Hello people. Sorry for the long delay… it’s that time of year, when school work piles up and you have papers on top of finals. What a magnificent time of year!! Well it is because the weather (supposedly) is getting better and its playoff time!!! The NHL playoffs this year, so far, have been a little lack lustre in terms of excitement, but still, I love this time of year.
To begin, here were my predictions.
East: Caps in 6, Sabres in 7, Habs in 6, Tampa in 7
West: Blackhawks in 7 (oops), Sharks in 5, Red Wings in 6 and Ducks in 6.
It’s too late really to explain my predictions in depth but here are quick reasons as to why I picked who I picked. I thought the Sabres goaltending would get them by the Flyers, who were really struggling down th stretch. I also think the injury to Chris Pronger would cause more of a problem. I think Kopitar’s injury will be too much for the Kings to overcome against San Jose, even though the Sharks love choking. Pittsburgh is missing too much talent to get by Tampa. I thought Vancouver’s goaltending would let them down, but maybe that only happens in the second round. I think the Rangers can make a series of it with the Caps because they are more comfortable playing a patient defensive style, but Washington has too much fire power. I picked the Ducks because I thought Hiller would be back, but he isn’t and Nashville’s Pekka Renne is showing why he should be considered for the Vezina and Hart. I think the Nashville/Anaheim series will be the best. I feel bad for the soon to be Winnipeg Jets (Phoenix) because they drew Detroit… AGAIN. Pavel Datsyuk is playing out of his mind and the Coyotes never had a chance.
I will do a second round in depth preview now that I am done with school till the fall.
When I last posted the Habs were sliding down the stretch. Well they corrected that with winning 3 of their last 4, including a fantastic game against Chicago (a Montreal 2-1 OT win). The Habs entered the playoffs facing long time rival Boston in the first round. Many people were picking against the Habs as a result of the 7-0 loss in Boston on March 24th. Montreal won the season series with Boston 4-2 and other than the last 2 games in Boston Montreal had their way with the Bruins. Anyway Montreal silenced their critics by winning both games in Boston. While Boston looked lost and unprepared, the Habs capitalized on Boston miscues to win 2-0 and 3-1. Game 3 saw the Bruins win 4-2 on the strength of a fantastic first 30 minutes, but then the Habs controlled the play after that. Tim Thomas was great in the 3rd making big saves to keep the game 3-2 until Chris Kelly scored into the open net with under a minute left. The game was encouraging though because Montreal battled back and really took the play to Boston, which they have been doing for most of the series. Game 4 goes on Thursday and if Montreal can keep their focus to start the game, they should be able to keep rolling. Carey Price has been incredible in the series, and save a poor clearing attempt that ended in up in the back of the net, he has been one of the best players on the ice. PK Subban has also been playing great. While not getting a point, he has been playing solid defence against Boston’s top line of Lucic, Horton and Krejci. Montreal has the chance to take control of their series of Thursday and cannot let another chance slip away like they did on Monday.
The playoffs have already seen its share of questionable plays and hits. Surprise, surprise more head shots and dirty play. LA’s Jarret Stoll elbowed San Jose’s Ian White in the head from the blind side. He got a one game suspension.
Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan stomped on Nashville’s Jonathan Blum. He got 2 games.
Vancouver’s Raffi Torres, coming back from a 4 game suspension for a head shot to Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle ,
went after Chicago’s Brent Seabrook with a blindside hit and got nothing.
Torres, who, like Matt Cooke, has been playing like this for a while said he would not change his style of play and backed it up with another head shot in his first game back from a suspension.
OK well I think this was a quick way to get up to date in terms of what is going on in the NHL right now. I will be much more frequent with posting as of now. Sorry to keep you readers waiting.
Till next time, (probably sometime this week) keep reading, and look for Hockey Firm on twitter @hockeyfirm and on facebook.
Tags: Ahaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Carey Price, Chigago Blackhawks, Habs, Head Shots, Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, New York Rangers, NHL, NHL playoffs, Pekka Renne, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals