The Tampa Bay Lightning were the first to advance to conference finals tonight. I expected them to beat the Capitals, but I thought it would be a fairly close series and it would take them six games. The teams I wanted to win most in the first round didn’t do well, but at least the team I’ve decided will be my backup’s backup team for the playoffs swept the Capitals and await the outcome of the Bruins/Flyers series. Right now, the Bruins lead that series 3-0. Who would have thought after a few game sevens in round one that round two would be so boring in the eastern conference? One team swept and the Bruins have a chance to do the same Friday night.
The Sharks are leading their series 2-0 against Detroit and are playing the Red Wings in the first game of the series in Detroit now. At least the Predators/Canucks series has been interesting. It’s had two games end in overtime (one in the second OT) and has actually had both teams in the series win at least one game (Vancouver’s leading the series 2-1).
Hopefully, this round will get a bit more interesting soon. Some of the individual games have been pretty interesting, but sweeps are never very entertaining overall.
Tags: Bruins, Canucks, Capitals, Flyers, Hockey, Lightning, NHL, overtime, playoffs, Predators, Red Wings, Sharks, sweep
The Sharks may have had home ice advantage in their first conference finals since 2004, but that didn’t matter to the determined Chicago Blackhawks. The Sharks took the early lead and even went so far as to lead game four 2-0, but the Blackhawks came back to take the only lead that mattered – the one that ended the game. Chicago is the only team that swept a series in the 2010 playoffs and for a third year in a row Marian Hossa will be playing in the Stanley Cup Finals. Is the third time the charm for him? Will he finally be on the happy side of the handshake when the Finals finish, or will he be on the losing end of the Finals for a third year in a row?
San Jose really can’t seem to succeed in the post season. They did better this year than they had in a while, but they can’t ever seem to live up to their regular season drive. The Sharks make the regular season look easy and win the west (and sometimes even the Presidents’ Trophy), but they can’t seem to get to the Stanley Cup Finals. Since their start in 1991, they’ve gotten to the conference finals twice (including this year). However, they can’t seem to make it past that point. This year, they didn’t even win a game of the conference finals, leaving them with a record of 8-2 in the conference finals and sending them home before the Finals again.
The Blackhawks will most likely face the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Finals, but the Montreal Canadiens want to change that. They’ve come back from a 3-1 deficit in a series twice already in the 2010 playoffs, so they may surprise everyone again. Either way, the Blackhawks were the first to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals and are certainly happy to get back to the Finals for the first time since 1992 when they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins as they won their second Cup in a row. This year, they’ve got a young team excited to be in the Finals for the first time.
Tags: Blackhawks, Canadiens, Flyers, Hockey, Marian Hossa, NHL, Penguins, playoffs, Sharks, Stanley Cup, Stanley Cup Finals, sweep
I almost never predict that one team will sweep another team in the playoffs. I suppose I should stick to that from now on if they’re all going to work out the way the Penguins/Senators series did for the first game. The Senators clearly aren’t getting swept by the Penguins. I still think the Pens will bounce back and win the series, but they’re obviously not going to do it in 4 games. If they look the way they did in game one, the Penguins could get swept. They had their moments, but the game wasn’t as close as the final score indicates.
I know NBC couldn’t possibly give up Minute to Win It (which I’d never heard of before I decided to see what was on tonight), Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit (a show I’ve actually seen), & “To Be Announced” (that’s still what my DVR has listed for tonight, though it looks like a second episode of Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit or another Law & Order). However, having all the NHL playoff games on only one channel (Versus, of course) in this round is very frustrating for someone who can’t get NHL Center Ice any more. The trade-off (not having to deal with the horrible Cox Cable any more) was well worth it, but I couldn’t watch tonight’s Flyers/Devils game and that was very disappointing for someone who missed fewer than 2 full games the last two playoff years. Four playoff games in a day and only three on TV in the United States is disappointing, but it could be worse. Last year, only two of the first four games were on Versus in the US. All of the games are, of course, televised in Canada and if it were the Los Angeles games that were being skipped by National TV, I’d be fine. Sadly, I won’t get to see ANY of the Devils/Flyers series (I can’t count the in-game updates and NHL on the Fly as watching the game). I really can’t imagine how the network deemed that series completely unworthy of national television. Of course, I guess it’s almost worse to say that the entire Penguins/Senators series is worth except for game 7 if it happens. I still don’t think that series will go to 7 games, but what if it does? If that series goes to 7 games and the only game of the series not televised nationally in the United States is the most important game of the series, Gary Bettman and Versus should be completely ashamed of themselves. Just as much as when NBC and Bettman chose horse racing pre-show coverage over the overtime ending of a playoff hockey game.
I thought it was great to see Muhammad Ali in Phoenix for the Coyotes/Red Wings game. Perhaps he can take some of the credit for the Coyotes being the only home team to win game 1 in the first day of the 2010 NHL playoffs. Then again, perhaps it’s the Coyotes’ reaction to a completely full building. I’ve never seen the Glendale Arena so full. In talking to the players when they were here for one of the Kings’ last games, I found out that their building has been a lot more full recently and that they’ve enjoyed seeing so the building get more crowded as they continued to do well. I’m sure it’ll stay that way through the playoffs. Hopefully, the attendance burst will carry over to the 2010-11 season for the Coyotes, too. The Glendale Arena isn’t that far from downtown Phoenix. Hopefully, those living in Phoenix will figure that out during the playoffs and keep going back. The Glendale Arena is beautiful. It’d be nice to see it full more often.
Due to the way the games were scheduled on Versus, I saw under 8 minutes of the Sharks/Avalanche game. It seemed like that game was going to go into overtime. I was thinking how fortunate it was for the NHL and Versus that the last game of the day would be the only game to go into overtime. No sooner had I thought that than I got to the Avalanche goal with just 49.3 seconds left in regulation. Stewart banked it off of Rob Blake’s skate and won the game for the Avalanche. Oddly enough, this was the only series that started out the way I would have guessed. It’s definitely going to be an interesting playoff season!
Tags: Avalanche, Center Ice, Chris Stewart, Coyotes, Devils, Flyers, Gary Bettman, Glendale Arena, Hockey, Kings, Muhammad Ali, NBC, NHL, Penguins, playoffs, Red Wings, Rob Blake, Senators, Sharks, sweep, Versus