[Ed. note -- Front Page'd]
Fifteen former BC Eagles saw their NHL clubs in first round action during the NHL playoffs, and a third of them are lucky enough to still be in the hunt for the Stanley Cup. Here's a look at their performance in the first round.
No Eagles shone brighter than the ones on Broadway. Brian Boyle and Chris Kreider were two of the best players on the Rangers roster - and arguably their best forwards - throughout the first round, despite the fact that neither saw action in all seven games. Boyle scored in each of the first three games, including the game winners in both Games One and Three, before being concussed in Game Five and missing the remainder of the series. Despite missing the final two games, Boyle's three goals remain tops on the team for the first round. Kreider was a healthy scratch for Games One and Two, the entered the line-up while Carl Hagelin served his three game suspension. After a tentative first few games, Kreider was the Rangers best forward in Games 6 and 7, playing key minutes on the second line and netting the game winner - his first professional goal - in Game Six. He also forced a turnover that led directly to the Rangers first goal in Game Seven. Boyle returned to practice today, fueling speculation that he may be healthy enough for to skate in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals tomorrow afternoon.
On the other side of the Hudson, both Stephen Gionta and Peter Harrold played in all seven games for the Devils. Gionta scored in Games Three and Seven, added an assist in Game Four, and finished the series at a team best plus five. Harrold added three helpers of his own, including one on Gionta's Game Seven goal, and finished at a plus two for the series.
Rob Scuderi is the fifth and final former Eagle advancing to the Conference Semifinals, as his Los Angeles Kings upset the President's Trophy winning Canucks. Scuderi skated in all five games, recording no points, a plus one, and four penalty minutes while averaging just over twenty minutes a game.
Amongst the former Eagles not advancing, Cory Schneider had perhaps the best opening round. After Roberto Luongo struggled in losses in Game One and Two, Schneider took over starting duties for the remainder of the series, posting a 1.31 goals against average and a 0.960 save percentage while picking up Vancouver's only win of the series. In the days since Vancouver's season ended, Luongo has reportedly requested a trade, leaving the restricted free agent to be Schneider as the presumptive new starter for one of the League's best teams. Andrew Alberts, the other former Eagle on Vancouver's roster, was scratched for all five games.
Pittsburgh was the only other club to see multiple former Eagles in action, as Brooks Orpik skated in all six games, and Ben Lovejoy in two. Despite entering the playoffs as the Vegas favorite to win the Cup, Pittsburgh played an ugly series against Philly. Orpik finished pointless with four penalty minutes and a minus one while finishing second on the team playing more than 22 minutes a night. Lovejoy was also pointless and finished at minus two. He committed a critical third period turnover in Game Two, leading to the Flyers tying up the game, and was scratched for the remainder of the series as Mats Niskanen was healthy enough to return to the line-up.
Scott Clemmensen saw action between the pipes in three of Florida's seven games. After pitching a 19 save shutout in 54 minutes of relief action in Game Three, Clemmensen was given the start in Game Four. After losing that contest Clemmensen went back to the bench, only to start Game Six when Jose Theodore was injured and could not play. Clemmensen was a tough luck loser in that one, making 42 saves in a losing effort. He finished the series with a 2.34 goals against average and a 0.920 save percentage, both marks infinitesimally better than Theodore's.
After being a health scracth for the first five games of the series, an injury to Joe Corvo allowed Mike Mottau out of the press box for the final two games of the Bruins' series against Washington. Mottau skated to a minus one in both games, without recording a point nor a penalty, and averaged just over ten minutes of ice time.
Jimmy Hayes was the final former Eagle to see first round action. A healthy scratch for Games One through Four, Hayes cracked the line-up for the final two games of the series. After skating to a minus one in ten minutes of ice time in Game Five, Hayes earned a major and a game misconduct for a boarding penalty in the third period of Game Six. Already down 2-0, Chicago gave up a goal on the ensuing power play, effectively ending their season.
Hayes' teammate Ben Smith saw no playoff action following hernia surgery in March, while the concussion suffered by Patrick Eaves back in November kept him out of Detroit's opening round loss to Nashville. Benn Ferriero was a healthy scratch for all five games of San Jose's opening round loss to St. Louis.