The NHL playoffs are underway and in full swing. The first night of action was as amazing as predicted, but with results that were not as accurate.
True, there are seven games to a series if need be, but when teams come out and stun the fans and analysts, it throws everyone a curve ball of confusion, and this is why the NHL playoffs are amazing.
Take last night for example. The Philadelphia Flyers are up against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, in a brutal battle of Pennsylvania. If you hear the broadcasters talking, they are sure that there is no team that can shut down the offensive presence of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pens. People are concerned, especially for the Flyers, with the inconsistent goaltending of Ilya Bryzgalov. He was great in net for the last bit of the season, but in the back of everyone’s mind is his less than stellar performance from last year’s playoffs when he was in net for Phoenix. They didn’t make it past the quarterfinals.
After the first period, Pitt was ahead 3‐0. Of course, it only seems fit that Crosby scored the first goal of the 2012 playoffs. I was thinking too, if this were any indication of how this series will go, the Flyers would be 4 games and out.
Fast forward to the end of the game where Pitt did not score any more goals, and Philly rallied and scored three to tie it up, and send the first game of the series to OT. Jakub Voracek of the Flyers scored in the first few minutes of OT to end the game; 4-3 Philadelphia.
The whiteout at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh was stunned. This is a series I am predicting to go to seven games, and not come as easily for Pittsburgh as everyone is thinking.
Another stunning win was for the eighth place LA Kings who took on the first place and Presidents trophy winning Vancouver Canucks. This game was a penalty filled physical battle, with the Kings stunning the Canucks 4‐2 in game 1.
The quarterfinals continue tonight with the first place NY Rangers taking on the Ottawa Senators at MSG, and the Devils face the Florida Panthers tomorrow night in Florida.
Brace yourself. The Stanley Cup is not going to be awarded to any team until mid-June, when the final series is over. We have a solid two months of gritty hockey. Like I said before, it WILL get ugly. And I cannot wait.