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2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Conference Quarterfinals

Overtime, 7-game series highlighted first round

Thursday, 04.28.2011 / 12:28 PM / 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Conference Quarterfinals

The opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs reached a level of excitement and unpredictability that surpassed even the NHL's usual lofty standards.

Whether it was comebacks within games the likes of which hadn't been seen in years -- San Jose rallying from four goals down for an overtime win over Los Angeles, or Washington erasing a three-goal deficit in the third period en route to a double-OT victory against the New York Rangers -- or teams battling back to win series, as Tampa Bay accomplished in erasing a 3-1 lead built by Pittsburgh and Chicago nearly pulled off after making it to overtime in Game 7 after losing the first three games to Vancouver, nothing was ever over until it was over and fans knew better than to leave their seats or turn off their TVs until the final horn sounded.

No more special moment in hockey than a Game 7

Wednesday, 04.27.2011 / 12:45 PM / 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Conference Quarterfinals

It is one of the most exciting events in all of sports -- Game 7 during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Hockey fans wait months to see the spectacle of a winner advances, loser goes home contest, and and after two thrilling games Tuesday night, the first round fo the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs will wrap up with two more on Wednesday.

After a thrilling overtime win in Game 6 to bring the series back to Philadelphia Sunday afternoon, the Flyers managed to overpower Buffalo in a dominating 5-1 victory Tuesday night, ensuring that the defending Eastern Conference champions would advance to the second round. Their Stanley Cup Final counterparts were not so lucky, however. Despite a brilliant display by rookie goalie Corey Crawford, and an unbelievable shorthanded goal by Jonathan Toews in the final minutes of the third period, which forced overtime, the Hawks run at a repeat was abruptly cut short on a rising shot by Vancouver's Alex Burrows at 5:22 of the first extra period, ending one of the most dramatic first-round playoff games in recent memory.

"It felt almost like it was a dream," Burrows said of his game-winner. "But guys jumped on me and I couldn't breathe, so I knew it was right."

Chicago dropped the first three games of the series, but the Blackhawks had won three in a row and nearly became the fourth team in NHL history to rally from a 3-0 deficit to claim a series -- something Philadelphia managed to do against Boston en route to the 2010 Cup Final.

Reading list: Canucks oust Hawks; Flyers move on

Wednesday, 04.27.2011 / 9:44 AM / 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Conference Quarterfinals

The sigh of relief that burst out of Rogers Arena late Tuesday night could have been heard around the NHL.

It took overtime in Game 7, but the Vancouver Canucks finally made the Chicago Blackhawks former Stanley Cup champs when Alexandre Burrows scored 5:22 into overtime for a 2-1 victory in Game 7 of their opening-round series. The Canucks had blown a 3-0 series lead as the Hawks won Games 4, 5 and 6, then couldn't hang on to a 1-0 lead in the final two minutes of regulation, but Burrows' goal gave Vancouver at least a measure of revenge for losses to the Hawks in each of the last two playoff years. It also capped a record-setting eighth night in a row with at least one overtime game.

Weight weighs in on the 2011 playoffs

Brian Hunter - Staff Writer

Doug Weight has participated in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 12 of the 19 seasons he's played in the NHL, and although he's never been part of a team that came back from a 3-0 series deficit to win, as the Chicago Blackhawks will bid to accomplish in Game 7 against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET, Versus, CBC, RDS), his Carolina Hurricanes wouldn't have won the Stanley Cup in 2006 without an impressive rally of their own right off the bat.

After setting franchise records with 52 wins and 112 points during the regular season, Weight and the second-seeded Hurricanes lost their first two playoff games on home ice to the Montreal Canadiens. They trailed 1-0 in Game 3 in Montreal heading to the third period but went on to win in overtime and beat the Canadiens in six games. Series wins over New Jersey, Buffalo and Edmonton followed on the championship run.

"That 2-0 (deficit) was tough, it was tough to swallow," Weight told during a stop through the League's Manhattan headquarters on Tuesday. "As good as we were and as much as we felt like we had ahead of us, a long run, to go down two in your own building was very depleting. But in hindsight, it had a lot to do with what we were able to achieve.

"And what you have in the playoffs is, when people get past rounds and get past those adverse conditions, they learn how to get by it and when you succeed coming out of that, it makes you that much tougher in the next round, and so forth. And I think that's what makes the Finals the best in the world -- you have two teams that have gotten through three series that have had roller-coaster rides, ups and downs, injuries, elimination games, and they've fought through those and they both learn how to win, and that's what our team did."

