Round 3 Results
Habs Headed to Finals
Two more points from rookie sensation Ilya Kovalchuk led the way for the Canadiens in their 4-3 win over Buffalo in Game 6. Montreal advances to the Stanley Cup finals as Patrick Roy did not perform well at all in the series, and the Sabres needed to be strong in all areas to beat the younger, quicker Canadiens. Ilya Kovalchuk led all rookies this year with 42 points and has turned it up a notch in the postseason, leading the Canadiens with 20 points in 17 games. Brad Isbister's second goal of the playoffs in the first period gave Montreal the lead, but after a goal from Andreas Johansson tied the score, Jere Lehtinen gave the Habs the lead right back. The lead extended to 2 goals after Andy Delmore scored 43 seconds into the third period.
Ducks to Join Habs as Both Top Seeds Advance
Despite a lot of strong competition this season neither the Ducks nor the Canadiens had any major scares in their series. The Ducks for a while were stymied by the hot hand of goalie Robert Esche, but after beating him at home in Game 5, their opponents the Sharks decided to go back to Khabibulin as they faced elimination in Game 6. And for a while it didn't look like it mattered much as the Ducks only got 5 shots on goal in the first 40 minutes of the game. But thanks to solid defense and great goaltending from Tommy Salo, the Ducks were still in the game as the Sharks had just a 1-0 lead going into the third period. The Ducks tied it early on with a goal from Josef Stumpel. The tension mounted as the period wore on and neither team gave up many chances, but a flurry of goals came in the final 3 minutes. The Ducks scored on the power play to take the lead 2-1. Alexei Yashin had been called for a boneheaded unsportsmanlike conduct call after jawing at the ref for too long. To avoid the lynching that might have been waiting for him in the streets of San Jose after the game, Yashin came out of the box and scored a goal 16 seconds after the ensuing faceoff. The crowd gathered their breaths and prayed for a quick end to the period so they could regroup for overtime, but the Ducks would have none of that. The Oates-Forsberg-Palffy line, which has been deadly all postseason long, hooked up with only 23 seconds left in the game. Forsberg's shot attempt rebounded out to the circlee where Palffy was waiting, and he ripped it off the post and into the net, stunning the Sharks and their fans, and giving the Ducks the 3-2 win.