The 2011 NHL playoffs schedule only shows one team eliminated so far. But that will change soon enough, as several teams could be out of the playoffs quite shortly. Friday night’s schedule put two more teams on the brink of leaving the NHL postseason, to go along with the Rangers, Kings, and Blackhawks and Lightning. It took quick a while to figure out who would face a 3-2 deficit, but eventually, the Flyers and Ducks got put on the edge with overtime home losses.
The Flyers-Sabres and Predators-Ducks series have gone back and forth, with the team each splitting their first four games. But Philadelphia and Anaheim had home ice advantage going into Game 5 on Friday, although they struggled to take advantage.
For the Flyers, they faced a quick 3-0 deficit and had to make yet another goalie change – this time pulling Brian Boucher for Michael Leighton. Yet the Philadelphia offense came through afterward, as they ran up three straight goals to force overtime. However, Buffalo rose back up in the extra session, as Tyler Ennis drilled in a rebound for a 4-3 victory.
In last year’s playoffs, the Flyers and Blackhawks were the final teams left in the NHL, and now they could both be eliminated early in 2011. But the 2010 schedule showed how Philadelphia could rally from bigger postseason deficits than 3-2, with their 3-0 comeback over Boston. Of course, they started that run by upsetting second seeded New Jersey, and now the Flyers could be knocked out as a second seed themselves.
Later on, another even series would break its 2-2 tie, with a 4-3 overtime win by a road team. In this case, the road team was Nashville, as they got back ahead of Anaheim with a stunning rally. The Ducks held a 3-2 lead with under a minute left, before Shea Weber scored with 35.3 seconds left. For good measure, Jerred Smithson gave the Predators the win two minutes into overtime.
With this sudden turn of events, the Predators are closer than ever before to their first postseason series win. The playoffs have been a house of horrors for Nashville, as they had never even won three games in one series until Friday night. But the NHL may have a newcomer in round two soon enough.
Both Nashville and Buffalo won Game 1 on the road, and then took Game 5 in thrilling fashion, leaving them to clinch upset victories at home. Over the next weekend, the 2011 playoff schedule could send out the Flyers, Rangers, Ducks, Blackhawks, Lightning and Kings in quick order, unless they have one more rally in them. The Rangers, Lightning and Kings will try to save themselves today, while the Flyers and Ducks attempt to force a Game 7 tomorrow.
NHL.com- “2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs Quarterfinals Schedule”
Philly.com-“Flyers battle back but fall in OT”
Yahoo Sports- “Predators make dramatic comeback, beat Ducks in OT”