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2010 NHL playoffs: Upsets galore on opening night

The first night of playoff hockey did not disappoint. Three upsets out of four and all games were decided by one goal, in a night that had plenty of hitting, skill, goaltending prowess and even a snake thrown out on the ice.

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Pittsburgh Penguins 4, Ottawa Senators 5 - Senators lead series 1-0.

This was NOT the game that showcased great goaltending. Marc-Ander Fleury looked unsure of himself and was nowhere near the confident goaltender that took his team to the Stanley Cup finals the past two seasons, and was spraying rebounds all over the ice. You have to hand to the Senators, however; they were able to contain and frustrate the Penguins for much of the game, and it wasn’t until the score was nearly out of reach that the Crosby and the Pens woke up. Yet everytime that the Penguins would score, the Senators would answer right back. The Penguins now face questions of inconsistency and suddenly fragile goaltender in net, while the Senators continue to build confidence.

Next game: Friday, Apr. 16; 7:00 p.m. EDT

New Jersey Devils 1, Philadelphia Flyers 2 - Flyers lead series 1-0

This wasn’t exactly the knock down, dragged out brawl I half-expected it to be; in fact, the Flyers and Devils had the least amount of hits total out of all four games. The Devils were just completely disinterested to showing any intensity in the game, and when they had a chance in the third period to seriously close the gap on the 2-0 deficit with a four-minute power play, mustered hardly any attack at all.

The Devils were outworked in front of their own net and Martin Brodeur allowed two goals on just 14 shots. Still, plenty of credit goes to the Flyers, who were lead by a solid performance in net by Brian Boucher and showed confidence in themselves and each other for 60 minutes.

Next game: Friday, Apr. 16; 7:30 p.m. EDT

San Jose Sharks 1, Colorado Avalanche 2 - Avalanche lead series 1-0

Uh oh...can you see the wagons circling? The Sharks entered the postseason with nothing but questions about how they would perform in the playoffs -- once again -- and nothing from the game tonight did much to quell those fears. You have to hand it to Colorado, however, who’s confidence, speed and stamina outlasted the top seed in the West, while Craig Anderson once again proved why he was perhaps the best free agent signing of the season.

Not all is lost. Evgeni Nabokov was great, and it’s just one game. Sharks fans can all calm down. For a day at least.

Next game: Friday, Apr. 16; 10:30 p.m. EDT

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Phoenix Coyotes 3, Detroit Red Wings 2 - Coyotes lead series 1-0

As expected, this was the game of the night. The atmosphere at Arena was absolutely electric, and the Phoenix Coyotes overcame an early 2-1 deficit to take out the much more experienced Red Wings. It was exactly Dave Tippett hockey; the Coyotes allowed 40 shots on goal and have the brilliance of Ilya Bryzgalov to thank for the victory. But in the end, it was the team approach by the Coyotes and and every player on the ice selling out to preserve the lead that netted one heck of a victory.

On the other side, the Red Wings were outworked and outhustled by the Coyotes for the final 40 minutes of the game, and only Pavel Datsyuk showed any true life for the Red Wings down the stretch.

There is still plenty of hockey to be played, and the Coyotes cannot become too elated based on one win. But for the Coyotes fans and the franchise, what a tremendous night.

Next game: Friday, Apr. 16, 10:00 p.m. EDT