NEW YORK, NY – Well, the first round has come and gone and there have been some shocking results. The defending Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals lost in double overtime of game 7 in the first round to the Carolina Hurricanes. The runaway President’s Trophy winners – and Stanley Cup favorite – Tampa Bay Lightning got swept out of the playoffs by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Embarrassing themselves and screwing the the New York Rangers in the process.
The New York Islanders made quick work of Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. The Islanders have been stout defensively all season and stymied the Pens in the short series. The Bruins and Leafs series was a great one and went to seven games. The B’s made it a laugher late on in Game 7, but the series to that point teetered on a knife’s edge. The Leafs will now have to wait another year as their Stanley Cup drought stands at 52 years.
Out west, the Blues are also approaching 52 years without a Stanley Cup, but they beat the Winnipeg Jets in six games in their first round match-up. In the second round they’re taking on Mats Zuccarello and the Dallas Stars who beat the Nashville Predators in six games. This means if the Stars manage to sneak by the Blues, the Rangers will get another second round draft pick. It’s not the first round pick that the Lightning flushed down the toilet, but it’s something.
The Colorado Avalanche breezed by the Calgary Flames in five games, rounding out a dismal year for 1-seeded teams. The first round losses by Calgary, Toronto, and Winnipeg extends the Stanley Cup drought in Canada to 26 years. The last Canadian team to lift the hardware were the 1992-93 Montreal Canadiens.
In the series of the first round, last year’s Cup runners up Las Vegas Golden Knights held a 3-games to 1 lead over the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks came back in the series and beat the Knights in overtime of Game 7. Now the NHL heads into the second round with no division winners left in the dance.
The second round got underway last night with the Boston Bruins beating the Blue Jackets in overtime. In St. Louis, the Stars fell short as the Blues took game 1. The Islanders start their second round series tonight at Barclays Center against the Hurricanes. If the Isles lose, the complaining that they didn’t play at the Mausoleum after the first round victory will be deafening. The Avs and Sharks get underway tonight also.
Who will prevail in the second round? Your guess is as good as mine. After the first round bloodbath, anything can happen. I think Barry Trotz and the Islanders will take care of business against the Hurricanes. The Bruins should beat the Blue Jackets, but we’ll see what John Tortorella has up his sleeve for this matchup. The B’s have the lead in the series after last night’s overtime win.
I’m hoping the Stars can sneak by the Blues so the Rangers will get that draft pick, but Dallas is already in a hole. The Avalanche will try to build on their first round win, but the Sharks will be flying high after their game seven overtime win in round 1. It will be a great couple of weeks of hockey. I’m looking forward to it.
Come back tomorrow for a man that plays goalie wearing only a touque, Junoir Blaber.