We are almost through the first round of the playoffs and it's hard to even begin to explain the NHL playoffs so far? Most unheard of is the fact that home teams have a 19-25 record thus far. What about the vast amount of three goal leads that have evaporated on almost a nightly basis? LA, Montreal, Buffalo, and the NY Rangers all coughed up big leads. Or maybe even a 3-0 series lead that the Vancouver Canucks are on the verge of choking up. Here are a few thoughts of what we noticed in the playoffs thus far:
- Detroit needed a quick first round and was fortunate to draw the Coyotes who probably could not handle the off ice issues any longer. Valuable rest time make the Red Wings look to be in the drivers seat in the West.
- Vancouver GM Mike Gillis can complain about the officiating all he wants, and is probably smart by deflecting the pressure on him, but how does a team lose 7-2 in Game 4 and then 5-0 at home in game 5? We thought Chicago played well the first two games, and could of won Game 3 with better luck. Dave Bolland has been stellar for the Hawks since returning from injury. It's amazing how much confidence the Hawks are playing with now. We thought it wasn't a bad idea to go to Schneider in goal for the Canucks in game 6. Now that he is hurt and Luongo is starting Canuck fans need to cross their fingers tonight.
- Watched every minute of the Kings-Sharks series, and even watched some of the games twice. I'll say this, San Jose better pick it up the next round if they think they'll advance. Dan Boyle, Antti Niemi, and the Sharks power play struggled this series. The Kings scored 20 goals in the six games, which is a lot since the Kings struggled to score all regular season and especially when Kopitar went down. Both teams were very sloppy at times and the Sharks depth on offense proved to be the reason why they won. If San Jose turns the puck over like they did against LA versus Detroit or Chicago it might be a quick exit for them. However, it is a good sign for the Sharks that Joe Thronton scored two huge goals in this series.
- For the bits and pieces that I watched of the Nashville-Anaheim series it was the most entertaining of all. In the end, it appeared that the speedy Nashville forwards gave the Ducks defense too much trouble at times. Bobby Ryan scored the highlight goal of the playoffs and the Ducks hung in without Jonas Hiller and with Lubomir Visnovsky playing hurt. Hard to believe that the defensive minded Predators have scored the most goals(22) of any team this postseason.
- The three ring circus that is the Philadelphia Flyers goaltending is back again. Game 5 Boucher gets pulled. Game 6 Leighton pulled. Sergei Bobrovsky began the series as the starter but was pulled in Game 2 and has been the press box since. Brian Boucher gets the start tonight.
- The NY Rangers mustered only eight goals in their series against Washington. Think they missed Ryan Callahan?
- The defensively minded Capitals seem to have the best home ice advantage in the playoffs at the Verizon Center. Plus we're realizing how good of a goalie Michal Neuvirth really is.
- Teemu Selanne scoring six goals in the playoffs is remarkable. Can't say enough about him doing what he does at the age of 40.
- Having trouble getting into the Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay series but it's going to a Game 7 and the Penguins power play is 1-30. Speaking of players in their 40's, Dwayne Roloson deserves lot's of credit for keeping the Lightning in that series.
- Game six tonight in Montreal and we don't expect the Canadiens to go down easy. Tim Thomas made the save of the playoffs in double overtime to deprive Montreal of a win in Game 5. The Canadiens have yet to give up a power play goal to Boston and are getting stellar goaltending from Carey Price. We predict this series goes to a Game 7 tomorrow.
- Speaking of predictions, We'll take last seasons' cup finalists the Flyers and Blackhawks to win crucial Game 7's tonight.
- We will also mute the Versus network during intermission when Keith Jones or Jeremy Roenick attempt to analyze the game of hockey.
Enjoy the games tonight!