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Lundqvist, Lidstrom, Sedin Brothers All Get off to Very Different Playoff Starts

The Stanley Cup Playoffs kicked off in full swing yesterday with some very interesting opening games throughout the Eastern and Western Conference. The Detroit Red Wings were missing key center Henrik Zetterberg but were able to shake off a slow start and pick up a much needed Game 1 win over the hardworking Phoenix Coyotes. Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers opened the scoring in their series against Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals, until the Russian sniper jammed at a loose pick with 6 minutes to go in the third to tie the game and force the first overtime of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Henrik and Daniel Sedin's Vancouver Canucks picked up a much needed 2 - 0 Game 1 shutout of their nemesis the Chicago Blackhawks.

With all 3 teams looking towards Game 2 of their respective series, it's the Canucks who find themselves needing to keep their foot in the gas. The past two years, the Canucks have opened their series against the Blackhawks with a win, only to have Chicago come back in Game 2 and set the tone for the rest of the series and even the set at 1 - 1. The two biggest positives for the Vancouver Canucks is that they physically dominated Chicago and that Swedish defenseman Alexander Edler was a force on defense all night.

Look for Edler to continue progressing into the physical, two-way, dominant defenseman the Canucks had hoped he would be. Heading into Game 2, the Canucks should continue to ride their depth on defense and the play of Edler in hopes of taking a 2- 0 series lead. This Canucks team looks to be more confident and business like than ever before, their leaders, Henrik and Daniel Sedin, realize that their effort in Game 1 means nothing if they don't continue to push for a win in Game 2. Expect a strong outing from the Canucks again, with what should be enough to lead them to another win.


For the Rangers and Lundqvist, they played well defensively in Game 1, but they will need to produce more offense in Game 2 to have a chance at beating the Capitals. Containing Ovechkin and Backstrom is easier said than done, and if they happen to get on the score sheet, Marion Gaborik will need to respond offensively, but his supporting cast may not provide him enough support to do so. I expect a much more fluid offensive game from the Capitals, the Rangers may be in trouble and go down 2 - 0.

The Coyotes battled hard and took control of the first period of Game 1 against the Red Wings, the turning point of the game came early, when they couldn't capitalize on a long 5 on 3 man advantage, the Red Wings completely took the game over in the second period, with Johan Franzen and Niklas Lidstrom leading the way for the Red Wings. Detroit knows that Phoenix will give them a game every night, this series is closer than people think so I expect the Coyotes to bounce back and get the split in Detroit that they came looking for. The health of Henrik Zetterberg will be a story to watch, but as of right now, he is still listed as day to day for Game 2.

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