GOTHAM, USA – It’s the best time of year for a hockey addict like myself. (And it’s pretty good right now for Mutts fans). Indeed, Gotham is humming as both the New York hockey teams took command and The Dark Knight returned to clean up The Mess.
The NHL playoffs kicked off with the Islanders traveling to Washington and beating Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals, 4-1 in the opener. The Caps came out flat and Tall Matt’s Islanders were dominant. It will be interesting to see how Trotz and company respond for tonight’s game 2.
Up in Montreal Wednesday night, a battle between Carey Price, who will be on the short list for the Vezina Trophy, and Andrew Hammond, one of the hottest goalies in the NHL down the stretch, ended up being a shootout with Les Habitants winning by the odd goal in 7. Welcome to the NHL playoffs.
Not to be outdone, Corey Crawford allowed three goals in the first period in Chicago’s series opener in Nashville, earning himself a seat at the end of the bench. Deputy Darling stepped in between the pipes and didn’t allow another goal as the Blackhawks stormed back from a three goal deficit to win in the second overtime period.
Out west, in a game between two teams that nobody thought would make the playoffs at the start of the season, the Calgary Flames came from behind to beat the Canucks. The Flames scored the winner with half a minute left in the third period to take the early advantage in the battle of Western Canada.
Last night the Rangers kicked off their playoff run with a bang. Twenty seconds had barely elapsed before Derrick Brassard bulged the onion bag off of a juicy rebound from a Rick Nash shot. Ryan McDonagh added a power play goal later in the first and the Rangers held out the rest of the way to beat Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1. Marc Andre “El Matador” Fleury played really well and kept the Penguins in the game. But at the other end Henrik Lundqvist was better. The Rangers won the game and I don’t think they really played that well. Other than JT Miller, there weren’t any Rangers skaters that stood out in last night’s game. Its encouraging to know that the Rangers can win without playing well. They’ll have to be much better going forward if they want to still be playing come June.
Down in Tampa, the
Ex Rangers Lightning stumbled out of the starting blocks and lost to the Detroit Red Wings. Road teams have been playing well, winning three of the four games Wednesday night and added a couple more wins last night with the Wings and Wild winning their tilts. Time will tell whether St. Louis will finally get over this hurdle or be singing the playoff blues after another early exit.
Tonight we’ve got another full slate of action starting with game 2 between the Isles and Caps. We should see a different Caps team tonight. But I’m not sure it will be enough to stop Tavares and company. Tomorrow night, the Rangers will look to take a commanding lead in the series against the Penguins. We’ll wait for news on Dan Girardi, who left the game last night a puck to the face in the third period. Hopefully it’s nothing serious as the Rangers can’t afford to lose a defenseman right now.
Leave a comment below and come back tomorrow for a man that almost drowned playing for the Ghanian Ice Hockey team during Spring Training, Junoir Blaber.