Monday, April 30, 2012

NHL Playoffs Week #4: "The Hockey Games"

May the odds ever be in your favor...
This week continues the early to mid round games of the Conference Semi-Finals in the East and West.  While it's too early to write off anyone at this point, here's a look at the current standings:

In the East:
#1 NY Rangers lead the #7 Capitals 1-0
The Rangers seemed to take game 1 with ease at 3-1.  Caps goalie Holtby seem bothered by the dim lighting at Madison Square Garden.  Game 2 is tonight as the Rangers look to close the door as soon as possible.  Is Alex Ovechkin relevant anymore?

#5 Flyers lead #6 Devils 1-0
After a week off, the Flyers came out with 0 shots in the first 10 minutes.  Bryzgalov, while winning, still gives up some soft goals.  If he clamps down, the Flyers breeze through this series.  If not, like game 1, we may see some more overtime games in which Marty Brodeur will whine.

SUMMARY - These series could be over quick if the Caps don't find their offensive prowess of year's past and the Flyers get above average goaltending from their netminder.

In the West:
#2 Blues trail #8 Kings 1-0
The Kings stole one here.  Jon Quick, even though I praised him constantly, can't win this series by himself...or can he?!  Like the Canucks before them, the Blues don't want to lose both at home.  Game 2 is also tonight.  The Blues need to score and stay out of the penalty box.

#3 Coyotes lead #4 Predators 2-0
The only series to have played two games thus far has been the biggest surprise.  Phoenix is the upper seed but Nashville had nearly 10 more points in the regular season.  Preds goalie Pekka Rinne has already given up more goals in 2 games than he did all first round!  Phoenix is the Cinderella team of the playoffs thus far...

SUMMARY - The Blues better be careful of going down 2-0 at home whereas the Predators need to take care of business at home to make sure they don't fall down 3-0.

This Week:
Game 2's:
Rangers vs. Capitals - 7:30pm on NBC Sports
Blues vs. Kings - 9pm on CNBC
Flyers vs. Devils - 7:30pm on NBC Sports

Game 3's:
Rangers @ Capitals - 7:30pm on NBC Sports
Coyotes @ Predators - 9pm on CNBC
Flyers @ Devils - 7:30pm on NBC Sports
Blues @ Kings - 10pm on NBC Sports


NHL Trophies
Today the Jack Adams Award nominees were announced for top coach as well as the NHL Player Foundation Award nominees for a player who "applies the core values of hockey -- commitment, perseverance and teamwork -- to enrich the lives of people in his community."

The Foundation nominees in the order I think they will finish (uh, it's a complete guess!)
  1. Matt Moulson, forward, New York Islanders - because he was drafted by Pittsburgh!
  2. Mike Fisher, forward, Nashville Predators - because he's married to Carrie Underwood!
  3. John-Michael Liles - defenseman, Toronto Maple Leafs - because of his stupid first name!
The Jack Adams nominess in the order they will finish:

1) Ken Hitchcock, St. Louis Blues
He took over barely a month into the season, turned the ship around and made the Blues nearly impossible to play against.  He's had this award locked up since February.

2) John Tortorella, New York Rangers
He finally has gotten this team over the hump from one that sneaks into the playoffs to one that dominates.  If not for Hitchcock, this award could easily be his.

3) Paul MacLean, Ottawa Senators
Granted this team finished nearly dead last year and got into the playoffs this year, I think Florida's Kevin Dineen or Phoenix's Dave Tippett both deserved nominations ahead of MacLean.