Blog Entry

Playoff payoff for NHL

Posted on: April 28, 2009 11:21 pm

Let's see now, a playoff series between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins. Think anybody at the NHL's head office is smiling?

Since Ovechkin and company can't meet Crosby and crew in a Stanley Cup Final, this is as close as it gets to being a dream scene for the attention starved league. And it's all because of a remarkable game changing sequence that happened in what should have been the last couple of minutes in the first round.

The Carolina Hurricanes, who came back from the dead this season to make the playoffs, did the same tonight to avoid elimination in New Jersey against the Devils, a team that just doesn't give up leads in the third period. But Carolina stunned them by scoring twice in the final 80 seconds of regulation to erase a one goal deficit and steal Game 7 out from under the Devils by a 4-3 score. A New Jersey win would have pitted the Devils against Washington in the first round, but now the Hurricanes will get a date with the Boston Bruins.

Carolina's comeback win capped off a spectacular series -- arguably the best of the first round -- that saw two speedy teams trade wins for the first six games and match each other stride for stride, hit for hit and save for save. Carolina goalie Cam Ward was just a little bit better than New Jersey's Martin Brodeur in a great goaltending duel, but ultimately it was Carolina's best player Eric Staal who stepped up in the final two games and led his team to victory.

In the other series, the Rangers tried to ride goalie Henrik Lundqvist to one more win in a series where they were badly overmatched, but they ended up wasting another superb game from him because they just can't score. It's a problem New York has dealt with all season, but it became particularly acute in this Game 7 against Washington because the Rangers were actually the dominant team. New York did a brilliant job stifling the Caps high power offense in general and Ovechkin in particular with a relentless fore check. It  kept the Caps hemmed in their own zone most of the night, it just didn't help the Rangers get to Washington's rookie goalie Simeon Varlamov, who got off relatively easy in a series that marked his playoff debut.

Truth is New York really had no business getting this far with Washington. The Caps were the better team in all but one of the previous games, but the Rangers had a shot at a monumental upset because Lundqvist stole three wins for them. And they had a real chance to win tonight against a team that hasn't taken New York seriously enough throughout the series.

The Caps spent most of round one playing like they expected to win, it hurt them early in this game when New York caught them off guard with a fast start. It triggered the Rangers best game of the series in front of Lundqvist, but it made little difference because they couldn't generate scoring chances.

And Washington didn't need many to win the game and the series and to make the NHL suits pretty happy.

Category: NHL

Since: May 15, 2007
Posted on: April 30, 2009 11:34 am

Playoff payoff for NHL

I'm sorry, I live in Raleigh and would not lose a wink of sleep if the NBA disappeared tomorrow. The NFL and NHL is all I care about as well as NCSU. SO you're argument loses right there. I live in a non-NBA city and HATE the NBA, you lose. While that may be true for you pathersfan17, it's not true for the majority. Fact of the matter is that, of the four major sports, hockey is the least popular in this country. Personally I think hockey is the greatest sport out there, but what I think and what the general population thinks is not necessarily the same. Just because one person is a fan of hockey doesn't mean the country is. Just because one person outside of an NBA market wouldn't care if they folded doesn't make the arguement false. I don't think he was trying to argue that everyone in the country liked the NBA, just more people. And that's a fact unfortunately.

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: April 29, 2009 10:15 pm

Playoff payoff for NHL

 Who cares if they hate each other? It's not as if either of them are gonna drop gloves...

Since: Oct 5, 2008
Posted on: April 29, 2009 6:12 pm

Playoff payoff for NHL

JDR13, Hes implying the league needs the Crosby and Malkin vs. Ovechkin matchup. No one can say Detroit isn't the best team until someone beats them, but the league obviously markets Crosby hard and Ovechkin is a walking highlight reel. Also since Crosby and Ovechkin do not have much like for one another due to both being arguably the best player in the game and Ovechkin and Malkin don't like each other steming back to the days in Russia and cause Malkin is arguably a great player the rivalries add to the setting. Everyone loves watching people who hit who they hate. Kind of like how everyone will headhunt Hossa if the pens meet the wings in the finals again.

Since: Jul 19, 2007
Posted on: April 29, 2009 5:56 pm

Playoff payoff for NHL

Should be a decent matchup...
Although Wes was wrong about one thing:

Since: Apr 17, 2009
Posted on: April 29, 2009 5:31 pm

Playoff payoff for NHL

No, but it's a matchup of (arguably) the 2 best and most-recognizable talents in the league.  Throw in Malkin and the back-from-the-dead Federov, and it's probably the most attention-grabbing matchup that the league could have hoped for.

Since: Feb 13, 2009
Posted on: April 29, 2009 5:18 pm

Playoff payoff for NHL

theyre both in the eastern conference, thats why.

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: April 29, 2009 5:13 pm

Playoff payoff for NHL

Again, same concept here andyh. What does the Wolverines season last year have to do with hockey or the Red Wings? Nothing. I could ask you how West Virginia did the 50 years before RR got there if you really want to compare programs in that respect.Don't be too hard on Andyh80, the poor guy was probably educated at WVU.

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: April 29, 2009 5:09 pm

Playoff payoff for NHL

JDR13, do you really have to ask why this is a dream matchup for the NHL? You have probably the 3 best players in this series.  I see you are a Wings fan...well nobody cares about the Wings or Detroit in general.  Your team and city are toilet...and so are you. Idiot!Nobody cares about the Wings?

LMAO! This is coming from a Minnesota Wild fan?!? Get back to us when the Wild actually accomplish something. In the meantime, stop broadcasting how much of an ignorant loser you are with those type of comments.

Since: Mar 17, 2008
Posted on: April 29, 2009 5:06 pm

Playoff payoff for NHL

because the men in suits understand that a star matchup between ovie and crosby will bring in huge bucks.

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: April 29, 2009 5:04 pm

Playoff payoff for NHL

Then you have Red Wings fans, who are like the overachieving son/daughter of a family that doesn't give them any attention.  They bring home As, but mommy and daddy are too busy paying attention to the sports stars.
That's hilarious, yet another bitter Penguins fan still spouting sour grapes.

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