They've All Played One. What Have We Learned?

Watch the opening playoff montage on CBC to kick off the Stanley Cup Playoffs for 2011

You know the drill here at The Rat Trick.  No playoffs for us, so you get a sprinkling of Panther’s news as well as playoff coverage and any other nonsense or really important items we feel you need to see.  With this in mind, the weekend is upon us and we can stay up late and watch all the games with no worries of getting up early.  Unless of course you have to work….and in that case I guess you’ll be tired.

Everyone’s played their first game by now and we can all confidently say one thing.  You need to win four in a series, and nothing is over.  There’s a stat that says that regardless of what the series is after two games, the team that wins game two has a 70% chance of moving to the next round.  Seems like pretty good odds as the Chicago Blackhawks can attest to that, having lost both opening games to Vancouver, two years in a row…. make that three with the loss on Wednesday.  The Bruins however may be the reverse of that, as they know a 3-0 series lead is virtually meaningless.

In the Eastern Conference Washington, Buffalo, Montreal and Pittsburgh all lead their series so far 1-0.  Alexander Semin finally erased the goal scoring demons and scored an overtime winner against the Rangers Thursday night.  The Pittsburgh Penguins put together a gutsy effort with solid goaltending by Marc-Andre Fleury to lead Tampa.  Carey Price is out to prove that keeping him was the right choice as Montreal defeated Boston, in spite of Jacques Martin and “The System”.  Finally Ryan Miller shows that Buffalo is not going away easily and took the first game from the Eastern Conference Champion Philadelphia Flyers.

In the Western Conference Nashville, Detroit, Vancouver and San Jose all have a one game to none lead.  Mike Fisher- Underwood was the star for the Preds on Thursday with two goals and an assist, Detroit proved that being old is ok as long as you have a mule.  Johan Franzen had a goal and an assist giving him 59 points in 51 playoff games in the last three years.  The Canucks took charge in the first 12 minutes and held off the push back by the Hawks the rest of the way.  Roberto Luongo was very good (I really typed that), but his goal posts were perfectly placed.  Four times.  Finally Joe Pavelski scored in overtime to have San Jose take a bite out of the Kings.

When you’re the team on the road,  your mission should you decide to accept it is to at least split.  Coming home with your series tied at one now gives you the home ice advantage, and could be just enough to turn the tide your way.  The playoffs are all about momentum swings.  They come at various times and depending on which side you’re on, the series can change direction with the snap of a finger.  Or the bounce or deflection of a shot.  A bad penalty taken at the wrong time, a short handed goal, and of course your home crowd, all play various roles.

Any team that is down 1-0 is not out of.  First round games usually have the most upsets and always provide the most excitement because there are so many games.  You can’t have enough T.V.’s.  However it has been proven, that even if you pay for Direct TV, you still don’t have enough networks. (ba dum ching).  I had to watch the first period of the hawks game on my lap top Wednesday since Washington and New York couldn’t end the game in regulation.  Just think if that game went three overtimes?  No one, unless you lived in Vancouver or Chicago would have seen that game on their big screen.

To answer the question of today, “What have we learned”?  Everyone still has a chance….  You play till the whistle blows…..  You leave it all on the ice…..  Having a hot goaltender helps….when Little Miss Rat Trick says “he looks mean” about coach Q, good things happen.

And we need a network that can handle all the games!

Thanks for reading.   We welcome your comments and opinions.

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Tags: Alexander Semin Boston Bruins Carey Price Chicago Blackhawks Johan Franzen Los Angeles Kings Marc Andre Fleury Mike Fisher Montreal Canadiens Nashville Predators New York Rangers Roberto Luongo Ryan Miller San Jose Sharks Vancouover Canucks Washington Capitals

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