In a series that had me asking “can both of these teams lose,” the team I wanted to lose THE MOST came out victorious. Which, obviously, makes me even more eager to see the Ducks lose in the second round. (Except they’re probably going to be playing the Flames, if the Flames’ luck has anything to say about it. Let’s hope it holds out.)
Game 1: Canadiens vs Senators
Final Score: Canadiens 0 – Senators 1
Series: Canadiens 3 – Senators 1
The Habs, if you’ll remember, were up 3-0 in the series coming in to this game. One more win in Ottawa and they’d have themselves a nice sweep and a several day break before coming back to face the winner in the Lightning/Red Wings series.
Instead? We get a two period goaltending battle in which both teams are flat out robbed by pad stops and the hockey gods. Carey Price, Vezina finalist (I mean, c’mon) had some masterful saves on breakaway chances for the Sens. And! Just when it looked like Brandon “seriously who gave him the puck” Prust was going to score on a breakaway (yeah, really), veteran Craig “by god we will not get swept” Anderson makes the pad stop to keep the game scoreless.
I make fun of Prust a lot, but that’s because he’s basically a plug. Still, he did have what looked like the beginnings of a slick goal here:
It was starting to look like OT on a 0-0 tie, when midway through the third, rookie Mike Hoffman scores his first career playoff goal. And it was TRULY a mess of a play that led to this goal. Tom Gilbert turns it over in Montreal’s end, Cody “my name is the coolest” Ceci gets it, passes it straight to Hoffman, and Gilbert, who’d gotten up from the check that sent him sprawling, effectively screens Price from the shot.
No sprinkles for Gilbert.
Can the Sens pull it off? It would take a miracle. But hey, crazier things have been known to happen.
What we learned: During the broadcast, the Sens shared the story of Jonathan Pitre, a 14-year-old boy living with Epidermolysis Bullosa, an extremely rare genetic disorder that causes open sores and blisters to erupt on his skin at the slightest hint of friction. James Duthie did a 13 minute long interview with Jonathan and his family, which you can watch here, but please take the warnings very seriously. It’s a heartbreaking condition, but the attitude with which this kid faces every single day is inspirational.
Jonathan Pitre was at the game tonight with his family, dressed in a suit that Sidney Crosby had his tailor make specially for Jonathan, so he could get the experience of going to a game dressed like a player would dress. He’s been given the opportunity to be signed as a scout for the team, and has also spent some time in the broadcasting booth with Duthie and friends.
Maybe the Sens were playing for Jonathan, and if they were, let’s hope for the sake of Jonathan and Sens fans everywhere that this carries into next game at the Bell Centre.
Game 2: Rangers vs Penguins
Final Score: Rangers 2 – Penguins 1
Series: Rangers 3 – Penguins 1
So, let’s talk about the fact that four of the six defenseman currently playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins are call ups from their AHL team, because their blue line is that depleted by injury.
Then let’s talk about the fact that 5 minutes into the 2nd period, the Rangers had 3 power plays and only 2 shots on goal. You read that right. TWO. SHOTS. TOTAL.
It was documented on twitter:
They ended that period with 13 shots on net and 1 goal, with 10 of those shots happening in a 6 minute stretch. It didn’t set any records that I know of, but damn it sure lit the Rangers on fire.
The end regulation with a 1-1 tie, and then 3 minutes into OT, Kevin “I look exactly like my brother but better” Hayes cleans up the rebound off a shot from Carl “Swedish Prince” Hagelin. Marc Andre Fleury is down on the ice making snow angels because of some heinously bad positioning from Ben “did I do that” Lovejoy, and all Hayes has to do is just tap it in. Which he does. Rangers take a 3-1 series lead going back to New York.
What we learned: SERIOUSLY THOUGH. The Penguins are playing with two veteran defenseman, 3 children under the age of 22, and a 27 year old career AHLer. (Not really, but the last time Taylor Chorney spent any significant time in the NHL was 42 games with the 09-10 Oilers.)
So what exactly was keeping the Rangers from turning on their offense? They’ve got a lot of depth at forward, and two shots on goal in 25 minutes of play IN THE PLAYOFFS might work to win games in the first round, but it isn’t gonna cut it in later rounds.
However, they do have Henrik “Bow Down Bitches” Lundqvist on their team, and in a time when goalies are looking more and more human, he’s always going to be an asset.
Game 3:Wild vs Blues
Final Score: Wild 1 – Blues 6
Series: Wild 2 – Blues 2
Well. This game set a record? So that’s kind of exciting. Most goals allowed in a playoff game by the Minnesota Wild, and unfortunately it was at the expense of one of the most exciting goaltending stories in the late regular season. Devan “probably still has PTSD from his time with the Oilers” Dubnyk let in 3 goals in the first and 3 goals in the second before finally getting pulled. Darcy Keumper stopped the rest of the 9 shots he faced.
Which one of the Blues’ six goals did you want to see a gif of? There’s Tarasenk-show’s first goal, to put them up 2-0, where Dubnyk looked a lot like the Dubnyk we were seeing the last season in Edmonton, when all that snow and ice and shitty defense had broken his will to live.
There’s Backes’ goal to put them up 3-0, where Dubnyk thought he had the puck but just. didn’t.
Or there’s also Tarasenko’s second goal, that put them up 5-1, where Dubnyk just gets schooled by this kid. (He used exactly the same move in a regular season game against the Rangers, so maybe watching tape on this kid would be a good idea for next time.)
The Wild do get a PP goal to at least not get shut out (the game after they shut the Blues out in a commanding performance by Dubnyk and the Wild defense), but bro, the Blues would just like you to know that they’re not out yet. Series tied 2-2 and they’re headed back to St. Louis.
What we learned: Dubnyk is human after all, which is good news for his family. I was beginning to think he might have been replaced by a replicant.
Game 4: Ducks vs Jets
Final Score: Ducks 5 – Jets 2
Series: Ducks 4 – Jets 0
Tell you what I did not expect, and that’s the Jets to be swept by the Ducks. In fact, both of us had the Jets winning in 6 in our preview.
I don’t even want to talk about the Ducks winning. I don’t want to talk about the Jets losing. This series was the stupidest. Byfuglien didn’t make me root for the Ducks, but he (and the Winnipeg crowd) didn’t make me root for the Jets either last game. He had a pretty commanding body check on Fleishmann into the Jets bench.
So that was fun. But there’s still the fact that he sucker punched a guy that had just scored on him last game, and that’s . . . not fun. And the Winnipeg crowd still chants a lady’s name to taunt a male player and that’s . . . pretty shitty, actually.
So whatever, this series is over. The Ducks scored 5, and one of those was Andrew “once called Sam Gagner a beauty” Cogliano’s second playoff goal ever. This was the first time all series that the Ducks took a lead going into the third, but unlike the Jets, they can apparently hang on to theirs. Oh and Ryan “I want you to like me so here look at my adorable child” Kesler scored twice, proving he isn’t entirely a waste of space.
What we learned: Well, someone had to win.