2008 Finals or 2009?
Anyone starting to lose a bit of interest in the Conference Finals yet? You aren’t the only one. Fans from Chicago to Pittsburgh to Carolina to Detroit are probably thinking the same thing… “Wait a minute, this seems a bit familiar…” And it isn’t that much fun.
Ok, so maybe I’m exaggerating a bit. Last year it was Dallas who made it to the Western finals against Detroit. And last year it was the Flyers who made it to the Eastern conference finals against Pittsburgh. But all the same, things are starting to look a little too familiar to everyone else around the league. Last year, it was both Detroit and Pittsburgh who conquered in the conference finals and moved on to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Welcome to night two of my live-blogging marathon. Tonight we’ll be watching Game 4 of the Pittsburgh – Philadelphia series. Pittsburgh won the first 2 games at home and Philadelphia won game 3 at home. Tonight should be interesting… it was a pretty dirty game over the weekend. The game is well under way now so keep refreshing that page!
9:47 – It’s a tied game now in Carolina. Another great game to watch right now. I’m calling the live blog quits for now, but there’s still plenty of hockey to watch in my house tonight. Good night hockey fans!
9:46 – Now the Pens have a chance to win the series at home on Thursday night at 5pm Mountain. Game over for Philly. This game may be over but change the channel to the Vancouver-St. Louis game where the Canucks try to end the Blues’ season.
9:45 – The fans have all left the Wachovia Center pretty much. 22 seconds left in the game.
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.
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).