Here are the morning papers for the Eastern Conference playoff match ups:
Note: I am going to continue including teams that were eliminated from the first round under this post until the second round begins.
Montreal versus Boston:
- All eyes will be on Carey Price tonight in Boston, writes Herb Zurkowsky. It looks like Saku Koivu may dress for tonight's Game 6. With Passover beginning tonight, if the Habs would have just finished off the Bruins in Game 5 they would have made it a lot easier on their Jewish fans. It looks like Claude Julien's special teams adjustments have paid off.
- Give Claude Julien credit, his recent rosters decisions have paid off. Bruins fans should not expect to see Patrice Bergeron suit up tonight for the Bruins. The play of Shane Hnidy has impressed Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald. It is fair to say that coach Julien has the Bruins believing in themselves.
- Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette takes a closer look at the Penguins' Jordan Staal. Are the Rangers up next for the Penguins? If you wanted to buy second round tickets for the Penguins, it is too late.
- Apparently the Senators are interested in bringing back Wade Redden if the price is right. (Writer's note: Why would Redden re-sign in Ottawa? Seriously, this team has treated him like garbage for two years now.) While they have interest in retaining Redden, the Senators also have interest in ridding themselves of the distraction that is Ray Emery. Scott Morrison of Sun Media wonders if the Senators should rebuild?
- Just like at the end of the regular season, the Capitals are back in must-win territory, writes Tarik El-Bashir. Forget lessons, the Capitals just want to win. Regardless of what happens in their first round series, the Capitals can take solace in the fact that the organization has a bright future, writes Bob Cohn.
- If the Flyers want to finish off the Capitals today, they could use some help from their struggling power play. Jimmy Dowd has been a very productive fourth line player for the Flyers.
- "Of all the playoff series I've been in and all the early exits, this one hurts the most, for sure," said Devils center John Madden after last night's elimination loss to the Rangers. Losing in the first round hurts, losing in the first round to the Rangers hurts more. Here is a review of Game 5. Martin Brodeur snubbed Sean Avery during the post-game handshake.
- Larry Brooks of the NY Post thinks that losing Scott Gomez last summer has stung the Devils more than any other free agent loss they've had. (Writer's note: Scott Niedermayer's loss to the Devils was FAR more important than Gomez's loss but thanks Larry.) Jay Greenberg of the Post says that Sean Avery did a better job of keeping his focus than the Devils did. The Rangers can thank Henrik Lundqvist for saving the game with his penalty shot stop on John Madden. (Writer's note: I love how the NY press always finds reasons for the Devils' loss and the Rangers' victory. Here is the reason: The Rangers are the BETTER team. They are significantly better on paper and have dominated the Devils all season. Sometimes the answer is that simple.)
For Illegal Curve, I'm Richard Pollock.
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