NHL Week in Review (April 28 – May 4)

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The NHL Playoffs began this week in the NHL as the last game was played and the playoffs were set. With the start of the second season fans and analysts looked at all of the teams to see which teams looked like they could be the next Los Angeles Kings. There were the two favorites in the Chicago Blackhawks and the Pittsburgh Penguins who had run through every team on their way to the top of each conference. Then there were the promising teams like the Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks, Anaheim Ducks, and the Washington Capitals who had all been in this situation before and would not be surprised by much in the playoffs. Then as always there were the darkhorse teams like the Ottawa Senators, San Jose Sharks, or the New York Rangers who might have a shot but likely would not last very long. Among all of these teams there were issues and questions along with the parts of the game that they can dominate if given the shot. All of the questions and the strengths were looked at to see who could make a run at the Stanley Cup. One aspect of the game does have a lot more meaning when it comes to the playoffs as the goaltender is one of the biggest [arts to any team at this time. The goalies in the playoffs have to bring their game up to a different level than they had in the regular season as the pressure and the mistakes are that much more important when it comes to this time of year. It has been proven time and time again that a good goalie in the playoffs can carry a team to the Stanley Cup. Goalies like Jonathan Quick, Mike Smith, Jaroslav Halak, Tim Thomas, Cam Ward, JS Giguere, and so many more have all helped their teams to success in the playoffs. Without these goalies many of these teams would have never won a series in the playoffs but all goalies got hot at the right time. It does not necessarily have to be the best goalie either as people like Mike Smith and Jaroslav Halak have had good careers but would not be considered the best of the best in the NHL. All it takes is for a goalie to get hot at the right time and bail their team out when they need it the most. This year there are a few goalies who have shown that they could give their team a legitimate shot at the Stanley Cup if they can stay hot throughout the playoffs. Craig Anderson is one of these goalies as he truly needs to be the best player on the ice for the Ottawa Senators. He is the anchor to a team that does not score a lot of goals and if he can perform like he did in game 1 and not game 2 of their series against the Montreal Canadiens the Sens have a legitimate shot at going far in the playoffs. One of the more surprising goaltenders in this year’s playoffs has been Braden Holtby who leads all goalies in save percentage and goals against average so far this year. If he can continue this pace the Washington Capitals could finally get passed their constant disappointment in the playoffs. With Holtby playing great and still plenty of time for Craig Anderson and any other goalie to start taking over these playoffs on their way to the Stanley Cup. There is no guarantee about who this goalie will be yet even if some are beginning to take over but one thing is for sure and that is the team with the best goalie has a very good shot at winning the Stanley Cup. The Stanley Cup playoffs are underway and there will be plenty to talk about as 16 teams all fight for the same trophy to be handed out in June.

 

Overtime:
(Thoughts on the past week in the NHL)

The Hit
The first major controversy of the playoffs did not take too long to develop as the first game between the Senators and Canadiens would see Eric Gryba hit Lars Eller and knock him out of the game while earning a two game suspension on a hit that many saw as clean

The not-so Underdogs
The Ottawa Senators were a team that was expected to be here in the preseason but after injuries throughout the season the expectations ended and now that they’re in they could be the most underestimated team with so many returning players making them a true darkhorse

The Kid is Back
Sidney Crosby had been out for a month before the playoffs with a broken jaw and would make his playoff debut in the second game of the Penguins-Islanders series and would score two goals in his first game back

Upset of the Week
The return of Sidney Crosby would not be enough to prevent the biggest upset of the week as many expected the Penguins to sweep the Islanders but that will not happen as the Islanders would beat the Penguins in game two forcing at least a 5th game

 

NHL Playoffs:

Eastern Conference:

Pittsburgh Penguins 1 – 1 New York Islanders
Game 1: Pit 5 – 0 NYI
Game 2: NYI 4 – 3 Pit
Game 3: Pit @ NYI (Sunday May 5th; 12:00 pm ET)
Game 4: Pit @ NYI (Tuesday May 7th; 7:00 pm ET)
Game 5: NYI @ Pit (Thursday May 9th; 7:00 pm ET)
Game 6: Pit @ NYI (Saturday May 11th; TBD)
Game 7: NYI @ Pit (Sunday May 12th; TBD)

