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.
Jordan Staal and the rest of the Pens sent the Caps home for good.-Alaina Scarano-Isbouts-Alaina Scarano-Isbouts
OF COURSE. This would happen just hours after I published that “my money is on the Caps-Pens game” for an overtime game and a game 7 win. The Pittsburgh Penguins absolutely killed the Washington Capitals tonight in DC to advance to the Eastern Conference finals. They will face the winner of the Boston-Carolina game 7. The final score was 6-2.
It all started simply enough, by a power play goal from Sidney Crosby 12:36 into the first period. And then a suspicious thing happened… the Pens scored again. Craig Adams scored eight seconds later to give the Pens a 2-0 lead. Every game in this series up until tonight was decided by one goal, except game 5 when the Penguins won by 2 goals.
– 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.
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).
Anyone check out ESPN’s “10 Burning Questions” online yet? While the questions are great, and they are questions I think any hockey fan has asked herself (or himself) in the few games since the All-Star break, I’ve got burning question number 11: anyone see a trend in these answers? Scott Burnside and E.J. Hradek are quite clearly taking the easy way out and answering these questions with what they’d like to see happen.