MARLBORO, NY -The NHL Playoffs are something I just can’t enough of–even with the NBC family of networks giving us wall-to-wall coverage of every game of every series. On a nightly basis I watch roughly six hours of hockey a night and yesterday was a 9-hour marathon, so today I’ll report on two of the more noteworthy series.
Montreal-Rangers: By the end of this series, which has been pretty chippy by today’s standard, Rangers fans will be gnashing their teeth and cursing at the television whenever the number of Canadiens dirtbags face wipe or stick whip a Rangers player. The main douchebags I’m speaking of are Steve Ott, Andrew Shaw, Brendan Gallagher and Game 2 OT hero Alexander Radulov. That’s quite a list and one that doesn’t include injured defensemen Alexei Emelin.
After two games, this series is turning into a very physical hit – and be hit – battle of wills. One might say I’m not being objective in calling the Canadiens a bunch of dirty players since I’m a Boston Bruins fan, but any hockey fan can see that the Habs game plan clearly entails playing on the edge of fair play.
If Ranger fans are looking for a goat in Friday night’s loss, look no further than defensemen Nick Holden, who couldn’t clear his man and unnecessarily broke his stick in a crease battle with Tomas Plekanec. Left without lumber, Holden couldn’t defend the pass that Plekanec potted, thus tying the game with 17.3 seconds left. Sure, the Rangers failed as a team in the last 90 seconds trying to get pucks out of the defensive zone with the Montreal goalie pulled for the extra attacker, but it was Holden who lost his assignment. This series has the look of a seven-game series that I predicted. Plenty of time left for Rangers fans to hate Les Canadiens as much as I do.
Minnesota-St.Louis: Angry Ward must be getting angrier by the minute as his Minnesota Wild are doing everything but solving St. Louis Blues netminder Jake Allen – who is playing out of his mind. To get a better idea of how frustrated the Wild must feel in digging themselves an 0-2 series hole on home ice consider the following: the Wild hold a 63%-37% faceoff advantage and have outhit the Blues by a 2 to 1 ratio.
Minnesota is doing very little wrong in back-to-back 2-1 losses, as the aforementioned Allen has stopped 76 of 78 shots that have made it to the net, as 40 more pucks have been blocked through the first two games.
There were late-game heroics by Zach Parise in Game 1, as he forced OT only to have the Wild waste the momentum in extra time. What has to sting a bit is that Mike Yeo is coaching against the Wild organization that fired him while his replacement Bruce Boudreau might be experiencing another of his personal post-season meltdowns.
While Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk hasn’t been bad at all, he just hasn’t been able to outplay Allen and it appears the only thing that can reboot the Wild is a shutout.
I thought this was a seven-game series as well but things aren’t looking to bright for Angry Ward’s bunch ahead of today’s Game 3 at 3:00 on NBC.
That’s it. Please comment below and come back tomorrow for a Buffalo Sabres Hockey Puck, DJ Eberle. And please follow us on Twitter – @CheesyBruin & @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.