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Kings take 3-0 lead, Canucks have back against the wall

The Pro Side

By Jimmy Onofrio
On April 18, 2012

The NHL playoffs are finally underway, so here are some thoughts from the first week:

Bruins vs. Capitals: Fans have already been treated to three overtime periods in this series, and postseason play means the games don't go to shootout. Three periods of scoreless play were agonizing to watch in Game 1, but Chris Kelly's long slapshot a minute into overtime put Boston in the winner's column first. Game two went to two overtimes, but Monday night's game three is when the series really got exciting. High sticking, checking and four goals scored in the last period and a half made for a much different playing atmosphere than the first two games. Zdeno Chara's goal with just under two minutes to go gave the Bruins a 2-1 series lead with another game in D.C. on Thursday before returning to Boston.

Penguins vs. Flyers: Maybe I'm biased as a Flyers fan, but this has been the most exciting series to watch. Seven Flyers and six Penguins have scored at least four points in three games. Philadelphia has scored 20 goals so far, impressive even for one of the best offenses in the league. Sunday afternoon's game was as fun to watch for the fights as it was for the scoring. The teams combined for almost 160 penalty minutes, including five-minute majors for fighting for three Flyers and two Penguins. Philly took four out of six from the Penguins in the regular season, but never did they look as in control as they have in these first three games. Pittsburgh will have to win on the road in Philly on Wednesday if they want to stay alive, but it will be up to their defense to hold the Flyers to fewer than five goals if it's going to happen.

Canucks vs. Kings: Watching Vancouver collapse against Los Angeles has been a spectacle in itself. Maybe it's an indication of parity that the No. 8 seed in the West has taken the first three from the No. 1 seed. Maybe it's proof that the Presidents' Trophy does not mean anything. Vancouver will also have to win on the road to stay alive.

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