Four down four to go. Moving on to the second round are the Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues, and the Nashville Predators at the expense of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks, and Detroit Red Wings.
What is in store for the first round casualties?
Pittsburgh Penguins. Have some long term financial hurdles to contend with. With superstars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Jordan Staal can they realistically keep all those players, or does someone have to go? At this time last year it was almost inconceivable to imagine the Flyers would trade Carter and Richards, but they did and the trades are paying dividends now.
The Vancouver Canucks have suffered the largest upset to date this playoff as the Presidents trophy winners are eliminated by the eighth seed in five games. Who falls on the sword for this defeat? The obvious choice is Luongo. The starting goalie who lost his job in convincing fashion to Corey Schneider. If the Canucks move forward with Schneider and move Luongo will his contract provide an asset in return, or will the Canucks be force to dump his long term ticket? Perhaps the Coach is the next obvious choice for change. If Allain Vigneault is fired he could soon land on his feet as the Habs next head Coach.
The San Jose Sharks are a veteran laden squad who were Cup or bust after several seasons of regular season success. The window of opportunity has obviously closed on this group, and with very bare prospects, youth and draft picks in the system it is time to test the trade market for veterans such as Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Martin Havlat, Dan Boyle, and Brent Burns. A potential massive shake up from the GM position through the head Coach and entire roster is a very real possibility.
The Detroit Red Wings are the only eliminated team whom should be content with their roster and should be looking to add key players in the off season. They have plenty of cap space available even if Nicklas Lidstrom returns they will have money to spend. Expect the Wings to make strong offers to either or both Zach Parise or Ryan Suter on July 1.
Nashville Predators winger Jordan Tootoo who has been used sparingly this post season cant be happy. He is to become a UFA this summer and test the market. Last summer preds winger Joel Ward did just that and hit pay dirt with the Washington Capitals who coughed up $3 million a year.
The Raffi Torres verdict was announced and the hammer came down HARD, 25 games!
My over under was 10 and I thought that was high!
New York Rangers @ Ottawa Senators 7Pm Sens lead series 3-2
The Sens (who are now the lone Canadian team) look to eliminate the Rangers in Ottawa tonight and may have Captain Daniel Alfredsson back for the game. The Sens fans have created a unique tribute for Alfie, When the game clock reaches 11:11 each period — Alfredsson wears No. 11 — the fans count down before repeatedly chanting “Alfie! Alfie! Alfie!” once it hits 11:00.
In Alfredssons absence rookie Mark Stone made his debut. Stone played in game five playing 8:43. While he played limited ice time he did score one assist and did not look out of place.
The Rangers will see Carl Hagelin return from his three game suspension.
Phoenix Coyotes @ Chicago Blackhawks 9PM Coyotes lead series 3-2
Every game in this series has gone into overtime. Corey Crawford has found his game in this series and in his last two games has a 1.92 GAA and a .895 save%. Toews, Bolland, Frolik, and Leddy are all also hot recently for the Hawks and they have the momentum in this series as the Coyotes are feeling the pressure to prevent this series from going to game seven.