ABC: Alway Be Closing

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Time to wrap this one up tonight.

I know, another game at the Garden wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing but I think the last thing the Bruins can afford to to is become complacent with their 3-1 lead in this series and allow Buffalo any measure of hope with a lesser effort at the HSBC Center tonight. Rather, I like to see them keep steamrolling with the momentum they’ve built and close this sucker out.

It won’t be easy, of course. Just ask the Pittsburgh Penguins who couldn’t finish of the Ottawa Senators at home in Game 5 of that series last night. Instead, a triple overtime victory for the Sens and some life going home for Game 6 against the defending champions.

On the flip side, the New Jersey Devils went quietly into that good night, losing at home to the Flyers who gained a rather easy 5 game victory in the series over the No. 2 seed. Brian Boucher looked like a world beater but perhaps the weak Devils offense is more to blame than Flyers goaltending is to credit, here. Regardless, it gave me my first accurate prediction of the first round, though in a lesser number of games that I thought it would take to put down Marty Brodeur and Co. Watch out for them Flyers, I tell ya.

Out West, San Jose seems to be intent on avoiding what was looking like yet another embarrassing first round upset, this time at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche. They came out flying in Game 5 at home last night and pounded the Avs 5-0 to go up 3-2 in that series. It should be noted, however, that the stars of the game were recent call-ups from Worcester, Dwight Helminen and Logan Couture, the latter with two goals in the game. Joe Thornton was again held off the score sheet.

Quick look at the leading scorers in the playoffs so far:

    1. Sidney Crosby, PIT – 5 g, 8 a, 13 pts
    2. Nicklas Backstrom, WAS – 5 g, 4 a, 9 pts
    3. Alex Ovechkin, WAS – 4 g, 4 a, 8 pts
    4. Mike Richards, PHI – 2 g, 6 a, 8 pts
    5. Henrik Zetterberg, DET – 5 g, 2 a, 7 pts

Goaltending leaders:

    1. Antti Niemi, CHI – 1.51 gaa, .948 sv%
    2. Brian Boucher, PHI – 1.59 gaa, .940 sv%
    3. Evgeni Nabokov, SJ – 1.72 gaa, .931 sv%
    4. Pekka Rinne, NSH – 1.79 gaa, .940 sv%
    5. Tuukka Rask, BOS – 1.80 gaa, .939 sv%

Interesting to see Niemi leading the way with those incredible numbers but the ‘Hawks just managing a 2-2 series tie with those pesky Predators. There’s one prediction I was completely off with. I fully admit I had no idea Pekka Rinne and the Nashville defense would be that solid against a team as formidable as the ‘Hawks.

Anyway, here’s hoping the Bruins can become the second team to advance to the second round this evening. It’s been a great series so far and I’m fairly well drooling in anticipation of tonight’s game and what may follow. The Capitals could very well close out their own series at home against the Habs tonight, as well, as they’re also up 3-1 and looking much more like a number one seed as the games go on.

Ah, the smell of hockey in the springtime! Nothing finer.

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