Thursday April 15th, 2010

Brian Boucher, Philadelphia: Making his first playoff start in eight years, Boucher stopped 23 of 24 shots to lead Philly to a surprising 2-1 series-opening win in New Jersey. The third stringer employed the same calm, economical style that he used to defeat the Rangers in the regular season finale, frustrating several odd-man rushes and holding the fort during a four-minute penalty kill early in the third period. It's too early to say that he's addressed the questions about team's goaltending, but with a win in the bank, Boucher's answered a quarter of them.

Derek Morris, Phoenix: The Coyotes relied heavily on their blueline for offense during the regular season, so it was no surprise they were led by a defender in their first playoff win since moving to Phoenix. Morris ripped a 50-foot slapper over the glove of Jimmy Howard during an early third period power play, and the goal stood up as the clincher in the Coyotes' 3-2 win over Detroit. It was the first career postseason tally for Morris, who also assisted on power-play goals by Keith Yandle and Wojtek Wolski.

Chris Stewart, Colorado: His tie-breaking goal with less than a minute remaining will go down as the highlight of Colorado's 2-1 win in San Jose, but Stewart cast a menacing shadow throughout the series opener. The burly winger launched four shots at the Sharks' net and was credited with two blocks and two hits (though that number might have been a bit shy of his actual total). The winner wasn't exactly a thing of beauty -- it was intended as a centering pass from the right corner before bouncing off Rob Blake's skate and behind Evgeni Nabokov -- but it certainly made up for the early penalty Stewart took that tilted the ice dangerously in San Jose's favor.

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