NHL Quarterfinals : 4 down 4 to go
Added by Jackie Daly on April 23, 2012.
The time has now come when we begin to start thinking about the conference semi finals.
With four of the eight quarterfinal matchups already decided, we are halfway there.
The early nastiness that took over the first round has calmed down, and desperation mode is in full effect as teams who were predicted to have deep runs in this year’s playoffs are or are about to be eliminated after first round play.
The most surprising upset is the Pittsburgh Penguins falling to the Philadelphia Flyers four games to two. Once the series started and everyone saw how the Flyers were playing, people realized the Penguins would have to step up their game. After six games of play they were unable to stop the attacking force of Claude Giroux and company, and now have to pack their bags and start their summer earlier than anticipated. The Flyers are moving on, their opponent to be determined.
The first place Vancouver Canucks fell in five games to the eighth place Los Angeles Kings. The Kings playoff berth was not clinched until the very end of the regular season, and Captain Dustin Brown and teammates were able to shutdown the Sedin twins and the Canucks, who had their second consecutive Presidents’ Trophy in tow. They made the Stanley Cup Finals last season, but fell to the Boston Bruins in seven games.
Speaking of the Boston Bruins. They were losing the series against the Washington Capitals 3‐2. Yesterday was game six at the Verizon Center in D.C. with the Bruins evening up the score to three games apiece with a Tyler Seguin OT winner to force a deciding game 7.
The St. Louis Blues beat the San Jose Sharks in five games as well, like the Kings. This is not as much a surprise seeing as the Blues were a breakout team this season with exceptional goaltending from Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliot.
The Nashville Predators beat the Detroit Red Wings, also in five games. Who expected that? Captain Nicklas Lidstrom, who is 41 years of age, and has played his entire career with the Red Wings, has retirement on his mind. He has not announced one yet, but the team was hoping to make a long run for the sake of captain and franchise player Lidstrom.
Game six for the NY Rangers and Ottawa Senators is this evening, with the Senators having a three games to two lead. If Ottawa comes out on top tonight on their home ice, they will be moving on to the semis. If the Rangers let the Senators literally skate circles around them, like they did last game, tonight is the end of the amazing season the NY Rangers have had.
Chicago and Phoenix also have game six tonight. Chicago finds themselves down 3‐2, and must win tonight to keep in. This is an interesting series, seeing as the first five games have gone to OT to decide the winner. The last time this happened was in 1951, Toronto versus Montreal in the Stanley Cup Finals. Will game six need OT or will regulation be enough?