Be sure to check back each night, as we present a fresh batch of Game Changer efforts, and each morning, as we present the winners. And be sure to vote early and often, to let your voice be heard for the most important play, as chosen by the fans, of each night of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
4/24 winner: New York (R) at Washington - Game 5 | Watch the nominees
Varlamov's save; Bradley's goal
At 11:53 of the first period, Washington goaltender Simeon Varlamov made a big stop on an Aaron Voros shot from the right faceoff circle to preserve the Capitals' 1-0 lead, and the ensuing rush up the ice by the Caps saw Matt Bradley pot his second goal of the night on a hard-angle shot from the bottom of the right circle just 14 seconds later.
Varlamov's save to keep Washington in front and Bradley's subsequent tally permanently threw the momentum behind the Capitals, who staved off elimination with a win Friday night in Game 5.
4/23 winner: Detroit at Columbus - Game 4 | Watch the nominees
Detroit at Columbus - Game 4
With under two minutes remaining and the scored deadlocked at 5-5, Columbus was assessed a bench minor for having too many men on the ice. Jason Chimera argued the call fervently, but to no avail for the desperate Jackets, who had overcome a pair of two-goal deficits to get the game tied.
Less than 40 seconds into the man-advantage, Detroit’s Jiri Hudler received a pass in the left corner, skated along the goal line and tried to stuff the puck past goalie Steve Mason. Two Blue Jackets closed on Hudler, leaving Johan Franzen to flip the puck in with 46.6 seconds left. The Wings killed the remaining time to win the game, 6-5, and the series in a four-game sweep.
FINAL SCORE: Red Wings 6, Blue Jackets 5
4/22 winner: Washington at New York (R) - Game 4 | Watch the nominees
Capitals at Rangers - Game 4
The Rangers were the top penalty-killing team in the NHL during the regular season, and their proficiency on the PK was evident in Game 4. After Sean Avery was hit with a roughing penalty with 9:39 remaining in regulation, the Capitals, down 2-1, found themselves with a golden opportunity to tie the game.
At 45 seconds in Alex Ovechkin fired a shot that sailed wide. Sergei Fedorov collected the rebound and swung the puck to Nicklas Backstrom. He faked a shot, then fed Ovechkin, who ripped a shot past Henrik Lundqvist that clanged off the crossbar.
There was still a minute remaining on the power play, but the Caps wouldn't have a better scoring chance.
FINAL SCORE: Rangers 2, Capitals 1
4/21 winner: New Jersey at Carolina - Game 4 | Watch the nominees
Devils at Hurricanes - Game 4
Carolina dominated Game 4 for much of the night, but a rally by New Jersey made a three-goal lead disappear by the middle of the third period. With the Devils holding all the momentum and getting the majority of the scoring chances, the Hurricanes' best hope appeared to be getting the game into overtime.
But the Canes made a last-ditch effort to steal the game, as Denis Seidenberg fired a desperation shot from the point just before the final horn. Jussi Jokinen got in front of the net to deflect the puck past Martin Brodeur, and it crossed the goal line with just 00.2 seconds remaining in regulation, giving Carolina a stunning win to even its Eastern Conference Quarterfinal with New Jersey at two games apiece.
FINAL SCORE: Hurricanes 4, Devils 3
4/20 winner: Washington at New York (R) - Game 3 | Watch the nominees
Capitals at Rangers - Game 3
Trailing the series 2-0 and desperately needing a road win, the Capitals got off to a great start in Game 3; part of that start included a little bit of luck.
With nine minutes left in the first period and the Caps leading 1-0, Ryan Callahan just missed pulling the Rangers even. Callahan received a pass down low and appeared to have an open net, but Nicklas Backstrom tipped his shot ever so slightly to redirect the puck from going in. Instead the puck hit the post and led to an immediate Capitals breakout.
About 20 seconds later, Backstrom knocked down Callahan in the Rangers' defensive zone and moved the puck to Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin then made a brilliant pass to Alexander Semin, who one-timed his second goal of the game past Henrik Lundqvist to give the Caps a crucial two-goal lead. What could have been a 1-1 game at the time turned into a 4-0 victory for the Capitals in Game 3.
FINAL SCORE: Capitals 4, Rangers 0