GAME CHANGER - April 15, 2009

Vote for the night's top game-altering play

Wednesday, 04.15.2009 / 8:20 PM / 2009 Playoffs Conference Quarterfinals
The plays that turn the tide in every game of playoff action -- that is what the beauty of hockey history is built on.

Check back every night following all the 2009 playoff action to witness's game-changing moment from each game, as well as the rest of each game's goals, saves and hits.

You can vote on the night's best Game Changer.  Cast your votes after the night's action.

Thanks to all who voted -- and enjoy the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs!


Philadelphia at Pittsburgh - Game 1

With the Flyers pressing the Pens after falling behind 2-0, Mike Knuble gathered the puck along the wall and attempted to pass the puck behind his own net, but it took a strange bounce and landed in front of Martin Biron and in front of an oncoming Evgeni Malkin.
Malkin pulled the puck around the outstretched stick of Biron and tucked it in with a neat backhand to give the Penguins a 3-0 lead early in the third period, and effectively killing any comeback thoughts the Flyers were entertaining.

FINAL SCORE: Penguins 4, Flyers 1



NY Rangers at Washington - Game 1

In an up-and-down battle all game, Brandon Dubinsky engineered an unbelievable finish for the Rangers.

Tied at 3-3 with 8:17 left in the third period, the Capitals were on a power play looking to regain the lead after trailing by two goals. After an exhausting penalty kill by the Rangers, Markus Naslund stepped out of the box and caught a pass at mid-ice. He handed it over to Brandon Dubinsky who skated across the Washington blueline and slid the puck between Jeff Schultz's legs. After getting by Schultz, Dubinsky moved in on Jose Theodore and beat him with a snap shop to the top corner.

The Rangers grabbed the lead and held on for the 4-3 victory over the Capitals in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

FINAL SCORE: Rangers 4, Capitals 3


Carolina at New Jersey - Game 1

Despite allowing a goal late in the first period, Carolina's Cam Ward had proven himself the best player on the ice, stopping 14 shots in the opening 20 minutes. But New Jersey's Zach Parise pulled the puck away from boards and wristed it past Ward 59 seconds into the second, giving the Devils a 2-0 edge and killing the growing momentum from Ward's stellar play.

Patrik Elias would score later in the frame to increase the New Jersey advantage, but Parise's tally early in the period was the one that stunted the Hurricanes' comeback chances and swung the momentum for good.

FINAL SCORE: Devils 4, Hurricanes 1


St. Louis at Vancouver - Game 1

Sami Salo's power play goal early in the second period was the turning point of tonight's 2-1 Vancouver win. With another screen in front of Chris Mason set up by the Canucks power forward Steve Bernier, the Blues netminder never had a chance on the blistering shot.  Better still, Henrik Sedin's soccer pass from his skate after his stick broke enable the play to keep moving as the puck went back to Salo at the point.

Salo's tally forced the Blues to play a more wide-open game and opened them up to reckless penalties and took them out of their defensive element.

FINAL SCORE: Canucks 2, Blues 1


Quote of the Day

It is really special. I had a lot of friends and family here tonight, and for my first [NHL] game in here it was great. I played here as an elementary-school player in the city championships and this was my first time back. It was a lot of fun..

— Toronto native Brandon Pirri after scoring 2 goals for Panthers in win at Maple Leafs on Thursday