With the Predators out of the playoffs for the first time since 2003, and my dad hogging all the bandwidth at PredsOnTheGlass, I would like to thank RLD for asking me to contribute my thoughts and observations during the playoffs. Today, I will take a look at where things stand after Game one in every series.
Pittsburgh – Philadelphia: Since firing Michel Therrien, Pittsburgh has been a force to recon with, going into the playoffs 17-3-4 under their new coach, Dan Bylsma.
The Penguins carried that force with them into Game One in Pittsburgh, completely dominating the Flyers, 4-1.
The Penguins started their onslaught with a very controversial goal, 4:41 into the first period, with a Sidney Crosby, power play goal. The puck went off of Crosby’s skate before hitting the posts, which then deflected off Marty Biron’s skate, thus voiding the kicking motion. When watching the game from the Nashville Predator’s Tweetup, I was more concerned wondering if the net was knocked off it’s mooring before the puck crossed the line. I wasn’t really watching for a kicking motion.
Late in the third period, Simon Gange ruined Marc-Andre Fleury’s shut out for the Flyers’ only goal and showed that the Flyers still had a little life in them.
Of course this old in-state rivalry had its fair share of scrums, with players on both benches getting in each other’s faces after almost every play. With seven seconds left in the game, Daniel Carcillo apparently used the butt-end of his stick to assault Maxime Talbot. Carcillo was suspended for one game and Coach John Stevens was fined $10,000.
New York (Rangers) – Washington: A lot of people were putting down the Caps as a shoe in win over these Rangers, but it seems that the Rangers have really pulled together to put up a fight. I personally picked the Rangers to win in six games.
Brandon Dubinksky scored the game winning goal 11:43 into the final period of the game. The Ranger’s held that lead for the remainder of the game to be the only high seeded team to win a game so far.
Alexander Ovechkin had 13 shots on goal. That is INSANE. I’m usually surprised to see seven or eight, but 13? That’s unbelievable.
A lot of the Ranger’s success was credited to Henrik Lundqvist during the regular season and that will have to be a continuous factor here in the playoffs if the Rangers expect to move on to the next round.
Carolina – New Jersey: Going into the playoffs, it seemed New Jersey was losing their fire, but they proved that were still capable of winning games.
The New Jersey Devils came out with a great effort to overcome the red hot Carolina Hurricanes, winning 4-1. The Devils did a really good job of limiting the Hurricane’s chances all through out the game, only allowing them 19 shots.
I just hope Marty Brodeur can continue to play as well as he did on Thursday throughout the rest of the series.
Boston – Montreal: As everyone knew this was going to be a very physical series seeing as how you got one of the more bitter rivalries in the history of the game.
It was definitely a battle to the end, as Boston held off Montreal’s goalie pull power play in a last ditche effort to tie it up. Phil Kessel sealed the deal with the empty netter with 16 seconds left in the game.
It was really fun to see scrums develop after the empty netter and at the end of the game. That bitterness is exactly what you would expect from this series and guarantees that there will be carry over into game two.
San Jose – Anaheim: A lot of people had little hope for Anaheim to come out tonight with a win, but they came out with the biggest upset so far in these playoffs, winning 2-0 in San Jose where the Sharks had the best home record in the league this year.
Going into the third scoreless, it was anyone’s game. 5:18 into that period, Scott Niedermayer took a beautiful feed from Ryan Getzlaf to get the game-winning goal. The Ducks sealed the deal with a Ryan Getzlaf goal very late in the third.
A lot of credit should go to Jonas Hiller who made 35 saves in his first ever playoff game. Congrats to him on the shutout!
The area where the Sharks really missed out on was their power play. They had five solid chances, but didn’t even make any decent attempts on any of them. What’s up with that?
Detroit – Columbus: Detroit showed why they were the defending Stanley Cup Champions tonight against the playoff virgins Columbus Blue Jackets.
The game-winning goal came from the point on a shot from Johnathan Ericsson, that was deflected out of the air by Manny Malhorta’s glove. If he had not tried to grab it, Ken Hitchcock said "That's an easy, simple save for Mason." Someone’s in the doghouse it sounds like!
Chris Osgood’s claim to being ready for the playoffs has been proven to be true so far. Can he bring it every night? We’ll see.
Vancouver – St. Louis: Possibly the best story of the year from any team is the St. Louis Blues’ drive to the playoffs. They are the team I’m rooting for in the playoffs.
In the first game on Wednesday, there were a combined total of 15 minor penalties and two misconducts.
The game winning goal, from Vancouver, was on one of those many power play opportunities from Sami Salo 5:11 into the second period.
The Blues caught a little gleam of hope 1:44 left in the second when Brad Boyes scored on the power play.
Vancouver managed to hold off the Blues attack for the remainder of the game and take the lead in the series.
Chicago – Calgary: This is another one of those “Oh this team is slumping so I’m going to assume they can’t win a hockey game” type of series.
Marty Havlat of the Chicago Blackhawks had a tremendous night, scoring the game-tying goal and then game-winning goal 12 seconds into overtime. This came close to beating the old record of nine seconds for the quickest game winning goal in overtime.
Miikka Kiprusoff will be the deciding factor in this series. In the final games during the regular season, Kipper was letting in anything that was thrown at him. He played a fairly decent game tonight.
Karma had it’s payback in game one. 52 Seconds into the third period, Mike Cammalleri took a cheap shot at Marty Havlat during a faceoff. He received a hi-sticking penalty. I don’t think he should be given a suspension for it, though he probably will. It’s the playoffs and emotions are high. The punch didn’t have enough on it to do serious damage but it did come back to haunt Calgary when Havlat scored twice to sink the Flames.
That’s all I have for this week but I’ll be back next week with more. Thanks again to the RLD for asking me to be a guest writer throughout the playoffs.
Jackson Oakes for The Red Light District
Jackson Oakes writes for PredsOnTheGlass.com and has a weekly radio show on BlogTalkRadio on Monday nights.
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