So, the Redwings, Capitals, Predators and Sharks have all won their first round match ups and will move on. It will take seven games to decide 3 of the remaining four series. Yes, so far, the 2010-11 NHL playoffs have been quite entertaining.
As some additional random thoughts, goaltending has certainly been the center piece in many of the games thus far. Unfortunately, in several instances, It’s been because of top goaltenders being yanked to be replaced by their backups. In the case of the Flyers, it has become goaltending by committee, though it seems to be working for them. Antti Niemi was pulled a few times for San Jose, yet that didn’t make a difference in the final analyses. Roberto Luongo suddenly cannot beat the Black Hawks, and with Cory Schneider getting a surprising game 6 start only to end up getting hurt in the second period, the Hawks may have serious life after being down 3 games to 0.
Tonight, it is game 7 for both the Flyers/Sabres series and the Black Hawks/Canucks series. The Flyers got their series even in overtime on Sunday with a Ville Leino goal, while the Hawks also won their game in the extra stanza on a goal by Ben Smith after tying their game six on a Michael Frolik penalty shot that led to the injury to Cory Schneider. I expect both games to be exciting and close. Brian Boucher will be back in goal for the Flyers against Ryan Miller, while Corey Crawford will be facing Roberto Luongo again.
Boston has a chance to finish off Montreal tonight, which, to me has been a surprising series. I wish I could have caught more of those games, but it has just not been the case for me. I believe Verses is covering the Flyer/Sabre game 7 and then the late game in Vancouver afterwards. However, after Tim Thomas’s spectacular save in the game 5 win in overtime in which the Bruins won to go up 3 games to 2, the Canadians are facing elimination tonight. It will not be an easy task for Montreal to come back, yet, so far, we have seen some pretty amazing rebounds in series as it is.
Lastly, I am also surprised that the Lightning have taken the Penguins to 7 games. They erupted in the third period last night to knot the series up at 3 games a piece with a 5-2 victory. To be honest, to me, Marc-Andre Fleury has simply not looked sharp at times. Give Tampa a lot of credit for fighting back in this one after being down 3 games to 1. They have found their scoring, and they’ve been getting goals throughout their offense.
The only “definite” thing is their will be two more series decided tonight for certain. I must confess that I really can’t say who will come out on top in those two game 7 meetings. I had picked the Flyers and Canucks to advance, but I can’t say that I am confident in those picks any more. All I do know is I am going to enjoy an evening of good hockey tonight.
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