Coyotes to Meet Kings in West Final
Last night, the #3 seeded Phoenix Coyotes eliminated the #4 seeded Nashville Predators in five games. The series, billed as a goaltender duel between Vezina finalist candidate Pekke Rinne and red hot Mike Smith didn't start out as such with 15 goals in the first two games. As the series progressed, the goalies settled in and shut things down. There were only six goals in the final three games combined, with two of three games featuring shutouts.
As Phoenix moves on to face the Los Angeles Kings in the Conference Finals, it sets the stage for a number of great story lines. Another goaltender duel is set as Smith will once again face off with a Vezina finalist, Jonathan Quick. But this also sets the stage between two division rivals to tangle for the right to play for Lord Stanley's cup. The subplot to that is that this is the kind of series that can create a rivalry for years to come. One hit, one slash, or cross check can draw retribution in the series or in the future and catapult these two teams into something much more than they are now. It will be a fun series to watch.
Rangers force OT late, win early
Out East, we've got a different situation. Neither Conference Semifinal is done yet. The New York Rangers took the advantage last night with a dramatic come from behind tying goal with 7 seconds left, and then winning it quickly in OT at Madison Square Garden. They now lead the series against the Washington Capitals 3-2.
The New Jersey Devils have a stranglehold on their series with the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-1, and have a chance to close things out tonight. The Flyers goal scoring troubles are compounded with the suspension of Claude Giroux for his high hit on Dainius Zubrus in game 4.
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