Home Not A Place To Be In NHL Playoffs

Monday, April 16th 2007, 7:30 am
By: News On 6

It didn't pay to be at home for the NHL playoffs this weekend. In eight postseason games, the visitor won seven times. Only the Detroit Red Wings actually had a home-ice advantage, beating Calgary 3-1 Sunday to take a 2-0 series lead.

Otherwise, it was ugly for the hosts.

Vancouver didn't need four overtimes to defeat Dallas, winning just 7:47 into the first extra session 2-1 on a goal by Nelson Pyatt. In the Canucks' other victory in the series, they needed almost the full four extra sessions.

Also Sunday, Anaheim grabbed a 3-0 lead in its series with the Wild by winning at Minnesota 2-1, and Ottawa took Pittsburgh 4-2. The Senators lead that series 2-1.

On Saturday, the Rangers, Lightning, Islanders and Penguins all won on the road. In 19 postseason games, the home team is 9-10.

Heading into Monday, the first-round series leaders were the Ducks, Senators, Canucks, Red Wings, and Rangers (2-0). Tied are Buffalo-New York Islanders, New Jersey-Tampa Bay, and Nashville-San Jose.

Pyatt scored his first career playoff goal on a one-timer from the left circle that beat Marty Turco.

``To be able to get it in overtime as a game-winner is definitely a nice feeling,'' he said. ``I just let it go and it wound up in the net. That's all that matters.''

It was the Stars' sixth straight overtime playoff loss. They're in a 1-9 rut since 2001, the year after they last made the Stanley Cup finals _ and all but one of those losses have come with Turco in goal.

Turco, who's lost his last three postseason series, is trying to shed the label of playoff underachiever. Coming off his first career playoff shutout, he was headed toward another until allowing a tying goal in the third period, then Pyatt's winner.

He was good, making 35 saves. It just wasn't good enough.

``It's a matter of not getting frustrated and sticking with your game plan,'' Turco said. ``The overtime loss speaks for itself, but I believe in these guys. The next time we get in an overtime situation we'll be playing to win again.''

Red Wings 3, Flames 1

At Detroit, Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom scored within the first 4 minute.

The Flames had five penalties, two of which led to Lidstrom's goal, in the first 8:13. The Flames seemed to unravel in the opening period, getting penalized twice for cross-checking in a 2-minute span.

``Our game plan was to be more disciplined and be harder on the puck and not take unnecessary penalties,'' Calgary coach Jim Playfair said. ``Obviously, that was a problem.''

Calgary's Dion Phaneuf scored a power-play goal early in the second period on a shot that was deflected and fluttered past Dominik Hasek's glove. The Flames went into the third within a goal because of that score and Miikka Kiprusoff's 33 saves through two periods.

But they couldn't beat Hasek again.

Six minutes into the final period, Detroit rookie Valtteri Filppula followed up his goal-scoring debut in the playoffs with a goal off a rebound.

Senators 4, Penguins 2

At Pittsburgh, Daniel Alfredsson scored twice during the second period and the Senators made this lead stand after blowing one the previous day.

The Senators have been in control for all but 1 1/2 periods of the series, winning 6-3 in Game 1. Only this time _ unlike Saturday, when the Penguins came back with three goals in the third period _ they have the victory and the series lead to prove it.

``We should have probably buried them the other night and we didn't, but we put it behind us and did tonight,'' said Jason Spezza.

The Senators lost forward Patrick Eaves, taken off the ice on a stretcher after being leveled by an unpenalized Colby Armstrong hit with Ottawa up 3-1 midway through the second period. Eaves appeared to be knocked unconscious, but did not require hospitalization.

Ducks 2, Wild 1

Ilya Bryzgalov and the defensively dominant Ducks are one win away from advancing to the second round.

Andy McDonald scored early, Rob Niedermayer scored late, and Bryzgalov stopped 19 shots.

Frustrated all week by Ducks star defensemen Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger and their lesser-known teammates, Minnesota went 1-for-5 on the power play and is 1-for-15 in the series.

And that goal, by Petteri Nummelin, didn't come until 38.2 seconds remained _ the only blemish on another stellar game by Bryzgalov.

Niklas Backstrom made 17 saves, but the Wild didn't give him _ or the sellout crowd _ much of a lift. They were in it until the middle of the third period, when Rob Niedermayer, Scott's less-decorated brother, led a rush up the right side and zipped a shot over Backstrom's shoulder for a 2-0 lead with 10:17 left.

``We didn't give them much,'' said Niedermayer, whose goal was his first since Feb. 6. ``We didn't have many turnovers and didn't give up any odd-man rushes and cycled the puck down low. That's our game, that's our strength, and that's what we have to play to.''