NHL Week in Review (April 22-28)

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The NHL playoffs have been a wild ride this year and with round 1 complete it is time to take a look back at what happened. It was a fast and furious month in the first round with surprises seeming to come out every day. There was skill and amazing goals and also some gritty play that bordered on, and sometimes crossed, the line of illegal. Some teams disappointed leaving the playoffs too soon while others put up a fight even though they were written off. There were suspensions and injuries and returns making the first round of the playoffs and exciting time for NHL hockey. The biggest story in the first round surrounded the physicality of the playoffs with multiple teams getting into all out brawls. The first round saw a bit of a different trend with fighting taking a big role in the game. Usually the playoffs don’t see a lot of fighting as teams are too close to risk taking a man off of the ice for 5 minutes. Instead the skill shines through in the playoffs with great goals and big hits. This year though some bad hits rose the frustration among teams and eventually came to a head. The teams began taking these frustrations out on each other as fights broke out and the physical nature of the game rose higher than usual. These fights eventually died down as series wound down and teams looked to win rather than make their toughness known. Another big story in round one was the surprise teams who failed to move on the ones who beat them. This story surrounded two teams in particular who became the consensus favorites before the playoffs started. The Vancouver Canucks and Pittsburgh Penguins played great hockey at the end of the season and as a result became the early favorites for the Stanley Cup. The Canucks had won the President’s Trophy and came into the playoffs as the best team in the NHL while the Penguins seemed to be the real best team in the NHL in the last two months of the season with Sidney Crosby back in the lineup. With all the expectations on these two teams both seemed to crumble under the pressure. The Vancouver Canucks lost to the #8 Los Angeles Kings in 5 games while the Penguins lost to the Philadelphia Flyers in 6. It was more than just these two teams who surprised though as the New York Rangers were surprised by the Ottawa Senators who brought the top team in the East to 7 games in a series that was supposed to be easier. Meanwhile the defending champion Boston Bruins had their own struggles and lost to the #7 Washington Capitals in 7 games. These surprises are just what makes the NHL playoffs so exciting as anyone can win at any time. Another trend in round one has been the fact that almost every series has been close so far. There were three series that went to seven games and an NHL record 12 overtime games in round one with the Phoenix Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks going 7 games with 6 overtimes. After the dust settled 8 teams were left with a shot at the Stanley Cup. Out of the East will be #1 New York Rangers, #7 Washington Capitals, #6 New Jersey Devils, and #5 Philadelphia Flyers. In the West the #8 Los Angeles Kings, #2 St. Louis Blues, #3 Phoenix Coyotes, and #4 Nashville Predators will all be moving on. With so much great hockey in round one fans can only hope that round 2 will be just as good.

Round 2 in the NHL playoffs has already kicked off and the trend of the first round seems to be leaking into the second. With three games already finished round two has seen one overtime game and of course it involved the Phoenix Coyotes who have played 7 overtime games in the 8 playoff games they have played. The Phoenix Coyotes beat the Nashville Predators in the first game as they continue to lean on Mike Smith to help them win games. This series could be a very defensive one but the first game has seen that both teams will be going all out offensively throughout the series with the goaltenders becoming the difference makers. Also in the west is the St. Louis Blues and L.A. Kings who have also gone through one game. The Kings look to continue a surprise run this time by taking out the #2 team after surprising the President’s Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks. The Blues have been the surprise of the regular season and are looking to continue their great season with another win. This could be a great series as two great goalies face off with offences that can be cold at points. In the East the #1 New York Rangers will take on the surprising Washington Capitals. The Caps beat the defending champion Boston Bruins in a series where they were not given much of a chance. The new attitude of the Capitals highlights grinding players rather than their superstars as they look to become more of a Rangers team. The Rangers are a grinding team that loves to hit and block shots and that is how they win games. The Capitals will try to out Ranger the Rangers in what could turn out to be a defensive struggle that has seen the Rangers already win one game after wearing the Caps down in game 1. The other Eastern series will feature the Philadelphia Flyers, who beat the Stanley Cup favorite Pittsburgh Penguins in round 1, and the New Jersey Devils. The Devils are a defensive minded team that leans on Martin Brodeur and timely scoring to win games. The Flyers are a tough team that likes to mix it up and get their opponents off of their game allowing their young guns to bombard the net. This series will be a matchup of offence and defence where Brodeur will be the focus for both teams. Round 2 is shaping up to be a good one and as teams get better in the later rounds expect more of the unexpected and more overtimes and game 7s as teams look to take one more step to the Stanley Cup.

