Well, the playoffs are certainly back in full force, aren’t they? If you were like me, you couldn’t watch all the games, so here’s a quick rundown of what happened last night.
Game 1: Islanders v Capitals
Final Score: Isles 4 – Caps 1
Probably the most boring game on the docket, the Isles went up quickly in the first on a goal Holtby should’ve had. New York had almost completely managed to shut down Ovechkin, and even though the Caps power play got a few good looks, Halak stood tall. The Caps scored on an excellent shot with a minute left in the 1st, but unfortunately, that was it.
Ryan Strome scored off a Tavares faceoff win quickly in the second and…then I switched over to the Hawks game. Isles scored again on Holtby at some point, and then got the empty netter to seal the deal.
What we learned: The Isles poor PK shut down the best power play in the league, and easily. Washington needs to inject some energy into their game for round two. Also, Nick Leddy totally cheated on growing his playoff beard by not shaving before the games started. It’s already as big as his face.
Game 2: Canadiens v Senators
Final Score: Habs 4 – Sens 3
Yes, you are reading that final score correctly. What was advertised as a goaltending battle quickly devolved into anything but. Also, some dickwad decided to put this game on NHLN, which means that I couldn’t watch it.
Oh, and remember how Merrin talked about watching these two last time they met in the playoffs (2013) and how the series ended in a couple of bench clearing brawls? And how everyone was hoping this would be a cleaner series?
The Sens strike first, but not in the way you would expect, with the Habs’ Dman Markov accidentally shoveling the puck past Carey Price. Oh yeah, an own goal.
Don’t worry, the Canadiens go on to tie up the game, at which point I tweet “if they get the lead they’ll be hard to beat” (because protecting leads is what they do best) and as I push send, they get another goal. But the fun doesn’t stop there!
For some reason, PK Subban thinks he should do a full baseball-swing slash on rookie phenom and leading Sens scorer, Mark Stone. Stone heads off the ice to get his hand checked out, Subban gets a 5min major for intent to injure and a game misconduct. Here’s a gif of his reaction. No lie, it’s kinda hot.
It gets better! The Sens’ Kyle Turris ties up the game, and then Lars Eller decides he doesn’t like that so HE scores. And then Zibanejad scores to tie it again. Finally, Montreal’s Flynn scores to put the Sens out of their misery, and the game ends 4-3.
Mark Stone was in and out of the tunnel the rest of the game by all reports, though he did play in those final minutes. Apparently there was a scrum where he threw punches? Since I’m only invested in being right in my bracket, the “he was diving” vs “suspend Subban” fan reactions are pretty amazing to watch. Literally both fanbases are foaming at the mouth right now about this game.
What we learned: We are in for a wild ride. Also, much like the fans, Ottawa coach Cameron has zero chill (and might get fined for his postgame comments).
Game 3.5 – Blackhawks v Predators
Final Score: Hawks 4 – Preds 3
The Predators ran a “keep the red out” campaign for this series, not allowing anyone with an out of state credit card to purchase tickets. Much to my eyes’ chagrin, it worked, and Bridgestone arena was a sea of that hideous yellow.
In a shocking turn of events, Corey Crawford was hung out to dry on 3 goals early in the first, including this particularly egregious error by veteran Dman Rozsival.
It’s almost like he plays for the Stars! (Too soon?)
Chicago goes down 3-0, and before the start of the 2nd their coach, Quenneville, decides to put rookie backup goalie Scott Darling in net. You may have heard of him, as he’s Merrin’s second favorite player in the NHL, he has a fantastic beard, and is the only goalie to have ever made it from the SPHL to the NHL. And now he’s in his first playoff game. And his team is down by 3. After the 1st.
But the Blackhawks are the Blackhawks, and now they have Patrick Kane back. They score quickly in the 2nd on a beautiful play from Teuvo Teravainen to center the puck, and Dman Hjalmarsson elevates it right past Pekka Rinne. Then, the Preds can’t seem to stop themselves from taking penalties and the Hawks notch another one, this time from Patrick Sharp with Patrick Kane on the assist. The Hawks play the second period like they’re possessed, and sure enough, on another power play, Toews gets a pretty feed from Kane and bam, the game is tied.
The third period is a flurry of activity at both ends, with the goalies putting in spectacular games, including this Darling save on what should’ve been a game winner.
Now stop me if you’ve heard this one before: neither team scores during the 3rd so the Blackhawks have a playoff game heading to OT.
If you’re new to playoff hockey, you might not know this, but playoff OT is different than regular season OT. It remains 5 on 5 play, it lasts a full 20 minutes, and there is no shootout. First goal wins.
It was pretty clear that the Preds fans at Bridgestone were not prepared for playoff OT. Yes, their team had just squandered a 3 goal lead, but they were pretty loud in the 3rd period. In the 4th? Not so much. In the 5th? (Because of course this game went to A SECOND OT) the fans were dead silent.
Eventually, Duncan Keith scores from the point to put everyone in Nashville out of their misery.
What we learned: THE PLAYOFFS ARE BACK, BITCHES. Also, Scott Darling is legit.
Game 4: Canucks v Flames
Final Score: Flames 2 – Canucks 1
Remember how I said that I was picking the Flames because of their dumb luck? Yeah, I’m feeling pretty validated right now.
Jonas Hiller was going up against Eddie Lack in net. Both goalies were playing pretty well, with Hiller getting the majority of the workload in the 1st, because well, the Flames forget how to hockey until there’s about 20 minutes left of a game. Think Stars, but in reverse.
The Flames dressed my Fake Hockey Boyfriend, so I already considered this game a win, but they also put out there 18 yr old Sam Bennett, who was eager to prove himself, and was one of the few Calgary players who managed to break out of the defensive zone in the first. I only saw snippets of this game because of the Hawks going to double OT, but at the end of the 1st, the score was 0-0.
The Canucks’ own teenage dream, Bo Horvat put them on the board in the 2nd, and for quite some time, that was the only goal. But then the 3rd period happened and the Flames sprung to life. David Jones scored 8 minutes in to tie the game. Shots were actually in Vancouver’s favor this period, but Hiller made some great stops, and was eager to keep the game pace slow and break up the Canuck’s efficient cycle game by grabbing the puck whenever he could.
And then, just as we all thought we were headed to another OT…Kris Russell scores from the point with 30 seconds left in the game.
What we learned: The young kids continue to impress, with Bennett, Gaudreau, and Horvat being stout offensively. The Flames are gonna be the Flames, and Brandon Bollig continues to be pretty.
VIVA LA PLAYOFFS!!