4.17.15 SC Playoffs Recap (Merrin’s Bracket Is a Mess)

I mean, granted, we’re only two games in. But I had the Hawks winning in five, so I’m gonna need them to step their game up. In fact, that was the only game I watched all of, so why don’t we talk about it first.

 

Game 1: Blackhawks vs Predators

Final Score: Blackhawks 2 – Predators 6

It was said by many fans and pundits on twitter that the Hawks were outplayed the entire game and you know, they’re all right. Very right. The Preds kept the Hawks to 2 shots on goal for the first 11 minutes of the game (both shots? Brandon Saad. I don’t know why I don’t have his shirsey yet.). The Hawks only managed 6 to the Preds 16 in the first period. They kicked it up in the second, which is traditionally the Preds worst period, but Nashville still managed to score once on their 7 shots.

Twice in the first, once in the second, and THREE TIMES in the third, for a grand total of SIX. I’m not going to break them all down, but there are definitely goals Crawford should have had. The sloppy rebound that led to Filip Forsberg’s unassisted goal in the third is what comes immediately to mind. It was weird, Crawford totally had it and then almost made a conscious decision to just let the puck be free. Choices, man, you’re making them.

Chicago had three PPs, one of which was a double minor because Roszival got a high stick that drew blood, and cashed in on a grand total of zero. Their PK was okay, but they still allowed one PPG for the Preds.

Good news? Despite being knocked about by the Preds all night, Patrick Kane seems to have returned to form, burying a great pass from Seabrook on what was WITHOUT QUESTION an uncalled too many men situation for the Hawks.

You can tell because six Hawks came in for the goal celly, and none of them were Crawford.

Nashville refs can’t count though.

What we learned: Never underestimate the Preds without Shea Weber for half the game.

And Hawks,

 

Game 2: Capitals vs Islanders

Final Score: Capitals 4 – Islanders 3

Okay, I have to say this first. I think the guy calling the game on NBCSN thinks it’s the finals already, if the SCOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORE call is any indication. Man, he was so excited for the Caps.

This was actually the cleanest game in the history of the playoffs probably, only one penalty per team, which is impressive when Matt Martin is on one of the teams. Also impressive since between the two teams, there were almost 100 hits. Anyway, Wash manages to capitalize on their man advantage and also kills the Isles’ chances on theirs.

Big news in this game: Holtby out with mysterious illness, which has to be pretty bad for him to miss a playoff game, given hockey players’ tendency to play with punctured lungs and broken bones. Twenty-three year old precious nugget Grubauer was okay in net, but was definitely helped by the Caps keeping the Isles to only 21 shots. He still let in three goals, at one point getting the Caps to a 3-1 deficit they had to climb out of on the backs of impressive goals from Backstrom and Ovechkin.

What we learned: That though you can try doing the flying v backwards in defense, it isn’t really all that effective as a play.

 

Game 3: Canadiens vs Senators

Final Score: Canadiens 3 – Senators 2

Look, I picked the Sens in 7 and THEY COULD STILL DO IT. Granted, 86% of teams who lead 2-0 after the first two games go on to win the series, but that leaves a 14% chance. Granted, the 8 times the Sens have found themselves down 2-0 they have won a grand total of zero series. Get your probabilities away from me.

Now, I was pretty firmly tied up in the Hawks game, and this game probably happened while I was running around town trying to buy a copy of Mass Effect and also some liquor and some Chinese food, so I’ve only watched the highlights. But while I know Hamburglar is the beloved son of Ottawa these days, he looked really rough on those three goals he let in. The first he’d been down in butterfly, jumped back up, puck goes 5-hole. But why did he jump back up? No one had cleared the puck. Literally seconds before that puck wouldn’t have gone in. On the Subban goal, his teammates just hung him out to dry. All five Senators are clumped around the puck and left PK Subban all alone at the top of the zone. Puck comes free of the scrum, straight to Subban, and he has all the time in the world to build a cannon to launch this puck from. No screens, no tips, and while sure it’s a slap shot from someone who can really launch them, Hammond didn’t have an obstructed view? He flinched his head away and threw an elbow up but got nothing on it. Sacrifice the body, Hammond.

And then the game winner came off a rebound Hammond could have had. You’re in OT in the playoffs, bud. Swallow everything you can.

The Habs did have 42 shots on goal, so there are probably at least half as many big saves that he did make (where he wasn’t helped out by defense) but none of them made the highlight package.

The Sens also scored twice, coming from behind to tie the game to force the OT. They’re trying. They’re the little engine that could.

What we learned: Goals get kisses.

 

Game 4: Canucks vs Flames

Final Score: Cancuck 4 – Flames 1

I left this one for last on purpose because WHAT A BLOODBATH, OH MY GOD. This is the stuff that playoff dreams are made of.

Look so yes the score was 4-1. The Sedin collective gets a goal, followed by Chris Higgins on the PP because the Flames took the second dumbest penalty. No score in the second, Canucks take the lead to 3-0 in the first two minutes of the third. Then the Flames finally get on the board after Hamhuis goes off for an interference call against Monahan. But the Canucks cement the win with an empty netter.

NOW FOR THE OTHER STUFF.

Midway through the second, Bollig tries to bury a shot from someone out at the point, and in doing so ends up flattening Eddie Lack. What started out as an innocent enough shot on goal ends with all ten players on the ice engaged in some fashion, and actual ray of sunshine Eddie Lack taking swings at Bollig with his blocker. Bollig’s caught up under someone’s arm at this point and Eddie Lack is still on the ground, so he ends up hitting Bollig’s bum. Which, you know. If Eddie’s gonna punch someone, it might as well be there.

And then the third period. This game had 166 penalty minutes doled out IN THE FINAL TWO MINUTES OF PLAY. What carnage, friends. What sport.

Before that though, Flames forward Michael Ferland takes a run at Eddie Lack. Not during play, the puck was nowhere near him, he just skates by and knocks Eddie to the ice, in a clear bid to, as we say, “start some shit.” He was successful, and and while there was no actual fighting at this juncture, there was certainly some roughing after the whistle.

Words were exchanged after a shot on goal for the Flames late in the third. I mean literally it was under two minutes left in the game. Bollig seems to have been the one to throw the first shove. Four players on each team ended up with fighting majors and/or game misconducts. (Including Carolyn’s fake hockey boyfriend Brandon Bollig.)

If you’d like to watch a video of this 2 ½ minute long fight, you can do so here.

The aftermath:

What we learned: No matter how this series ends (I have the Flames winning, but you know, I like a good upset) there will probably be lives taken before the end.

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