. The Wings looked their age after crashing the net and carrying the play to build a 3-0 lead in 18 minutes, but running out of gas after to be thoroughly dominated. San Jose erased its third third-period deficit in four games 1:14 into the final stanza, but a Darren Helm score with 90 seconds to play stanched Detroit’s collapse. Make no mistake, however, San Jose deserved to win this game. Detroit will have to play a full 60 minutes Sunday to further extend the series.
1. Nicklas Lidstrom – Every elimination game the Wings play will be back-dropped by Lidstrom’s possible retirement. The 41-year-old looked like he didn’t want to hang them up, scoring two goals, the first of which moved him into second all-time in playoff scoring by a defenseman.
2. Henrik Zetterberg – The 2008 Conn Smythe winner was in the middle of most Detroit chances on the night. He set up two of the three Detroit goals and won 60 percent of his faceoffs.
3. Ryan Clowe – His stats alone (three assists, plus-3) merit three-star attention, but Clowe played an inspired game. It was his play that sparked San Jose’s comeback.
The Black Hole
Jonathan Ericsson – He looked like he deserved to be the 291st and last pick of his draft. Ericsson was out-muscled and looked out to lunch much of the night. His play bordered on lazy.
THN’s TAKE: In a series where Philadelphia couldn’t get decent goaltending, a netminder finally stood up, but it wasn’t enough. Rookie Sergei Bobrovsky held the Flyers in the game as long as he could, but the result (aided by two empty-net goals) was the same as the Bruins imposed their will on a Flyers team that looked whipped in the first period and couldn’t capitalize when a window emerged in the second. Looking ahead, Boston’s power play got back on track and the team appears to be moving full steam ahead with Tampa as the next target. Once again, Philly fans are left muttering about crease woes as a loaded roster’s weak spot was exposed in the post-season.
1. Milan Lucic – Boston’s excitable power forward finally got his offense in gear with two goals, including the game’s opener. He was a force for the entire evening.
2. Johnny Boychuk – The unheralded defenseman potted the game-winner for the B’s and logged more than 27 minutes of ice time, more than Zdeno Chara and second only to Dennis Seidenberg.
3. Mike Richards – Philadelphia’s captain proved what a leader he is by playing hard all night, even when the rest of the Flyers were in the dumps. He even had an assist on the lone Philly tally, scored by Kris Versteeg.
The Black Hole
Daniel Briere – On a night where Philadelphia needed its best players to excel, he failed to generate any offense and ended the night as a minus-2. His unnecessary holding penalty at the end of the second period didn’t help, either.
The NHL Game Night Recap will get you caught up with all the playoff action. THN will name our Three Stars for each game and tabulate the results after each series. First Star = three points, Second Star = two points, Third Star = one point.