Your Weekly Spartans in the NHL Report...

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The NHL playoffs began on Wednesday, bringing some of the greatest hits, the most intense play and the prettiest goals one will ever see on ice. Five Spartans were active this week in the first week of the quarterfinal round. Duncan Keith and the BlackHawks split two games with the Coyotes, with the action shifting to Chicago on Tuesday. Drew Miller, Justin Abdelkader and the Red Wings were 1-2 in three games against the Predators, all decided by the score of 3-2. David Booth and the Canucks are in serious trouble, as Vancouver trails the Kings three games to none, which leaves the Canucks on the verge of elimination. Mike Weaver and the Panthers stand tied with the Devils at one game apiece.

Some highlights for these Spartan warriors:

Defenseman Duncan Keith notched his 23rd playoff assist of his career in Chicago’s thrilling 4-3 overtime victory on Saturday. Keith’s assist came on a goal in the second period to knot the game at two. The BlackHawks later scored with six seconds left in the third period to stun Phoenix and send the game to overtime. Chicago’s Bryan Bickell ended the contest later with a tally halfway through the overtime period.

Drew Miller was credited with an assist on Friday in a 3-2 win over Nashville. His fifth career playoff assist came on an Ian Miller wrist shot that gave the Wings a 1-0 lead in the 1st period. Teammate Justin Abdelkader has been relatively quiet, averaging 12 minutes of ice time, two hits, and one blocked shot in the past three games.

Left winger David Booth has not had any points yet in the Vancouver’s quarterfinal series with Los Angeles, but he has made his presence felt. He had four shots and a hit in game one, six hits in the second game, and one shot and four hits on Sunday in game three.

Mike Weaver has been a major part of Florida’s defense all season, and that hasn’t changed so far in the playoffs. Weaver has averaged four hits and two blocked shots in the past two games against New Jersey.

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