 

NHL Playoffs Round 2:

Eastern Conference:

New York Rangers 1 – 0 Washington Capitals

Game 1: NYR 3 – 1 WSH

Game 2: WSH @ NYR (April 30th; 7:30 pm)

Game 3: NYR @ WSH (May 2nd; 7:30 pm)

Game 4: NYR @ WSH (May 5th; 12:30 pm)

Game 5: WSH @ NYR (May 7th; 7:30 pm)

Game 6: NYR @ WSH (TBD)

Game 7: WSH @ NYR (TBD)

 

Philadelphia Flyers vs. New Jersey Devils

Game 1: NJD @ PHI (April 29th; 3:00 pm)

Game 2: NJD @ PHI (May 1st; 7:30 pm)

Game 3: PHI @ NJD (May 3rd; 7:30 pm)

Game 4: PHI @ NJD (May 6th; 7:30 pm)

Game 5: NJD @ PHI (TBD)

Game 6: PHI @ NJD (TBD)

Game 7: NJD @ PHI (TBD)

 

Western Confernece:

St. Louis Blues 0 – 1 Los Angeles Kings

Game 1: LAK 3 – 1 STL

Game 2: LAK @ STL (April 30th; 9:00 pm)

Game 3: STL @ LAK (May 3rd; 10:00 pm)

Game 4: STL @ LAK (May 6th; 3:00 pm)

Game 5: LAK @ STL (TBD)

Game 6: STL @ LAK (TBD)

Game 7: LAK @ STL (TBD)

 

Phoenix Coyotes 1 – 0 Nashville Predators

Game 1: PHX 4 – 3 (OT)

Game 2: NSH @ PHX (April 29th; 8:00 pm)

Game 3: PHX @ NSH (May 2nd; 9:00 pm)

Game 4: PHX @ NSH (May 4th; 7:30 pm)

Game 5: NSH @ PHX (May 7th; 10:00 pm)

Game 6: PHX @ NSH (TBD)

Game 7: NSH @ PHX (TBD)

 

NHL Playoffs Round 1:

Eastern Conference:

New York Rangers 4 – 3 Ottawa Senators

Game 1: NYR 4 – 2 OTT

Game 2: OTT 3 – 2 NYR (OT)

Game 3: NYR 1 – 0 OTT

Game 4: OTT 3 – 2 NYR

Game 5: OTT 2 – 0 NYR

Game 6: NYR 3 – 2 OTT

Game 7: NYR 2 – 1 OTT

 

Boston Bruins 3 – 4 Washington Capitals

Game 1: BOS 1 – 0 (OT)

Game 2: WAS 2 – 1 BOS (2OT)

Game 3: BOS 4 – 3 WAS

Game 4: WAS 2 – 1 BOS

Game 5: WAS 4 – 3 BOS

Game 6: BOS 4 – 3 WAS (OT)

Game 7: WAS 2 – 1 BOS (OT)

 

Florida Panthers 3 – 4 New Jersey Devils

Game 1: NJD 3 – 2 FLA

Game 2: FLA 4 – 2 NJD

Game 3: FLA 4 – 3 NJD

Game 4: NJD 4 – 0 FLA

Game 5: FLA 3 – 0 NJD

Game 6: NJD 3 – 2 FLA

Game 7: NJD 3 – 2 FLA (2OT)

 

Pittsburgh Penguins 2 – 4 Philadelphia Flyers

Game 1: PHI 4 – 3 PIT (OT)

Game 2: PHI 8 – 5 PIT

Game 3: PHI 8 – 4 PIT

Game 4: PIT 10 – 3 PHI

Game 5: PIT 3 – 2 PHI

Game 6: PHI 5 – 1 PIT

 

Western Conference:

Vancouver Canucks 1 – 4 Los Angeles Kings

Game 1: LAK 4 – 2 VAN

Game 2: LAK 4 – 2 VAN

Game 3: LAK 1 – 0 VAN

Game 4: VAN 3 – 1 LAK

Game 5: LAK 2 – 1 VAN

 

St. Louis Blues 4 – 1 San Jose Sharks

Game 1: SJS 3 – 2 STL (2OT)

Game 2: STL 2 – 0 SJS

Game 3: STL 4 – 3 SJS

Game 4: STL 2 – 1 SJS

Game 5: STL 3 – 1 SJS

 

Phoenix Coyotes 4 – 1 Chicago Blackhawks

Game 1: PHX 3 – 2 CHI (OT)

Game 2: CHI 4 – 3 PHX (OT)

Game 3: PHX 3 – 2 CHI (OT)

Game 4: PHX 3 – 2 CHI (OT)

Game 5: CHI 2 – 1 PHX (OT)

Game 6: PHX 4 – 0 CHI

 

Nashville Predators 4 – 1 Detroit Red Wings

Game 1: NSH 3 – 2 DET

Game 2: DET 3 – 2 NSH

Game 3: NSH 3 – 2 DET

Game 4: NSH 3 – 1 DET

Game 5: NSH 2 – 1 DET

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