8 Things The Play-Offs Have Given Us
We’re now well in to Round 1 of the 2013 Stanley Cup play-offs, and there have been no shortage of thrills, spills and chills….down the back of our spine…with excitement…..yep…
As the Bruins, Leafs, Caps, Rangers, Ducks, Wings, Blues and Kings all prepare to do battle once again tonight, it felt like a good time to share a few of the things that have ‘lit up’ round 1 for this viewer thus far
The Islanders winger helped his team shrug off a tough loss in game 1 to steal a win in game 2 and fight back from 4-2 down to force overtime in game 3.
Okposo’s coming out party may have been defined by his tussle with Matt Niskanen and bizarre game winner in game 2, but as Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski put it on Twitter “Okposo playing like a guy who’s been waiting since 2008 for this shot. Beast Mode.”
Beast mode indeed. Okposos has been HUGE for the Isles in a series many expected them to sink without a trace in.
The Return of Patrick Kane’s Mullet
Yep, it’s back.
Kane had his fair share of supporters for a Hart nomination after a 23 goal, 55 points season and 3 games in to the Hawks series with Minnesota and Kane has 5 assists and has been sublime. So I’d say yep, it’s working!
One can only imagine the surge in requests at Illinois barber shops if the Blackhawks go all the way again…
Phil Kessel Grabs the Game Winner
After being held to just a single shot in game 1, Kessel gave Toronto fans everything they wanted in game 2 when the former Bruin streaked past the Boston defence and beat Tuukka Rask to score the game winner on Saturday night.
Habs vs Sens Gets Ugly
One of hockey’s greatest clichés went flying out of the window on Sunday night, as the Habs and Senators engaged in a full on line brawl in a game that turned an already fiery series (3 lost teeth already…) ugly:
Roll on game 4….
Pavelski and Couture Help Sharks Surge Towards Round 2
Seemingly gone are the days of Presidents Trophies, in comes something of a Jekyll and Hyde phase for the San Jose Sharks.
Thus far the dominant Sharks, who won 7 straight games to start this shortened season, have shown up against the Canucks, sending the British Columbia franchise in to a spin as Todd McLellan’s side have surged in to a 3-0 series lead, thanks in no small part to Logan Couture (3 goals, 6 points) and Joel Pavelski (2 goals, 6 points).
It would be unfair not to give a nod to Antti Niemi as well. The big Finn was superb in the regular season (were it not for Sergei Bobrovsky he probably would win the Vezina) and has a minuscule 1.62 GAA and a .945 save percentage thus far. Niemi has been a rock for the Sharks, on the other hand….
Canucks Goaltending in a Spin
The story of the season in Vancouver; whilst the team was busy winning the North West (again) it was merely a side subject – now it may be a full on issue.
Roberto Luongo has been solid, but the Canucks anointed Corey Schneider as their number 1 this year and as such feel obliged to give him the start – problem is, the Marblehead, MA native was blown away by the Sharks in his only start of the series before being yanked.
On the bring of elimination, seemingly short of any offensive punch and heading toward a significantly lower cap ceiling – the Canucks management may have some awkward questions to answer very soon.
Meanwhile, Everyone Else Seems to Have Remembered How to Play in Goal
Jonathan Quick, Brina Elliott, Braden Holtby and Henrik Lundqvist all had indifferent starts to the new season.
Elliott was assumed to having had ‘reverted to type’ after a stellar 2011/12 campaign; Holtby was seen as the new kid going through growing pains whilst Lundqvist and Quick were merely having bad runs.
All four are now flying, with Holtby leading almost every statistical category (expects wins, which may change tonight if Washington wins again) whilst Elliott, Quick and Lundqvist also seem to be back on track; with all four battling amongst themselves as the Blues and Kings face-off whilst the Caps fight the Rangers.
The Smash Car
That might not be its official name; but for $5 a pop Islanders fans can smash up a car gussied up in rivals Pittsburgh’s colours during the teams round 1 battle. Yep, this really is a thing: