Vanek recorded consecutive three-point games, helping the Sabres (43-29-10) clinch a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference for the second consecutive season. He notched his first hat trick of the season and seventh of his NHL career in a 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning Apr. 5 and scored the overtime winner and added a pair of assists in Buffalo's playoff-clinching 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers Apr. 8. Vanek completed the 2010-11 regulation as the Sabres leader in goals (32), assists (41) and points (73). He tied for the team lead in power-play goals (11) and game-winning goals (five). Vanek and the Sabres open their Eastern Conference Quarter-Final series at Philadelphia Thursday (7:30 p.m., ET, TSN, VERSUS joined in progress).
Lecavalier recorded goals in each of Tampa Bay's three games, finishing the week with five points (four goals, one assist) as the Lightning (46-25-11) secured the #5 seed in the Eastern Conference. He tallied one goal in a 4-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres Apr. 5, recorded two goals, including the game-winner, in a 4-2 victory over the Florida Panthers Apr. 8 and finished the week with one goal and one assist in a 6-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes Apr. 9. The Lightning captain was one of the NHL's top scorers down the stretch, registering points in 12 of Tampa Bay's final 14 regular-season games (9-8--17). Lecavalier and the Lightning travel to Pittsburgh for Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Quarter-Final beginning Wednesday (7 p.m., ET, CBC).
Ellis posted a 2-0-0 record, 1.21 goals-against average and .964 save percentage in three appearances as the Ducks (47-30-5) staged a late charge up the Western Conference standings that resulted in home-ice advantage for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Ellis stopped 80 of 83 shots last week, beginning with 14 saves in 29 minutes of relief work for starter Ray Emery in a 6-2 win over the San Jose Sharks Apr. 6. Ellis then backstopped the Ducks to a sweep of their season-closing, home-and-home series with the Los Angeles Kings, recording 23 saves in a 2-1 victory at Anaheim Apr. 8 and 43 stops in a 3-1 win at Los Angeles Apr. 9. Ellis improved to 8-3-1 with a 2.39 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in 13 games with Anaheim following his acquisition in a trade with Tampa Bay on Feb. 24. The Ducks host the Nashville Predators in their Western Conference Quarter-Final opener on Wednesday (10:30 p.m., ET, TSN).
You know what? We've played in some pretty special buildings along this playoff run so far. You start in Detroit, you go to Montreal, you come here … I think it's the first team to beat three Original Six teams to get to the Final if I'm not mistaken. That says how tough the road has been. Those are tough places to win.
— Lightning forward Steven Stamkos after Game 7 win vs. Rangers on Friday in New York