Here are the morning papers for the Eastern Conference playoff matchups:
Montreal versus Boston:
- The Habs are finally excited that the wait is over and the games get underway tonight, writes Pat Hickey. No wonder they are nervous, there are ten Canadiens who will be getting their first taste of playoff action tonight.
- The Bruins didn't envision their center corps to look like what it did at season's end, but if not for the play of their fill-ins, they would probably be golfing. Kevin Paul Dupont tells us that the Canadiens aren't everyone's favorite team anymore. On the injury front, Marc Savard is hoping to suit up tonight.
Pittsburgh versus Ottawa:
- The Penguins steamrolled the Senators last night 4-0, writes Dave Molinari. There is so much demand for Penguins hockey that there was a giant screen outside the Igloo last night for fans to watch the game. The Penguins got another break last night when the Senators lost Anton Volchenkov in the second period.
- Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun says don't blame Martin Gerber for the Senators' loss in Game 1. The Senators special teams were awful last night, writes Bruce Garrioch. The fans are not exactly happy with the Senators.
Washington versus Pittsburgh:
- It the Capitals are going to defeat the Flyers, they are going to have to be ready to deal with Philadelphia's physical play, writes Tarik El-Bashir.
- The Flyers are going to try to stop Alexander Ovechkin with Kimmo Timonen, writes Rich Hofman. Martin Biron has been on playoff teams, but he has not ever played in a playoff game. On the injury front, both Daniel Briere and Sami Kapanen are expecting to dress tonight.
New Jersey versus New York Rangers:
- Martin Brodeur admitted last night that he did not see Ryan Callahan coming on the Rangers' game-winning goal. It was the same old story on Wednesday, the Devils need more offense to win hockey games. Meanwhile, Colin Stephenson of the Newark Star-Ledger doesn't believe Scott Gomez when he says this series is no big deal for him.
- Larry Brooks was impressed with the play of the Rangers' youngsters. Scott Gomez was terrific all game on Wednesday, writes Jay Greenberg. On one night, Martin Brodeur's puck-handling actually helped the other team.
Here are the morning papers for the Western Conference playoff matchups:
Detroit versus Nashville:
- Here is the Red Wings/Predators scouting report and prediction courtesy of the Detroit Free Press. Here is the Red Wings' injury report. The Free Press also compares Bryan Rafalski with Mathieu Schneider, the player he replaced.
- Jan Hlavac will continue playing on the Predators' number one line with Jason Arnott and J.P. Dumont. In injury news, David Legwand practiced yesterday but he remains doubtful to play tonight.
San Jose versus Calgary:
- After last night's 3-2 loss at home to the Flames, the Sharks need a quick turnaround victory tonight, writes Mark Purdy. Coach Ron Wilson wants to see more Sharks go to the net like Ryane Clowe. Apparently Matt Carle and Devon Setoguchi will dress for San Jose tonight.
- Just like that, the Flames have planted the seed of doubt in San Jose, writes George Johnson. Calgary got offense from unexpected places last night, writes Jean Lefebvre. But the Flames would not have been victorious without their top players playing like their top players.
Minnesota versus Colorado:
- Here is video of Jacques Lemaire's post-game comments. The Wild lost to one of the all-time clutch goal-scorers in NHL history last night, writes Michael Russo. On the injury front, it looks like Mark Parrish suffered a serious concussion last night.
- For the eighth time in his career, Joe Sakic sent the other team to the dressing room with an overtime playoff loss, writes Adrian Dater. Terry Frei of the Denver Post tells readers that Peter Forsberg has to be more disciplined.
Anaheim versus Dallas:
- Marcia Smith of the Orange County Register wonders where all the passion is surrounding the Ducks this spring. Meanwhile, Dan Wood gets down to the nitty-gritty and breaks down each team's strengths and weaknesses.
- The time is now for Brad Richards to step up and show the Stars what they traded for. J.J. Taylor of the Dallas Morning News does not think Dave Tippett can afford to play it safe this series, as he usually does. Meanwhile, Mike Heika breaks down both team's offense, defense and goaltending.
The morning papers for non-playoff teams are soon to follow...
For Illegal Curve, I'm Richard Pollock.
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