Washington Capitals 4, Boston Bruins 3 (WAS leads series, 3-2)
New Jersey Devils 0, Florida Panthers 3 (FLA leads series, 3-2)
Ottawa Senators 2, New York Rangers 0 (OTT leads series, 3-2)
San Jose Sharks 1, St. Louis Blues 3 (STL wins series, 4-1)
Chicago Blackhawks 2, Phoenix Coyotes 1 (OT) (PHO leads series, 3-2)
Those Who Shined
1. Craig Anderson, Goaltender, Ottawa Senators
Could we really be witnessing a postseason in which both top seeds are eliminated in the opening round? Thanks to Craig Anderson, it’s looking that way. Anderson stopped all 41 shots that he faced in a crucial game 5 at Madison Square Garden Saturday night to lift the Senators to a 3-2 advantage in the series. This was just another example of how dominate he has been in this series, as he has posted a 1.79 goals against average, which is more than a goal lower then his regular season total. Keep in mind that he is tallying these numbers against a Rangers offense that ended the year ranked 11th in the NHL in goals per game, so they’re no easy team to stop. Because of Ottawa’s victory on the shoulders of Anderson, they will have a chance to close at the series on their home ice on Monday.
2. Jose Theodore, Goaltender, Florida Panthers
The Panthers are now one win away from winning their first playoff series since 1996 and Jose Theodore is a big reason for that success. He posted his first shutout of the 2012 postseason after sending away all 30 snipes from the Devils. This marked the first time in any of the games that New Jersey was held below two goals, which came at the perfect time since the winner of game five in the NHL advances through their series 80 percent of the time. Florida also did well to protect their home ice, so that guarantees a game seven back at the BankAtlantic Center (even though they would like to close out the series in six, ha!). It’ll be interesting to see if Theodore and his Panthers ride this momentum into the final road showdown, or if the topsy-turvey nature of this series continues.
3. Jason Spezza, Center, Ottawa Senators
Look, I don’t mean to dwell on one contest when there were four others throughout the day on Saturday; but, Jason Spezza’s performance is more then worthy of highlighting. Spezza scored both goals for the Senators, which makes him probably just as important as Craig Anderson in helping the troops advance to a game six with the series lead in hand. However, these two tallies were significant for another reason as well. Entering game five, Spezza, one of the league’s most prolific scorers, had scored just one goal in his last 19 playoff games — a statistic that almost doesn’t seem real, I know. Perhaps this outbreak will lead to an offensive explosion off of his stick the rest of the way.