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2011 NHL Playoffs: First Round Update, 4/21

Western Conference

Anaheim Ducks 6, Nashville Predators 3 -- The Ducks have begun to figure out Predators goalie Pekka Rinne, and Nashville let a golden opportunity slip away. With top Anaheim forward Bobby Ryan suspended for their first two home games in the series, the Predators had a chance to go up 3-1 and put Anaheim on the brink of elimination. Instead, Corey Perry,Ryan Getzlaf, and Cam Fowler all had multi-point games. The vaunted Nashville defense has yet to really show up in this series, with the potent Ducks offense carrying the edge (and momentum) back to Anaheim.

Series tied at 2-2.

Detroit Red Wings 6, Phoenix Coyotes 3 -- That's it, series over. The Red Wings completed the sweep, sending the Coyotes franchise into limbo, and without two of their best forwards in this game. The Coyotes gave their hometown crowd hope for the first two periods, playing the suffocating brand of hockey that got them a playoff berth this season, but the Red Wings superior offensive talent took over in the third period. Goals by Danny Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi put the game out of reach. Now, we wait and see what the NHL decides for the Phoenix franchise next season. Expect the announcement shortly, now that the Coyotes have been eliminated from the playoffs.

Detroit wins the series, 4-0.

Eastern Conference

Buffalo Sabres 1, Philadelphia Flyers 0 -- Ryan Miller is the gamechanger in this series, and the Sabres' one true hope of winning the series against a Flyers team that was so consistent in the regular season. Flyers emergency netminded Brian Boucher played his second great game in a row, but was outmatched by Miller, who pitched his second shutout of the series. Jason Pominville scored the only goal of the game halfway through the first period, and that was enough.

Series tied at 2-2.

Pittsburgh Penguins 3, Tampa Bay Lightning 2 (2 OT) -- Give credit to those Penguins. Without their two best players, they have scrounged their way to a dominating series lead over a very talented Lightning squad. James Neal played the hero for Pittsburgh, scoring his first goal of the playoffs (and first since March) three minutes into the second overtime period. Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson was fantastic in defeat, stopping 50 of 53 shots he faced. Unfortunately, he couldn't stop the one that mattered. Pittsburgh heads back home with a chance to close out the series.

Pittsburgh leads the series, 3-1.

Washington Capitals 4, New York Rangers 3 (2 OT) -- What's better than double overtime playoff hockey? How about two simultaneous games headed into double overtime? The Rangers were dominant through the first two periods, and carried a 3-0 lead into the third period. But the Capitals found a way to beat Henrik Lundqvist three times in the third, and send the game into overtime against a rowdy Madison Square Garden crowd. Halfway through the second overtime period, Jason Chimera scored the huge goal for the Capitals. They now have a chance to close out the series on Verizon Center ice.

Washington leads the series, 3-1.

Games To Watch Tonight

Boston Bruins at Montreal Canadiens, 7:00 p.m. EDT, on Versus -- The Bruins fought back in Montreal to get themselves back into this series. Can Tim Thomas steal another game for Boston,  or will the quick Canadiens forwards put the pressure on him early?

Chicago Blackhawks at Vancouver Canucks, 10:00 p.m. EDT, on Versus -- The Blackhawks staved off elimination in dominating fashion, but now the series moves back to Vancouver. The Canucks have been just a bit better in all three games they've won, and certainly want to end this series against the team that has eliminated them the past two seasons. They get their chance on home ice. Lose tonight, and the series gets very interesting.

San Jose Sharks at Los Angeles Kings, 10:30 p.m. EDT -- The most fascinating series of the playoffs continues. The Sharks rebounded from a 4-0 deficit to win in overtime last game. Jonathan Quick and his Kings defensemen need to figure out something, and fast, if they want to stay in this series. They could be up 3-0 in the series, but late game breakdowns have them facing a 2-1 deficit.