NHL Week in Review (April 13-19)

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The NHL playoff are officially underway as the march towards the Stanley Cup began this week with 16 teams looking to put their names on the cup. To do this they will need to adjust to a different type of hockey as playoff hockey is a completely different beast than the regular season. Everything changes in the playoffs as the superstars are checked tighter and the ice shrinks for everyone. Defence and goaltending generally take the focus with games becoming tighter and tighter as the playoffs move on. The scoring goes down and everything tightens up with the heroes becoming those third line players that can grind out goals at the best times. This is why the playoffs are that much harder than the regular season and why teams with little experience can sometimes find it hard to move through the playoffs. The adjustments need to be made quickly as teams may only have four games in the playoffs before it is too late for them to adjust. All of these things are the general rules in the playoffs and every year they seem to continue to be shown. That was until the 2014 postseason began and the tight defensive game of the playoffs was blown wide open. It started with the first game of the playoffs between the Montreal Canadiens and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Neither were really known for their ability to put up massive points, especially the Canadiens who’s biggest concern was their 5-on-5 scoring. They would put up a total of 9 goals in their first game that would end in overtime when the Canadiens scored their 5th goal of the game. It seemed strange that the playoffs would see this level of scoring and many would just see it as a fluke that will be adjusted when defences are less nervous. Then the Penguins and the Blue Jackets would score 7 goals while the Ducks and the Stars would match the 7 goal total. The pattern would continue in the second day when the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild scored 9 goals in their back and forth thriller and the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings would come together to score 9 goals. The fluke seemed to be turning into a pattern for the playoffs as there were a total of 54 goals scored in the first games of each series. The scoring would calm down as the second games started but it would remain at a good pace that is not like the playoff hockey in the past. The Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks would total 5 goals in their second game, a total that was matched by Montreal and Tampa Bay in their second game. The pattern of goal scoring in the playoffs is still a young one with plenty more time for the defences and the goalies to adjust and bring back the old ways of playoff hockey. That is not something that the fans and the NHL necessarily want though as the playoffs so far have been some of the most exciting and fast paced games in recent history. There are back and forth battles with high-flying action that are still extremely tight checking games. The battles between the teams are less about which defence can come out on top than which defence can hold on long enough for their offence to get the last goal. It is exciting hockey and although it may not be the best technical hockey it is something that the NHL is hoping continues. If the scoring revolution can continue on in the playoffs the NHL will see better ratings as the postseason moves on and the league is sure to grow from the thrilling hockey being played. Then again the playoffs may revert back to the old ways when teams begin to adjust and the thrilling hockey may just be a case of the jitters in the first few games. Either way it is time to enjoy playoff hockey as it is the most important time of the year for the NHL and whether it is a game that ends 5-4 in overtime or 1-0 in overtime it is still the playoffs and every game means something.

 

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

The Top Pick
The Florida Panthers would get some luck this week as they would win the draft lottery and would earn the top pick in the draft hurdling over Buffalo and becoming the second 29th placed team in two years to earn the top pick

One way to Start the Playoffs
Chris Getzlaf would have an interesting start to his playoffs as he would be hit in the face with a puck in game 1 and go home to see the newest addition to his family being born in what must have been a whirlwind few days

End of an Era
The Nashville Predators have been in the league since 1998 and yet they have never seen a coach other than Barry Trotz on the bench but that would change this week when the first and only Predators coach was fired after failing to lead his team back to the playoffs

 

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