No more special moment in hockey than a Game 7

It is one of the most exciting events in all of sports -- Game 7 during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Hockey fans wait months to see the spectacle of a winner advances, loser goes home contest, and there will be two of them Tuesday with the potential for two more the following night.

The Philadelphia Flyers, defending Eastern Conference champions, will try to complete a comeback from down 3-2 in their series against the Buffalo Sabres at Wells Fargo Center at 7:30 p.m. ET (TSN, VERSUS). The team that defeated the Flyers in the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, the Chicago Blackhawks, will be trying to finish an even greater revival act.

Chicago dropped the first three games of its series against the Vancouver Canucks but the Blackhawks have won three in a row and can become the fourth team in NHL history to rally from a 3-0 deficit to claim a series -- something Philadelphia managed to do against Boston en route to the 2010 Cup Final.

"These are fun games to play," Flyers defenseman Sean O'Donnell said. "I don't think as a player you want to think about it too much or change a whole lot about what you've been doing. We're all in the League for a reason. Whatever it is that got us here, do that and do it as well as you can and be ready to go. If everyone does that, I think we'll be OK."

Reading list: Sharks advance, Bolts force Game 7

Tuesday, 04.26.2011 / 11:32 AM / 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Conference Quarterfinals

In Monday night's Stanley Cup Playoff action, one team that had previously trailed 3-1 in its first-round series won its second straight to force a Game 7, while another club prevented the same thing from happening in its series and punched its ticket to the conference semifinals.

In Tampa Bay, the Lightning did what they were unable to do in Games 3 and 4 and defended their home ice successfully. In getting third-period goals from Steve Downie and Ryan Malone after Pittsburgh had evened the score, they staved off elimination again and the series will now come down to a decisive seventh game Wednesday at the Consol Energy Center.

Versus set to televise a pair of Game 7s

Tuesday, 04.26.2011 / 12:52 AM / 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Conference Quarterfinals

The NHL features a pair of seventh games on Tuesday night, and they'll both be televised for a national audience in what is primed to be a historic doubleheader.

The action gets under way at 7:30 p.m. ET, when the Philadelphia Flyers host the Buffalo Sabres at the Wells Fargo Center. Philadelphia staved off elimination and forced Game 7 when Ville Leino scored in overtime on Sunday afternoon in Buffalo. Brian Boucher, who relieved Michael Leighton after the first period, will get the nod for the Flyers.

The Flyers-Sabres showdown can be seen on Versus in the U.S. and TSN in Canada.

In the nightcap, the Chicago Blackhawks will look to follow in the Flyers' footsteps from a year ago as they face the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. Should the Blackhawks win, they will become only the fourth team in NHL history to win a best-of-seven series after losing the first three games. Philadelphia accomplished the feat against the Boston Bruins in 2010.

Reading List: Hawks, Flyers force Game 7s

Three different first-round series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs could have come to an end Sunday, but only one did thanks to a pair of overtime wins by clubs facing elimination.

In Chicago, the Blackhawks kept alive their bid to become only the fourth NHL team ever -- but the second in as many years -- to come back from an 0-3 deficit as rookie Ben Smith scored in overtime for a 4-3 win over the Canucks, sending the series back to Vancouver for a seventh and deciding game. The Flyers and Sabres will also go the distance, after Ville Leino's OT tally in Buffalo gave Philadelphia a 5-4 win. Meanwhile, in Nashville, the Predators completed the first playoff series win in franchise history with a pair of Nick Spaling goals for a 4-2 win over the Ducks, whom they ousted in six games.

Reading List: Kids carry Sabres; Preds rally for OT win

Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 11:15 AM / 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Conference Quarterfinals

There were only two playoff games Friday night, but what the schedule lacked in quantity, it more than made up for in quality -- and as has been the norm so far, the road teams won again.

In Philadelphia, the Flyers spotted Buffalo a 3-0 lead, rallied to force overtime -- but saw two of the Sabres' kids combine for the winning goal in Buffalo's 4-3 win, putting the Sabres within a win of moving to the second round. Out in Anaheim, Nashville tied the game in the final minute of regulation and scored quickly in overtime to stun the Ducks 4-3. The Predators can win a playoff series for the first time in franchise history by beating the Ducks at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday.

Saturday's schedule includes four games -- all of which could be series-deciders.

Plenty of playoff hockey to watch on Saturday

Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 11:14 AM / 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Conference Quarterfinals

The Pittsburgh Penguins look to close out the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 today at 12 PM ET and can be seen on Versus in the U.S. and on CBC in Canada.
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