– 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.
In what was without a doubt the most incredible minute of the entire playoff season so far, the Carolina Hurricanes pulled off a huge upset to beat the New Jersey Devils in a span of less than a minute.
With less than a minute left in the game, Carolina was frantically trying to score a 3rd goal to tie it up and send it in to OT to save their season. But thanks to all the heart in the world of Tim Gleason, who dived to pass the puck over to Joni Pitkanen, who passed to Jussi Jokinen, who was able to get a snap shot past Martin Brodeur, Carolina was ready for an OT. Everyone was ready for OT. Reporters were making their way to the locker rooms to do pre-OT interviews, and then it happened.
Eric Staal, still not ready to accept overtime, got his wrister right in the back of the net. You could immediately see the tears in Staal’s eyes as it hit the entire team that they had just ended New Jersey’s season in a span of 80 seconds.
You know what this means? This means a Washington – Pittsburgh match-up for round 2…
I was going to call it a night, but in my “down time” from the live blog we put on the Carolina-NJ game and saw the most spectacular minute in hockey this round. In what was definitely the most thrilling game of the night, the Carolina Hurricanes beat the New Jersey Devils in the last 0.2 seconds of the game. Dennis Seidenberg hit Martin Brodeur with a one-timer that went right past him – and understandably so. Jussi Jokinen was right in front him, so much in front of him that the puck bounced off his skate.
A few things here. First of all the goal was under review because the officials, like the fans, like the players, like the coaches, all thought the game was over. Everyone was getting ready for overtime. But once the goal was reviewed, something else became clear: Jokinen was clearly guilty of interference in front of Brodeur, screening him and making illegal contact.
I’ve never seen Brodeur lose it like this, but it’s hard to blame him. I’m a little biased because I picked Carolina, but all the same that was obvious illegal contact. Brodeur argued with the officials before slamming his stick on to the ice repeatedly. Check out the video of the goal here:
The bottom line is, bad call or not, the series is now tied at 2 to take it back to NJ. This is definitely going to be a 7 game series — and a fantastic one at that. Watch for the game to be a bit more physical in NJ on Thursday.
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
Last night, with seven playoff spots left still up for grabs, 26 different teams fought pretty damn hard to move in, move up or move closer to a chance for Tavares. Here is a recap of what went down in the most important games last night.
NY Rangers 3, Montreal 1: Montreal could have locked up a playoff spot with a win at The Garden. The Rangers didn’t yet clinch a playoff berth, but instead earned two extremely important points over the Canadiens. The win was crucial for the Rangers, who are now two points ahead of Florida and has the lead in wins if there were to be a tie. Was it just me or did Carey Price play like he was extremely nervous? The Montreal goalie (who was the topic of my first ever TAS article), after letting in a horrible 2nd goal that shouldn’t have been a goal at all, wasn’t up to his normal par. Price wasn’t covering the puck when he should have been and seemed to not be paying attention to where the puck was going to be — only looking at where it was that moment. Not to discredit the Rangers’ effort… after some speculation on exactly how great Chris Drury is Monday on TAS, it looks like Drury is showing up to the Rangers games after all. Drury had two goals and six shots on goal, truly living up to the C on his sweater.
Toronto 4, NJ 1: This game didn’t matter much for Toronto or NJ. The Devils had already cliched a playoff spot and the Leafs — although not giving up on a playoff run — were an extremely long shot. Martin Brodeur played another horrible game, letting in 4 goals, while the offense for NJ didn’t make much of an effort. Jamie Langenbrunner had the only goal — a power play goal in the 2nd period. Toronto picked up two ill-timed points to bring them to 79 and keep them out of the playoff run. The only news here is that NJ did not yet clinch the Atlantic Division title. NJ could be overtaken for the title if Philly wins their last three and the Devils lose their last two. It’s all going to depend on Brodeur and if he can play at the level he was playing less than a month ago.
9:35 – OK guys, I’m calling it a night… there’s another hour of TV coverage though for anyone on the East Coast who is interested. Congratulations Martin Brodeur!!!
9:34 – #3 star – Zach Parise, #2 star – Patrick Elias, #1 star- Martin Brodeur.
9:33 – About retirement: “As long as he [Patrick Elias] keeps being fun, I’ll stick around a long time.”