Incase you happened to miss it, the last Shark's - Wing's game was maybe the best of the playoffs thus far. It was physical, it was fast, both teams brought their A-games offensively and both goalies showed up to back their teams. In a game that had so many marvelous scoring opportunities from both teams, it had to be decided in OT off the stick of the hero of the night. Devin Setoguchi scored 3 goals in the 4-3 win and none were bigger than the game winner.
The Playoffs roll on without the Blackhawks. Updates on all things hockey.
The Wings have seemed to get better with each game in the series, which might make for some magic tonight. It surely is a game not to be missed. I put little power in the way things panned out last year for these 2 teams in the playoffs. Regardless of how Detroit battled back to take game 4 last year, this game is going to be ridiculously exciting. The Wings are staying very positive and so much credit has to be given to Babcock for that. He is truly a top-notch coach. His actions and results prove that much.
I am also a huge fan of Todd Mclellan. Always level headed on the bench and a chiseled expression of concern across his face, and how about that hair? It it never moves. I like both coaches faith in their players and their system of play. Much can be learned by the Hawk's administration here. As things move into the summer, we will be watching to see just how much SB and company believe in their players and their system.
Needless to say about this series matchup, the Sharks are proving victorious in close games time and time again. They are getting production when it counts and big saves from their goaltender (38 saves last game). I am a fan of Niemi (obviously) and it might be a big part of why they are my pick this year.
That isn't the only series going on, although fans might have forgotten that a sweep is not the only way to win a series. Two series at 3-0, another over at the hands of said sweep, and low and behold a 3-1 series. This "closer" series is that between the Preds and Nucks. So far, my predictions for this round have seemed to hold true with the exception of this one. I still have faith in the system Trotz has put in place, but that faith is becoming doubt.
A few injuries have lead Trotz to make changes. The loss of Sullivan to injury (probably out for the series) and a few other players has forced a change in his system. The lines are beginning to juggle and we all know how that turns out. The Preds are putting most of their faith in Pecka Rinne (best goaltender in the league) and one can see why, but this seems like a blind-faith kind of effort. The supposed impenetrable defense of Nashville is cracking to the explosive offense of Vancouver.
The Nucks are truly a talent filled team. This is why It pisses me off that they are winning to cheap play. I know that their fans don't want to hear it, but too many non-calls and terrible calls in OT have really helped the argument. Suter might not have had any smarts to pull Kesler down by the head, but he was reacting to a missed high-stick and frustration.
The verdict: Don't blame losses on officiating, right? The fact of the series is that Vancouver is getting the best of Nashville however thin it might be. The powerhouse of Sedin has been relatively silent (empty nets do not count), but the depth of talent has been loud, especially Kesler, in the form of points and taking dives. I still have faith in the Preds, but also fear of a Nashville - Tampa Finals, and Im sure the NHL has that same fear.
Boston and Philly: maybe my hardest pick before the series started, it sure has become quite clear. The talent of Boston is rising to the occasion in all forms of it. Between the system of play, offensive movement and skill, and the goaltending; this Boston team is turning out to be a top pick for the finals and maybe even the whole shibang.
Bye-Bye Caps. I saw them losing, but not in such fashion. According to the news, the General Manager wants Boudreau back as coach, but I question why. Was changing the system such a wise idea, me thinks not. And now questions are being brought up about possible injuries to Ovi. They are unfortunately a part of the game, but I doubt the reason for getting swept.
With the summer already started for the Hawks, and it knocking on a few other team's doors, it is almost time to start breaking down the 2010-2011 Blackhawk's roster, but I save it for after a team is crowned owner of this year. It might be useful to note that Chris Campoli went under the knife recently. A surgery to his right knee in which he is expected to make a full recovery in 2 months. He is a player that I hope to see dawning the red sweater next season. Another player is Hjammer, who seems to be getting a harsh critique lately. All I will say for now is that playing next to Campbell and blocking shots will eventually take its toll on someone, but he still was a strong defenseman during a rough season.