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Antti Niemi holds strong in first, Chicago up 2-0

May 5, 2010, 10:30 PM EST

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If things keep going this way, Cinco de Mayo might become a holiday for Finnish goalies too. Tuukka Rask provided outstanding goaltending in the Bruins’ win against the Flyers while fellow countrymen Antti Niemi came up big for Chicago in the first period.

The Blackhawks hold a 2-0 lead largely because their goalie is outplaying Vancouver’s. Niemi’s 16 saves had a high degree of difficulty, particularly one he made when Daniel Sedin found himself alone in front of the Chicago net. Roberto Luongo, on the other hand, is clearly struggling so far. Both of the goals he allowed came because he’s having trouble controlling rebounds, with Dustin Byfuglien’s powerplay goal being an especially bad case.

The Canucks actually controlled much of the play in the period but still haven’t punctured Niemi. It might take a little while for things to pick up for Vancouver, though, as they will need to serve yet another Too Many Men on the Ice penalty to start the second period. There is one bit of good “news” though; apparently the Canucks are 3-0 so far in the playoffs when giving up the game’s first goal.

One other noteworthy moment came when Daniel Sedin and Dave Bolland got into a little skirmish during a Canucks powerplay. The two low-key forwards exchanged some fisticuffs and trash talk, with Sedin being agitated enough to keep flapping his jaws while in the penalty box. Something tells me the Blackhawks will take that Bolland-for-Sedin trade-off every single time, though.

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