After finishing the 2010 season with the most points in the Western Conference, and garnering the # 1 seed; the San Jose Sharks are now in the Western Conference Finals. The trip certainly wasn’t easy, after getting off to a slow start in the opening series against Colorado; the Sharks made quick work of the defending Western Conference Champion Detroit Red Wings.
The Sharks used goals from Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton, to bounce back from the big loss in game four. Goaltender Evegeni Nabokov saved 33 of the 34 shots thrown at him to help with the win. The Sharks will now play the winner of the Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks series, for the right to go to the Stanley Cup Finals.
In that series, Sunday night will be the fifth game of the series. The Canucks started the series with a win at the Madhouse on Madison, but since then it has been all Chicago. The Blackhawks scored 7 goals in their rout over the Canucks on Friday night’s game four. Johnathan Toews scored three goals and added two assists, while goaltender Antti Neimi won his third straight game. If the Canucks can win in Chicago for the second time in the series, game six will head back to Vancouver on Tuesday May 11th. Game 7, if needed will be played Thursday May 13th.
The Eastern Conference representative is also narrowed down to four as the Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens are on the verge of elimination. Both series will play Monday, as the Boston Bruins will look to eliminate Philadelphia at home, while the Canadiens will host Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. Both teams would play again on Wednesday May 12th if needed, with game 7 of the Philadelphia/Boston series coming on Friday.
The leading scorer in the 2010 postseason, despite being eliminated is Joe Franzen of Detroit. Johnathan Toews and Sidney Crosby are just behind Franzen. Ryan Miller has the best goals against average, for the Sabres. He allowed just 2.35 goals per game, but his team was eliminated. As a team, the Canucks lead in postseason goals with 3.80 per game, while Detroit finished at 3.50, and Chicago sits at 3.40.
The Stanley Cup Finals will extend into June of 2010, as the season was extended due to the 2010 Winter Olympics, which were held in Vancouver. Last season, the Pittsburgh Penguins downed the Detroit Red Wings.