NHL Week in Review (May 10-16)

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Then there were four as the Stanley Cup playoffs have been reduced to the best four teams facing off for their spot in the Stanley Cup Finals.

The second round was close to the comeback round but in the end only one team could withstand the early deficit.

With the Chicago Blackhawks sweeping their first round series they sat back and watched every other series turn into at least a bit of a fight.

The Calgary Flames attempted a comeback taking one game in their series but in the end the Ducks were too much.

The Ducks ended it in five games and earned a date with the Blackhawks for the Western Conference title.

Meanwhile in the east the Montreal Canadiens put up a bigger fight in their second round series after going down 3-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning. They took the next two games from the Lightning but fell short in the sixth game to end the comeback short and giving the Lightning a berth in the Eastern Conference championship.

The New York Rangers were the one team that made good on their comeback though after going down 3-1 after the first four games.

The Washington Capitals seemed like they were too much for the Rangers as Alexander Ovechkin began to get hot at the right time.

The Rangers didn’t give in though as they won the next three games and earned a spot alongside the Lightning in the Eastern Conference finals.

Now these four teams will face-off in what promises to be two good series to determine the Stanley Cup match-up.

In the east it is two teams with very different styles of play.

The Lighting are the best Eastern Conference team at scoring with 2.62 goals per game during the playoffs.

The Rangers are at the bottom of that list for the playoffs but are the best team in the playoffs with 1.67 goals against per game.

It is offence against defence in the eastern series but with a goalie battle to be envied.

A large part of the success of the Ranger defence is simply King Henrik. Lundqvist has been the best goalie in the playoffs this year with a 1.60 GAA and .944 save percentage all while facing the most shots (355) by any goalie left in the playoffs.

As he stands on his head game after game the Rangers are allowed to take their time scoring.

On the opposite side the Lightning can take so many chances on offence because Ben Bishop has proven to be the goalie they have been looking for in the playoffs. With a 1.81 GAA and .931 save percentage, Bishop is not far off of Lundqvist this year and has faced the second most shots (332) of any goalie left in the playoffs.

This classic offence against defence battle is sure to provide plenty of fireworks with skill on both sides and two goalies that won’t give a lot to their opponents.

In the West it is a matchup of two powerhouse teams looking to one-up each other to earn a shot at the Stanley Cup.

The Anaheim Ducks have been the best team in the playoffs this year as they have played dominant hockey all the way through two rounds.

They average 3.89 goals per game and only allow an average of 2.00 goals against per game. They swept the Jets and ended their series against the Flame in five games.

Corey Perry has the most points in the playoffs and sits only a goal away from playoff leader Tyler Johnson in the foal scoring category.

Along with Ryan Getzlaf they make a very potent one-two punch that so far nobody has figured out. Now they take on a new challenge altogether in the Chicago Blackhawks. The team that has won two Stanley Cups since 2010 and has a pair of skaters in Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, that can easily match Getzlaf and Perry.

Kane is right there with Perry in most categories as he also has seven goals and sits second with 13 total points.

The Blackhawks beat the Preds in six games and swept the Wild as they only seem to be finding their groove now.

The Western Conference series is a matchup of two of the best teams in the NHL and is sure to provide everything that a series could want with the difference possibly being the goalies with Frederik Anderson showing steady goaltending behind a great defence while Corey Crawford has been shaky at times for the Blackhawks.

The third round of the playoffs is exactly what the NHL and fans of the NHL wanted as the four best teams are fighting for a chance at the Stanley Cup as two long big battles will provide the best possible matchup to determine the champions this year.

Overtime
(Extra Thoughts on this week in hockey)

McClellan to Edmonton?
The Oilers are getting ready for a big season next year when Connor McDavid likely ends up in Edmonton and they are trying to find the best man behind the bench to lead the young team with Todd McClellan seemingly leading the way to become the new coach of the Oilers

A Rivalry Renewed
The Russians and Canadians will face-off in yet another match-up of powers and this time it will be for the World Championships as last year’s champion takes on the best offensive team in the tournament with the Canadians try to win for the first time since 2007

Another Lawsuit
The family of Steve Montador is preparing a lawsuit against the NHL after a brain scan determined that the former defenceman had signs of CTE that may have led to his death with the family joining in on the lawsuits that claim the NHL knew the dangers and did nothing

Senators Plea to save Owner
Eugene Melnyk has been a long-time owner of the Ottawa Senators and often an outspoken owner but when he entered the hospital said nothing about his need for a liver transplant until the doctors pleaded him to go public and the team holding a press conference asking for help

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