NHL Week in Review (May 3-9)

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The second round of the NHL playoffs have been quite different from the first round as the games may have started to take their toll.

The first round was a tough one as only the Ducks were able to end their series in four games.

The Ducks dominated the Winnipeg Jets and showed that although the Jets were a good team they were not good enough to compete at that level yet.

The rest of the series took a different turn though as all of them were much closer than those.

The Rangers were the team that came closest finishing the Penguins off in five games. It was a series where the Pens fought back to take one but ultimately their injuries sunk them.

In all four more series went six games while another two took all seven to determine a winner.

It was a tough round where teams fought as best they could to find their way to the second round and that fight may have taken something out of the remaining teams.

The second round opened with teams simply dominating series in a round that looked to be on the way to plenty of sweeps.

The Chicago Blackhawks started things off early looking too overpowering for the Minnesota Wild. They completed their sweep and became the first team to earn a spot in the conference finals.

At the start of the round it seemed like there were going to be a couple of teams joining them with an early ticket to the next round.

After completing the sweep in the first round the Anaheim Ducks got to work early against the Calgary Flames.

The Flames were much like the Jets, the team the Ducks swept in round 1, in that they had played their best hockey late in the season and were a hot team that was playing above their talent level.

The Ducks exposed the Jets for their issues and after starting the second round with two shutout wins against the Flames it seemed like they were going to do the same against the young Flames.

The Montreal Canadiens seemed to be joining their fellow Canadians when their series started with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Throughout the season the Canadiens could not beat the Lightning as they were the team that Montreal could not figure out.

Heading into the second round the worry was that the Canadiens still couldn’t figure them out and that a team that had a lot of holes hidden by likely Vezina winner Carey Price was going to be exposed again.hockey-sidebar

That ended up being the case as the Canadiens lost their first three games to the Lightning.

Even in the closest series of the round the fight seemed to be over too quick as the New York Rangers started well enough but had lost all momentum in games 3 and 4 losing both to the Capitals and letting Alexander Ovechkin get hot in the process.

Every series seemed to be heading towards and early finish but that wasn’t the case. The Flames fought back in Game 3 to ensure the Ducks were not going to earn their second sweep of the playoffs.

They did drop Game 4 putting them in elimination territory and giving the Ducks an out but it will not be a sweep.

The Canadiens also fought back winning games 4 and 5 avoiding the sweep and extending the series to six games.

The Rangers came back in Game 5 to push the series further once again. As the Blackhawks sit back and try to heal from the bumps and bruises the nearly eliminated teams are fighting back.

Whether they will get the wins they need to make round 2 a comeback round remains to be seen but from what started as a dominant round is becoming a lot more competitive as teams finally get into the fight.

It is a tough thing to do for a lot of teams as the first round takes so much out of a team and getting back into that attitude after fighting hard once can be tough.

Clearly it was for a number of teams but with the fight back in them they look to make the comeback and stave off elimination to take one more step to the Stanley Cup.

Overtime
(Extra Thoughts on this week in hockey)

Rozsival Done
The Blackhawks were done their series early as they eliminated the Minnesota Wild in four games but in that fourth game they suffered a big setback in seeing Michal Rozsival go down with a fractured ankle that has ended his season

Babcock Gets Permission
The Mike Babcock frenzy is officially underway as the Detroit Red Wings have given him permission to talk to other teams as he now enters free agency as the most sought after coach in the NHL

Shero the man in New Jersey
The New Jersey Devils are continuing their rebuild after announcing that Ray Shero was the team’s new GM stripping the title from longtime GM Lou Lamoriello, although Lamoriello stays with the team as President

Losing to Belarus
The World Championship continues to take a backseat to the NHL playoffs but USA hockey made some news after they lost 5-2 to Belarus, a team that is considered to be a lower level team in the top division, shocking fans of USA Hockey

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