BDCi TV NHL Slap Shot Snap Shot 5-5-13
LOS ANGELES, CA (BDCi) – The shortened NHL regular season has come to an end and the Stanley Cup playoffs are underway! We have eight solid matchups and plenty of intrigue with each pairing! How have the number one seeded Blackhawks and Penguins fared so far? Are the defending champs rolling through the playoffs for the second straight year? There are plenty more questions to be asked an answered! Read ahead to find out what all is going on!
Eastern Conference Matchups
#1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs #8 New York Islanders
The Penguins rolled through the Eastern conference this season and earned the top spot and a date with the New York Islanders in the first round of the playoffs. After missing the playoffs the past several seasons, the Islanders were a bit of a surprise team to make the playoffs this year and are trying to prove they belong. After a 5-0 thrashing by the Penguins in game one, the Islanders rebounded to take game two after falling behind 3-1 and scoring three unanswered goals to earn a 4-3 victory. Game three was just as exciting as game two as the Islanders jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, only to fall behind 4-2, come back and tie it at 4, and ultimately lose 5-4 in overtime when Penguins captain fed a pass to Chris Kunitz who roofed a wrist shot over the outstretched glove of goaltender Evgeni Nabokov to give the Penguins a 2-1 series lead. This series will conclude this week as games 4-7 will all be played and a victor will be known by Sunday night at the latest.
#2 Montreal Canadians vs #7 Ottawa Senators
This series has been quite a blood bath and these two Canadian teams have been at each others throats the entire series. In game one Canadians center Lars Eller was hit hard by Senators defenseman Eric Gryba and suffered a head injury and could be out for quite some time. The Senators would go on to win game one by a score of 4-2 and goaltender Craig Anderson was an absolute wall as he faced 50 shots in that game. In game two the Canadians answered back with a 3-1 win before the two teams had an all out brawl in game three that saw the Senators earn a 6-1 victory. The two teams combined for 236 penalty minutes as the Senators just piled it on with four goals in the third period of game three. The underdog Senators currently lead this series two games to one with the outcome of this series to be decided by the end of next week as games four through seven will all be played next week.
# 3 Washington Capitals vs #6 New York Rangers
It seems like these two teams face each other every year in the playoffs. This year we have the two Eastern conference foes facing off again as red hot Capitals are looking to exact revenge on the Rangers as New York ousted Washington in seven games last year to advance to the Eastern conference finals. The Capitals are well on their way to exacting that revenge as they currently lead two games to none in this series following a 3-1 victory in game one, and a 1-0 overtime victory in game two. Games three though six will all be played this week, and if necessary, a game seven will be played on Monday of the following week.
#4 Boston Bruins vs #5 Toronto Maple Leafs
This is definitely one of the most interesting matchups as the Maple Leafs hadn’t reached the playoffs since 2004 and they will be going up against a team that they basically helped build in the Boston Bruins. The Maple Leafs signed forward Phil Kessel away from the Bruins several seasons ago as a restricted free agent and had to give up a first round pick to sign him. One of the first round picks the Bruins received wound up being the number two overall pick which they used to select forward Tyler Seguin. Seguin has had a major impact on the Bruins and many of the Maple Leafs faithful have loathed the signing of Kessel. With emotions riding high in the series, the Bruins were able to take game one by a score of 4-1 while the Leafs earned a 4-2 victory in game two of the series. This series will mirror the Rangers and Capitals series as games three though six will all be played this week with a potential game seven being played the following Monday.
Western Conference Matchups
#1 Chicago Blackhawks vs #8 Minnesota Wild
Even the best teams during the regular season have hiccups along the way as the Chicago Blackhawks have shown during this postseason. The Blackhawks came away with home victories in games one and two to take an early 2-0 series lead, however an overtime goal in game three by Minnesota’s Jason Zucker gave the Wild a 3-2 victory and hope in their series. Minnesota still has a bit of an uphill battle as they are down in the series, however as shown last year, an eight seed can pull off the unexpected. This series will be wrapped up this week as games four through seven will all be played this week. Will the Blackhawks be able to add more hardware this season to go along with their Presidents trophy? Only time will tell!
#2 Anaheim Ducks vs #7 Detroit Red Wings
The Anaheim Ducks were one of the most surprising teams this season as they absolutely dominated the Pacific Division earning the division crown and number two seed in the West. The Red Wings meanwhile have been one of the hottest teams as they went 4-0 in the final week of play to earn a playoff berth for a 22nd straight season. The Ducks were immediately able to cool off the Wings though with a 3-1 victory in game one. In game two however the Wings fought back and earned a 5-4 overtime victory. The Red Wings nearly blew game two as they allowed the Ducks to come back from a 4-1 deficit, however a powerplay goal in overtime saved the Wings. In game three the Wings were completely helpless as the Ducks routed the Wings by a score of 4-0. The turning point in game three came when the Ducks went on a five minute powerplay after Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader hit Toni Lydman hard sending the Ducks defenseman down and possibly out for some games. Abdelkader has been suspended for the next two games by the league, but the Ducks will have to continue on in their series without one of their better shutdown defenders. This series will be wrapped up this week as games four through seven will all be played this week.
#3 Vancouver Canucks vs #6 San Jose Sharks
Last year the Vancouver Canucks were the Presidents Trophy winner but were bounced in the first round by the Los Angeles Kings. This season it appears to be more of the same for the Canucks as their playoff struggles are continuing as the Canucks find themselves down three games to none in their best of seven series against the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks took game one by a score of 3-1 and earned an overtime victory in game two by a score of 3-2 before obliterating the Canucks in game three by a score of 5-2. The Sharks are now only only win away from advancing to the second round of the playoffs but still need to wrap up the final fourth game. Games four through six will all be played this week with a potential game seven being played the following Monday.
#4 St. Louis Blues vs # 5 Los Angeles Kings
In a repeat of last years second round, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings face off against the St. Louis Blues. It took til the last day of the season for the Blues to lock up home ice, but it appears that it paid off as the Blues were able to earn victories in game one and two of the series. In game one, the Blue completely dominated the Kings, however it took til overtime and a gaffe by Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick to earn the Blues the victory. In game two the Kings had the lead through two periods, but a third period collapse gave the Blues a game two victory. In the third game of the series however it was vintage Jonathan Quick as he guided the Kings to a 1-0 lead and has the Kings right back in the series down two games to one. Games four through six will all be played this week with a potential game seven being played on Monday the following week.
By: Benjamin Robinson
May 5, 2012
9:49 p.m. PDT