The Detroit Red Wings
and San Jose Sharks
have set the bar pretty high when it comes to playoff excitement.
The Wings and Sharks played a game that had everything -- speed, hard hitting, great goaltending and individual brilliance. But the Wings, who had overcome a 3-0 series deficit to force Game 7, came up a goal short of making history as the Sharks held on for a 3-2 win.
That victory sends San Jose to the Western Conference Finals for the second year in a row, this time against the Canucks in a series that opens in Vancouver on Sunday (8 p.m. ET, Versus, CBC, RDS).
In the East, the Boston Bruins
and Tampa Bay Lightning
have one more day off before they begin the conference finals Saturday (8 p.m. ET, Versus, CBC, RDS).
With a day between rounds to take a breather, here's your daily NHL.com Reading List, a set of quick links to some of the stories you won't want to miss:
Marleau's the man for Sharks
There's nothing like answering your critics by coming through in the clutch, and that's exactly what Patrick Marleau
did for the Sharks on Thursday by getting the series-winner in Game 7. Dave Lozo
writes about Marleau's reaction to his first goal of the series.
Wings run out of comebacks
The Detroit Red Wings
nearly became the fourth team to overcome a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series. Instead, as Eric Gilmore
notes, the Wings finally dug themselves a hole that was just a little too deep.
Sharks' special teams make the difference
When there's not much to choose between two teams, power plays and penalty kills are magnified. Eric Gilmore
notes that the San Jose Sharks
won the battle of the special teams in Game 7 -- and that's a big reason they're moving on.
Nothing like a little work for the Bruins
Boston has been off since eliminating Philadelphia last Friday, so coach Claude Julien
decided Thursday was just the time for a strenuous workout. As Shawn Roarke
writes, after a non-skating day Wednesday, Julien's tough practice was just the tonic for his now well-rested team.
Gagne feels great
The long break between rounds has been just what the doctor ordered for Tampa bay forward Simon Gagne
, who's been out since Game 1 of the second round with a head injury. Corey Masisak
writes that the lengthy break between rounds has made it likely Gagne will be in the lineup for the Lightning on Saturday in Boston.
Surgery made big difference for Thomas
This time a year ago, Tim Thomas
was watching Tuukka Rask
play goal as the Bruins became only the third team in NHL history to lose a series after winning the first three games. A hip problem had turned Thomas from a Vezina Trophy winner into a backup goaltender. But as Mike G. Morreale
reports, offseason surgery has helped turn him back into one of the NHL's premier goaltenders.