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April 14, 2012

Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday (tmi3rd)

Hi there, folks. It's certainly been quite a news week, so let's do the palate cleanser with today's Stanley Cup Playoffs thread.

Today's games:

#7 Washington at #2 Boston, 3 PM EDT, NBC; Boston leads series 1-0

#8 Ottawa at #1 NY Rangers, 7 PM EDT, NBC Sports Network; NY leads series 1-0

#7 San Jose at #2 St. Louis, 7:30 PM EDT, CNBC; San Jose leads series 1-0

#6 Chicago at #3 Phoenix, 10:30 PM EDT, NBC Sports Network; Phoenix leads series 1-0


So all of the series are underway as of last night. There have been a few surprises, to be sure.

The biggest head-scratcher is the Penguins-Flyers matchup (currently 2-0 Flyers). In Game 1, the Pens jumped out to a 3-0 lead before surrendering four unanswered goals. In fairness, Danny Briere's first tally was visibly offside, but the linesman missed it.

In Game 2, Sidney Crosby tallied 15 seconds into the game, and the Pens led until 3 seconds remained in the second period. They led again in the third period on a Tyler Kennedy goal, but surrendered that lead 17 seconds later, before ultimately succumbing 8-5. Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux each had a hat trick (3 goals), and the Pens surrendered 2 (!) shorthanded goals in the loss. Adding insult to injury, the game-winning goal was scored by former Penguin great Jaromir Jagr. Needless to say, the inability of the Pens to maintain a lead is quite a change from the regular season.

Sticking with the 4-5 matchup, Nashville and Detroit are tied at 1 after exchanging 3-2 wins in Nashville. To the surprise of many folks, Nashville D Shea Weber was not suspended after a WWE-style head slam on Detroit C Henrik Zetterberg. He was, however, fined $2500 for his transgression, which means that he might have to wait a whole extra game before buying that next purse for the girlfriend or wife.

As an editorial remark- I'm a Preds fan and therefore grateful that Weber wasn't suspended for that pretty stupid move. I expected him to sit a game for it, and was pretty surprised that that didn't happen. I think Red Wings fans have a legitimate gripe there. Drew M. noted the irony of Todd Bertuzzi being the one to dispense the justice over a cheap shot. Nonetheless, that's the hockey code, and hopefully, that settles it for the rest of the series and we can just concentrate on hockey now.

Moving on, Detroit has been superhuman on the penalty kill against the regular season's best power play, and this has allowed them to take liberties with the Predators with relative impunity.

One of the bigger surprises has been the Western Conference 1-8 matchup with Vancouver and Los Angeles. LA gave up a goal early to Vancouver in Game 1, but methodically worked their way back into the game and took the lead in the second period. Vancouver tied it, but G Roberto Luongo failed to make a save late in the third period, and LA went on to win 4-2.

In Game 2, Vancouver surrendered 2 (!) shorthanded goals by Kings RW Dustin Brown early, then a power play goal midway through the third period, and that sort of told the story of the game. The late-night final was 4-2. Thus, LA leads this series 2-0 going back to Los Angeles.

This is a series many expected Vancouver to dominate, and suffice it to say that hasn't happened. Drew and I share a certain amount of disdain for Canucks G Luongo, but he hasn't been completely at fault here like he was in Games 6 & 7 of last year's Stanley Cup Finals.

#3 Florida and #6 New Jersey got underway last night, and New Jersey got up 3-0 in the first period on Florida before Florida fought back to within 3-2 in the second. They got no closer, and Devils G Martin Brodeur chalked up his 100th playoff win. I didn't get to watch the game, so I don't have much to contribute on it.

On to today's tilts...

In the other 1-8 matchup, the #1 NY Rangers beat up on the Ottawa Senators 4-2. Ottawa potted two goals in the third period to make it more respectable on the scoreboard, but that just served to pretty up the scoreboard. Their tilt this evening should prove entertaining, as Ottawa had good regular-season success against the Rangers. That'll be at 7 PM EDT on the NBC Sports Network.

This afternoon's matchup has #2 Boston hosting #7 Washington. They played a very entertaining game for a 1-0 OT winner in Game 1. Washington is playing their #3 goaltender in Braden Holtby, and he was magnificent despite giving up the game-winner to F Chris Kelly. He stopped 29 shots in the loss, but the story of the game was Boston only allowing 17 shots on net. Tea Party stalwart goaltender Tim Thomas (last year's Conn Smythe winner as playoff MVP) was up to the task in the shutout. That's our 3 PM EDT game on NBC's big network.

In the West, the first evening game is Game 2 between St. Louis and San Jose. Game 1 showed off San Jose's experience in the playoffs. It was a 3-2 win in two overtimes for San Jose, and offseason acquisition LW Martin Havlat had 2 goals, including the game winner. Patrik Berglund had 2 goals in the third period for St. Louis, but the Sharks remained patient and tied the game on Andrew Desjardins' goal with 5:16 left in regulation. Tonight's tilt is at 7:30 EDT on CNBC.

The nightcap returns us to Phoenix, where the Coyotes edged the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in Game 1. Jonathan Toews returned for the Blackhawks, and potted his first goal about 4 minutes into the game. Phoenix scored two in the second, but yielded the game-tying goal in the third with fifteen seconds remaining in regulation. In overtime, Martin Hanzal redirected an Adrian Aucoin shot past G Corey Crawford to give Phoenix the 3-2 win.

As many of you are aware, the tmi3rd clan lives in Kansas City, and we're anticipating a pretty big severe weather outbreak. Thus, I'll be around as available, but I'll be watching the sky more than the games. So y'all play nice, and I'll check in periodically. Here's a hockey WAG and an important song in hockey...

bridges.jpg

Angelica Bridges is the former Mrs. Sheldon Souray of the Dallas Stars. She used to be a fairly frequent guest on Red Eye.

And, of course, "The Hockey Song"...

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posted by Open Blogger at 02:12 PM

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