Montreal Canadiens 1 – 1 Ottawa Senators
Game 1: Ott 4 – 2 Mtl
Game 2: Mtl 3 – 1 Ott
Game 3: Mtl @ Ott (Sunday May 5th; 7:00 pm ET)
Game 4: Mtl @ Ott (Tuesday May 7th; 7:00 pm ET)
Game 5: Ott @ Mtl (Thursday May 9th; 7:00 pm ET)
Game 6: Mtl @ Ott (Saturday May 11th; TBD)
Game 7: Ott @ Mtl (Sunday May 12th; TBD)

Washington Capitals 2 – 0 New York Rangers
Game 1: Was 3 – 1 NYR
Game 2: Was 1 – 0 NYR (OT)
Game 3: Was @ NYR (Monday May 6th; 7:30 pm ET)
Game 4: Was @ NYR (Wednesday May 8th; 7:30 pm ET)
Game 5: NYR @ Was (Friday May 10th; 7:30 pm ET)
Game 6: Was @ NYR (Sunday May 12th; TBD)
Game 7: NYR @ Was (Monday May 13th; TBD)

Boston Bruins 1 – 1 Toronto Maple Leafs
Game 1: Bos 4 – 1 Tor
Game 2: Tor 4 – 2 Bos
Game 3: Bos @ Tor (Monday May 6th; 7:00 pm ET)
Game 4: Bos @ Tor (Wednesday May 8th; 7:00 pm ET)
Game 5: Tor @ Bos (Friday May 10th; 7:00 pm ET)
Game 6: Bos @ Tor (Sunday May 12th; TBD)
Game 7: Tor @ Bos (Monday May 13th; TBD)

 

Western Conference:

Chicago Blackhawks 2 – 0 Minnesota Wild
Game 1: Chi 2 – 1 Min (OT)
Game 2: Chi 5 – 2 Min
Game 3: Chi @ Min (Sunday May 5th; 3:00 pm ET)
Game 4: Chi @ Min (Tuesday May 7th; 9:30 pm ET)
Game 5: Min @ Chi (Thursday May 9th; TBD)
Game 6: Chi @ Min (Saturday May 11th; TBD)
Game 7: Min @ Chi (Sunday May 12th; TBD)

Anaheim Ducks 2 – 1 Detroit Red Wings
Game 1: Ana 3 – 1 Det
Game 2: Det 5 – 4 Ana (OT)
Game 3: Ana 4 – 0 Det
Game 4: Ana @ Det (Monday May 6th; 8:00 pm ET)
Game 5: Det @ Ana (Wednesday May 8th; 10:00 pm ET)
Game 6: Ana @ Det (Friday May 10th; TBD)
Game 7: Det @ Ana (Sunday May 12th; TBD)

Vancouver Canucks 0 – 2 San Jose Sharks
Game 1: SJS 3 – 1 Van
Game 2: SJS 3 – 2 Van (OT)
Game 3: Van @ SJS (Sunday May 5th; 10:00 pm ET)
Game 4: Van @ SJS (Tuesday May 7th; 10:00 pm ET)
Game 5: SJS @ Van (Thursday May 9th; 10:00 pm ET)
Game 6: Was @ NYR (Saturday May 11th; TBD)
Game 7: NYR @ Was (Monday May 13th; TBD)

St. Louis Blues 2 – 1 Los Angeles Kings
Game 1: STL 2 – 1 LAK (OT)
Game 2: STL 2 – 1 LAK
Game 3: LAK 1 – 0 STL
Game 4: STL @ LAK (Monday May 6th; 10:00 pm ET)
Game 5: LAK @ STL (Wednesday May 8th; TBD)
Game 6: STL @ LAK (Friday May 10th; TBD)
Game 7: LAK @ STL (Monday May 13th; TBD)

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