NHL Week in Review (May 18-24)

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The NHL Playoffs are creeping ever closer to the Stanley Cup as four teams remain and are fighting every step of the way to get there. The series both looked like they were set up for interesting matchups. In the West it was the powerhouse Chicago Blackhawks against the wild card Los Angeles Kings. The Kings were never supposed to compete with the Blackhawks looking like the team to beat but the Kings would not give up. The series would be closer than most as the Kings would beat the Blackhawks at home becoming the first team to beat Chicago at home in the playoffs. The win would even the series and make the Western Conference title a real fight that not many were expecting. Meanwhile in the east the matchup was expected to be much closer with two teams that were never supposed to make it this far. The Montreal Canadiens would take out the team that many thought of as the Stanley Cup favourites in Boston. The New York Rangers would beat Sidney Crosby and the Penguins to earn their spot thanks to great performances by Henrik Lundqvist. The two teams were expected to fight a close battle from the start but instead the Rangers took a commanding lead in the series. The Rangers would take both away games in Montreal surprising the Canadiens and putting them in good standing as they went home to New York. Then the Canadiens would take one game back in a very hard-fought battle that would change the face of the series in many ways. Not only did the win give Montreal some life in the series and prevent a potential sweep but the game provided some added hate to the series. The Canadiens and Rangers do not have the rivalry that the Canadiens had with Boston or the Rangers had with Philadelphia but they do have history. Both teams are part of the Original Six and have a history but they do not have much recent history to make them true rivals. Game #3 in the series might have changed all that as the series would increase the hate among both teams. It would all start when Brandon Prust would hit Derek Stepan after he passed the puck away. The hit was a late hit and it would be a high hit with Prust’s shoulder hitting Stepan high on the chest and eventually landing on his chin. Stepan would reportedly suffer a broken jaw on the play, despite playing the rest of the game, and Prust would become an immediate target. Later in the game Derek Dorsett would find Prust and fight him as payback for the late hit. During that fight Ranger enforcer Daniel Carcillo would be looking to get into another fight in the scuffle but would be held back by the referees preventing any further fights from breaking out. While being restrained Carcillo would let his hot head get the better of him as he would try to get away from the referee. He would jab his elbow forward trying to get out and hitting the referee which would translate to an automatic game misconduct for abuse of the referee. The two incidents would add to the fire of the series and would remove three players from the roster. For the Rangers Prust would receive a two-game suspension for his hit while in Montreal Derek Stepan is out indefinitely after suffering a broken jaw on the hit and Carcillo would receive a 10-game suspension for abuse of the official. The series would see a little more added to the old rivalry between the teams and should provide plenty to talk about as the series continues on. The series is far from over with the Canadiens looking to climb back and the Ranger two wins away from getting a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals. With the added aggression the series will only improve as the teams will fight harder to get the win with the Stanley Cup within reach.

 

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

New GM for Vancouver
The Vancouver Canucks would end their search for a new GM when they announced that Jim Benning would take over the role as Trevor Linden and now his old teammate go about reversing the fortunes of the team

Isles find their goalie
The Islanders have struggled for years and one of the main reasons is the fact that they have yet to find a solid goalie but they would hope that they found their goalie this week signing Jaroslav Halak to a four-year deal

Job Security in Anaheim
The Ducks ended their run at the Cup too soon but their season and their good playoff showing would earn GM Bob Murray a contract extension through 2020 as he has job security to try to bring the Ducks back to the Stanley Cup

 

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