Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Playoff Thoughts

Some random ruminations about the playoff games so far:

Detroit's playoff experience is overwhelming the Blue Jackets so far in their matchup. I had thought that the regular season experience and success that the BJ's had against the Wings would carry over in their series. I was wrong. Columbus has yet to get a point from Rick Nash, and the Detroit offense has had Mason under siege. The Jackets have been outscored 8-1 in their two games in JLA, and they have looked confused against the defense of the Wings. The 2-0 hole they are in is going to be difficult to overcome.

The Bruins look like the dominant team they were in the regular season. Montreal is in serious danger of being swept in this series. The B's have physically dominated the Habs and are putting constant pressure on Price, who has looked shaky at best.

The surprise to me is the Rangers 2-0 lead over the Caps. The defense of the Blueshirts has been stellar, holding Alexander the Great off the scoresheet. Lundqvist is the difference in this series, outplaying Theodore and Varlamov. The Ranger offense has been surprisingly effective and efficient.

Khabibulin continues his dominance against the Flames, now running his lifetime record to 24-5-1 against Calgary. The Hawks offense is explosive and has several lines that can score. Couple that with the banged up blueline for the Flames, and one would have to say they are in trouble in this series. If Calgary's top line doesn't start scoring consistently, this could be over quickly.

St. Louis is still trying to solve Luongo. He has been outstanding in net and is getting help from his offense. This is a deadly combination for the Blues, and if they don't hold serve in game 3, this series could be a sweep.

Should Anaheim win again in the Shark Tank, the confidence level of the Sharks will be in negative territory. You have to figure that the pressure of being the one seed in the West coupled with their playoff shortcomings has to be weighing on the Sharks. It will be interesting to see if Joe Thornton and the other top players for the Sharks can produce in this game. I expect a physical war tonight.

Carolina has evened their series with the Devils, but the Devils have suffered some key personnel losses. Jamie Langenbrunner did not make the trip with the team to Carolina due to a severely injured groin, and Jay Pandolfo is banged up. Brodeur in net always gives the Devils a chance, but the injuries are taking a major toll on the Devils.

Can Philadelphia make any more boneheaded plays? Two untimely penalties put the Flyers down two men in the overtime and cost them the game. Philly is the epitome of a team that has great talent yet is so undisciplined in their play, and it costs them dearly. The Pens are more than happy to take advantage of the play of the Flyers. If they continue to play as they have, they will be gone in four.

Other notes: Boston's Milan Lucic has a disciplinary hearing today with Colin Campbell for the cross-check to the head of Maxim Lapierre in yesterday's game with Montreal. Lucic received a match penalty for the cross-check. Paul Kariya is skating for the St. Louis Blues, but is not expected to play today. The Devil's Jamie Langenbrunner is called out for at least two games with his groin injury. Boston lost D Matt Hunwick for the remainder of the playoffs as he had an emergency spleenectomy yesterday.

Hockey nirvana continues with three games this rainy Sunday afternoon and evening. For several teams, their playoff destiny hangs in the balance.

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