So how’s your stomach today? Having any of that pink cocktail (pepto bismal)? While Sam Bradford was becoming a millionaire last night, and A-Rod was breaking an unwritten rule, there was playoff hockey to deal with. Who had the bright idea of having the NFL draft on during the NHL postseason? If you’re like the Rat Trick house, there weren’t enough T.V.s to go around. Thank god I didn’t have to contend with another episode of Real Housewives of Boca Raton! All of this enough to make your irritable bowl syndrome come alive. Did you feel the sigh of relief in Chicago?
Going into yesterday I had already begun pacing back and forth everywhere I was. Office, parking lot. Ate lunch while standing up cause I couldn’t sit down. Then when I got home, it was more of the same. Little Miss Rat Trick had the nerve to tell me to settle down since she wasn’t able to concentrate on her homework with all the nervous energy. Then I had to do the Rink Side Rants Radio show while the Hawks game was going on. Friends texting me during the show and watching the Hawks hang on for dear life in the first while killing off a two man advantage. Asking me, can they do it. It was the perfect example of multi-tasking. Even though I could have shit myself. Heard that on a BBC comedy and thought it was pretty cool.
Beginning with the Hawks, I can’t believe that I was as nervous or concerned about this game as I was. Jeff Bartl over at Blackhawk Up felt the same, as we exchanged a couple quick messages in the late afternoon. But with a few line changes that coach Q actually stuck with, and some solid goaltending by Antii Niemi who got himself another Antii no-no, as coined by Hawks announcer Pat Foley, the Preds were shutdown 3-0. Credit Sharp Dressed Man with his first two goals of the playoffs as well as one by Captain Marvel, the series is now tied at 2. And you can feel the air being let out of the Windy City as well at my house. Yep, it got kinda hairy in the first, but Chicago played their game and did what Nashville usually does, and pounced on some mistakes for the victory, as the series heads back to Chicago. Defenceman Brian Campbell made his playoff debut after being out for six weeks from the broken collarbone suffered on the hit from Alex Ovechkin. Also, the Hawks revamped fourth line of Troy Brouwer, John Madden and Adam Bursish created just enough energy when needed. For the Hawks, this game was a must win and could change the “mo”. For the Preds, they’re going into the Madhouse on Madison Saturday. That’s not good for anyone that’s just visiting.
In Jersey, Brian Boucher is doing his best impersonation of Marty Brodeur and the Phillies beat and eliminated the Devils four games to one. Final score 3-0. That Philadelphia is doing this without Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne, both out with injuries, is a testament to their playoff mentality. Led by Claude Giroux’s two second period goals and the goaltending of Boucher, the Flyers seemed to dispose of the Devils alot earlier than anyone would have expected. Ian Laperierre’s 60 or so stitches to his face is the example of tough, hard nosed Flyer hockey that the team is known for throughout it’s history. Ian’s right eye got in the way of a Paul Martin shot in the third. He got himself sown up, and while he didn’t return to action, you’ll most likely see him in the next series. It’s playoff hockey folks. That’s what they do.
Speaking of seeing anyone, where the hell is Ilya Kovalkchuk? While scoring two goals and getting four assists, I think alot more was expected of the gifted winger. Has he played his last game in The Garden State? The real story of the series though has been Boucher. Good for him. His teammates love him and he’s played well enough at this point to shut up the critics, as the Flyers now advance to the second round. The Devils meanwhile have been eliminated in the first round for the third consecutive time. They had not scored an even strength goal in the final three games. Does this spell changes?
Out west, a couple of youngin’s Logan Couture and Dwight Helminen put the Sharks in the lead against the Avs, as they both scored their first career playoff goals. Evgeny Nabokov stopped 28 shots for the seventh career playoff shutout of his career. San Jose may have turned the tide in their series,as they now have a 3-2 edge going into Colorado. Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski also scored as Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson was chased in favor of Peter Badeye Budaj in the third period. The second period is what doomed Colorado as the longer changes due to where the benches are caused some missed assignments. Tempers flared as well, which isn’t surprising in a series like this. Maturity is going to be a deciding factor here and we’ll see how much Colorado can grow up heading back home. By the way, where’s Big Joe?
Finally Matt Carkner, a very unsuspecting hero for the Ottawa Senators scored in the third overtime to keep the Senators playoff hopes alive, beating the Pens 4-3 and forcing a game six in Ottawa. Or Kanata, wherever that is. Cory Clouston the Sens head coach told his players during the overtime to “trust the system” and apparently they are. Feeling as though they can beat the Pens is probably something going through their heads. Peter Regin who could be this year’s John Druce, if the Sens continue on, scored his third playoff goal with less than 10 minutes left in the third to tie the game, and thus forcing overtime. Carkner’s goal came at 7:06 of the third extra frame, which was sometime after midnite, five hours after the drop of the puck.
Crosby the leading playoff point producer so far had a goal and assist, giving him multiple points in each playoff game, and Kris Letang and Chris Kunitz also scored for Pittsburgh. The Penguins were down 2-0 and scored three unanswered goals before Regin tied it up. Pascal Leclaire making his first ever playoff start stopped 56 shots and was called outstanding by Clouston. Nick Foligno almost won the game 2:05 into overtime, but the goal was disallowed because of a “kicking” motion. The third disallowed goal of the game. Talk about controversy.
Overtimes can change things especially in the playoffs. It can give teams that won the life that they thought they didn’t have. And it can cause the team that lost to lose the confidence they felt they had. Versus studio man and ex- Flyer Keith Jones made an interesting comment on the subject. He’s been involved in two long overtime playoff games. When his team lost an overtime game like this, they ended up being eliminated from the series afterwards. When they won a game like this, they ended up winning the series. Food for thought!
Enjoy the games tonight and the weekend!
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