Stanley Cup Conference Quarterfinals: Day 1

Alexander Semin was the hero Wednesday night in the first overtime game of the 2011 playoffs. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Alexander Semin was the hero Wednesday night in the first overtime game of the 2011 playoffs. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Wednesday saw the opening of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs where 16 teams will spend the next two months shedding blood, sweat and tears in their determination to achieve the ultimate goal: Lord Stanley’s Cup.

The first day of the Conference Quarterfinals had 10 teams in action.

No. 4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. No. 5 Tampa Bay Lightning
GAME 1: PIT 3 – TBL 0

PITTSBURGH – In a game that went scoreless until the third period, the Penguins opened up the scoring and kept the goals coming from one end. Alex Kovalev and Arron Asham both tallied for the Penguins and Chris Kunitz added the empty netter to seal the shutout win. Marc-Andre Fleury made 32 saves in the game.

In his first career playoff game, Steven Stamkos was slammed into the boards early on by Brooks Orpik. Stamkos was a minus-1 and registered only one shot on goal.

According to Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune, Martin St. Louis has two fractured teeth and had a double root canal performed after the game from a high stick from Zbynek Michalek that went uncalled. He is expected to play in the next game.

NEXT GAME: Friday at 7 p.m.

SERIES: 1-0 Pittsburgh

No. 3 Detroit Red Wings vs. No. 6 Phoenix Coyotes
GAME 1: DET 4 – PHX 2

DETROIT – It was a rematch from last year’s Quarterfinals and the Coyotes are hoping to change their fortunes this time around. But they didn’t get off to the start they wanted.

Kyle Turris scored his first career playoff goal to give the Coyotes an early 1-0 lead, but it would be the last time they held it. The Red Wings found their game in the second period and scored four unanswered goals from Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Brian Rafalski and Jiri Hudler.

Radim Vrbata turned it back into a game when he brought the Coyotes back within two, but it wouldn’t be enough.

NEXT GAME: Saturday at 1 p.m.

SERIES: 1-0 Detroit

No. 1 Washington Capitals vs. No. 8 New York Rangers
GAME 1: WSH 2 – NYR 1, OT

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a battle of goaltenders, Henrik Lundqvist was pitted against Michal Neuvirth. Neither budged for the majority of the game, but Matt Gilroy was able to beat Neuvirth early into the third period. The 1-0 lead held until Alex Ovechkin tied the game at the 13:44 mark of the third. The game because the first of the playoffs to head into the extra session.

As time was running out in the first overtime, Marc Staal failed to clear the puck and Jason Arnott quickly fed the puck to Alexander Semin, who rocketed past Lundqvist for the win.

NEXT GAME: Friday at 7:30 p.m.

SERIES: 1-0 Washington

No. 1 Vancouver Canucks vs. No. 8 Chicago Blackhawks
GAME 1: VAN 2 – CHI 0

VANCOUVER – The Canucks took it to the defending champions in the first period, scoring two goals: one off what seemed to be a double deflection that was credited to Chris Higgins and the other a breakaway goal for Jannik Hansen. The Blackhawks found their skating legs and settled down after the first, but were unable to solve Roberto Luongo and his lucky friend, the post. Chicago out-shot Vancouver in the second and third periods, but four posts were clanged and Luongo was able to stop the rest and record the shutout.

It may seem that this year’s series is in Vancouver’s favor, but just remember that the Canucks also won Game 1 the previous two years, only to eventually fall to the hands of the Blackhawks.

NEXT GAME: Friday at 10 p.m.

SERIES: 1-0 Vancouver

No. 4 Anaheim Ducks vs. No. 5 Nashville Predators
GAME 1: ANA 1 – NSH 4

ANAHEIM – The Ducks became the first team in the 2011 playoffs to lose at home. Nashville, who wasn’t know for their scoring, secured a 4-1 victory. Captain Shea Weber got the Predators on the board first just 4:13 into the game and was followed up with goals from Steve Sullivan and two from newcomer Mike Fisher.

Ageless wonder Teemu Selanne ruined the third shutout of the night when he scored on the power play with 8:46 remaining in the game.

Dan Ellis was yanked after he let in the fourth goal just 56 seconds into the third in favor of Ray Emery. Pekka Rinne shone for the Predators in his 27-save performance.

NEXT GAME: Friday at 10:30 p.m.

SERIES 1-0 Nashville

EAST:

1. Washington Capitals – 1
8. New York Rangers – 0

2. Philadelphia Flyers – 0
7. Buffalo Sabres – 0

3. Boston Bruins – 0
6. Montreal Canadiens – 0

4. Pittsburgh Penguins – 1
5. Tampa Bay Lightning – 0

WEST:

1. Vancouver Canucks – 1
8. Chicago Blackhawks – 0

2. San Jose Sharks – 0
7. Los Angeles Kings – 0

3. Detroit Red Wings – 1
6. Phoenix Coyotes – 0

4. Anaheim Ducks – 0
5. Nashville Predators – 1

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Categories: Ice Hockey, NHL, Sports, Stanley Cup Playoffs

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