We are a week into the NHL playoffs and already have seen some very exciting games. Here is my take on each series thus far:
FLA vs. NYI – I honestly thought FLA would take it to the Islanders, who are without a starting goalie. Reilly Smith has been an absolute beast for the Panthers, but it just hasn’t been enough to quiet Tavares and Co.. Maybe FLA is too young and inexperienced for the playoffs? Luongo needs to be better. He needs to steal the series and Jagr needs to get rolling. Otherwise these guys are going to make me eat my lunch…….
WSH vs. PHI – Washington has proven that they are the real deal. Holtby, even though he left practice recently has shown no signs of wear and tear and Carlson has been one of the best players on the ice. The Caps powerplay is unreal right now and is aided by the struggling defense of the Flyers, including goaltender Steve Mason. I hate to leave ‘Mase’ hung out to dry, but he has got to be better than that.
The Flyers fans in game three were an absolute disgrace. I hope that they can show some class tonight and redeem what little respect anyone has left for them, especially if the Caps finish the sweep, which could very likely happen. When you have guys like Wayne Simmonds, who are ‘heart & soul’ blue collar players telling the fans to stop acting like fools, it’s pretty sad. It’s even more embarrassing when the acts are so disgraceful that the Flyers players are agitated by it. You are the home crowd, you’re supposed to support and uplift your team, not bring them down. The Flyers limped into the playoffs, the fans should be lucky they get to see two more games. Simply appalling and leaves a bad taste in the mouth of this Flyers fan.
TB vs. DET – A rivalry in the making has also had some interesting moments. The whole Abdelkader situation is blown out of the water and hyped by a media who simply doesn’t understand the sport. This time in the season is the most intense and emotional of all the major sports. Not only are you battling tooth and nail every night, but you are going up against the same opponent every shift. This isn’t basketball where superstar players allow other superstar players a free drive to the net, a la James Harden. This is a battle, a war, and to see Abdelkader go a little crazy is nothing out of the ordinary.
The people calling him out for not answering the bell against Boyle are a little off their rockers as well. I understand, take what you dish out, but c’mon. He knows he doesn’t stand a chance toe-to-toe with Boyle and he also knows that is a win-win situation in favor of the opposing team. He is worth more to Detroit than Boyle is worth to TB. End of story.
I figured Detroit would put up a better fight and although the Russian fat lady hasn’t come calling for Datsyuk just yet, it sure looks she’s getting her vocal cords ready.
PIT vs. NYR – Blah. The series hasn’t had much to show for it. Typical Rangers vs Pens hockey. Haven’t really gotten much into this series honestly and probably won’t until it comes down to the wire, which it probably will.
MIN vs. DAL – Another series that has been pretty uneventful with the exception of Minnesota’s comeback last game. They absolutely needed that, although I think Dallas will probably close the door on them at home in game 5.
STL vs. CHI – This series has been a great one to watch. This is really a clash of the titans and probably the most difficult of the series to predict. How many times can you root against the Hawks only to see them win another playoff series? Unfortunately for them STL has taken a commanding 3-1 series lead heading home and with the hottest goaltender in the NHL. Will the Hawks be able to overcome this deficit? Will they be able to solve the Elliot puzzle? Will Crawford continue to fight opponents?
NSH vs. ANH – Probably the most surprising of series thus far. I don’t think anyone, aside from MAYBE Nashville fans, thought that the Preds would take both games on the road. Anaheim kept it a series by winning in dominant fashion last night and I think we see a repeat of Nashville’s first round last year; start hot, end cold and golfing by May 1st.
SJ vs. LA – Could the Sharks be the team this year? Could they finally get to the promise land? It would be great to see guys like Thornton, Marleau and Pavleski win a Cup, but it’s only the first round and they have lost in historic fashion to the Kings in the past. Obviously tonight’s game is huge for them. I have to admit seeing LA and CHI both down 3-1 in the first round would make me happy. These two teams have dominated the Western landscape come playoff time for the last 6 seasons, it is time for some fresh faces.