Three teams will be calling it a season tonight, then it's on to conference finals.
Today and tomorrow, three teams will be eliminated from the playoffs. Of course this is the nature of the playoffs — as long as one team wins, the other one loses and their season is over. To me, game 7s are the epitome of hockey. They are fast paced, they get dirty, and usually only one goal makes the entire difference. Expect at least one of these games to go in to overtime — and my money is on the Caps – Pens game. Read on for previews of all the lucky, and maybe not so lucky, game 7 players.
– by Alaina Scarano-Isbouts
Ahh, the playoffs. While it is the best time of the hockey season, it is also the time of the year when you can throw out the window everything you think you know. No predictions are guaranteed. No players are even guaranteed. Injuries are undisclosed. It’s a time when everyone is reminded why they really, really love this game. In fact, here are the five things I love about hockey because of the 2009 post-season so far.
#5 – Ovechkin versus Crosby
Who would have thought we’d see this? Sure, I picked each team to advance (and so did most people, I’m sure), but all the same it’s exciting as hell to watch these two international superstars battle for their teams. The excitement came to an all time high on Monday, as both Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby notched hat tricks. Ovechkin scored his late in the 3rd to dash any hopes the Pens had of winning the game in OT. Washington is now up 2-0 in the series, but I’m sure it will be an entirely different game when the Pens get home ice back tonight for game 3 (5pm mountain). This series has it all: the superstars, a hot rivalry, two incredible and young goaltenders, passion, scoring and even a few veterans who could be playing for their last shot at the cup (read: Bill Guerin and Sergei Fedorov). As Markus Naslund proved, anyone can be in the middle of their last season – not just Joe Sakic. Ovechkin and Crosby have brought enough fans to the game already, now hopefully they can help bring their sport to center stage (or ice). I just hope this is a 7 game series… can you imagine anything more exciting? This just could be the playoff series to end all playoff series.
The rivalry continues.
I’m sure I’ve lost plenty of credibility after my round 1 matchups, but I’m giving round 2 a shot anyway.
Here’s a recap of my round 1 picks and who advanced:
Boston v. Montreal – Boston in 6 – actual was Boston in 4
Washington v. New York – Washington in 6 – actual was Washington in 7
NJ v. Carolina – Carolina in 7 – actual was Carolina in 7
Pittsburgh v. Philadelphia – Pittsburgh in 7 – actual was Pittsburgh in 6
San Jose v. Anaheim – San Jose in 5 – actual was Anaheim in 6
Detroit v. Columbus – Detroit in 6 – actual was Detroit in 4
Vancouver v. St. Louis – St. Louis in 6 – actual was Vancouver in 4
Chicago v. Calgary – Chicago in 6 – actual was Chicago in 6
So actually I only guessed wrong in two teams… let’s see if I can do a better job here. This time, let’s preview the western conference first since they were decided much earlier – no series in the West went to 7.
After a few looooooong nights, the first round of first round games are through. I think it’s fair to say we’ve seen some pretty fantastic games so far, a few surprises and maybe even a fight or two. Not bad – the players seem to be getting off on the right feet so far. I’ve decided to break down the most significant events of Game Ones into the three categories: good, bad or ugly.
Good: NY Rangers. That was the best game I have seen so far and I’m pretty stoked the Rangers won. Yes, I know I picked the Caps to take the series – and I still think they will – but I knew the Rangers were going to come out swinging and play with a lot of heart. But if they are going to win another game they have to play better defense on A.O. Henrik Lundqvist was the only reason that Ovechkin didn’t score (although he did notch two assists). But besides not holding off Ovechkin to the best of their abilities (although he did get hit five times in the 1st alone), the Rangers played a fantastic game. Sean Avery was at his absolute worst; picking meaningless fights and complaining like it was his job – oh wait, that’s right, it is his job. Rumor has it that NY Captain Chris Drury will be back tomorrow… let’s hope so. I think the Caps will take game two.
-by Alaina Scarano-Isbouts
Well all, it’s that time of year — playoffs. Round 1 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs will begin on Wednesday night. Get ready to hear of every possible story line; rookies and old-timers ready to fight for the death for the chance of a life time — to win Lord Stanley’s Cup. Here’s my take on what this year’s playoffs have to offer and who will make it out alive.
Boston v. Montreal: What a great series for old rivalries. The two Original Six teams have faced each other many, many times since the modest beginnings of the NHL. Boston, after having missed the President’s Trophy by just one point, has the home ice advantage but the more fickle fans. I’m going to bet this will be a rough-and-tumble series, but the ultimate battle will be between Tim Thomas and Carey Price. I’m going to go with Boston in 6 for this series. Continue reading
-by Alaina Scarano-Isbouts
As most of you may have heard, all of the playoff spots have been clinched. The match-ups for the first round are still be determined, but now we all know who is in and who is out. Below is the Friday night recap of the last few games that determined playoff spots.
Minnesota 8, Nashville 4: Both the Wild and the Predators were losers of this game. Despite scoring 8 goals the Wild remained just 3 points shy of 8th place. The Predators had perhaps their worst game of the season as their last game of the season to stay 2 points out of 8th. If the Wild win their last game tomorrow, they will end the season in 9th place rather than 10th where they are now. Bye bye to both teams.
St. Louis 3, Columbus 1: Both teams have cinched playoff spots but can still move up or down in the standings. I am still loving the way St. Louis is playing; they are looking like a pretty good underdog pick right now — especially if they face San Jose. I don’t know if Columbus will make it out of the first round, but we’ll just see who they end up facing. They could potentially fall down to 8th if they lose their last game tomorrow and St. Louis wins against the Avs.
Who will be hoisting Lord Stanley's Cup this year?
-by Alaina Scarano-Isbouts
With 7 days to go and 7 playoff spots still technically still up for grabs, it’s going to be a great week for hockey fans across the nation (except in Colorado, Long Island and Tampa Bay). Here’s a guide for who should be in and who could be out a week from now. First off, check today’s standings here to see who has clinched spots already. Let’s start with the more exciting conference during playoff time, the East.
Who’s already in: Boston, Washington, NJ and Carolina have all clinched spots.
Philadelphia — Why they’ll make it: Philly has gone through a few rough seasons, but for the most part they are a pretty tough competitor. They are usually a contender for the cup every year – and always give someone a run for their money. With only four games left, Philly is a great team to watch; tomorrow night they’ll face the Florida Panthers who are also in the race, after that there will be two games against the Rangers, a possible contender for the first round vs. Philly, and they also have a game against the Islanders. Not only will Philly make the playoffs, but they could possibly uproot NJ for the Atlantic division title if NJ doesn’t shape up (they are 3-6-1 in their last 10).