NHL Weekend Review & "Big" Slate

Well here we are 3 games into the playoffs for the Edmonton Oilers and if you missed it they are down 3-0 to the Winnipeg Jets!!! I don’t care what anybody says this is the biggest surprise of the NHL playoffs so far. Sure we never thought EDM was a “great” team but we thought they could at least get out of the first round. They still can but it’s sure unlikely. We also had a couple exits last night. I was a little surprised by both, not because they lost but because of how quickly. I guess I had COL in 5 so it wasn’t all that quick. I thought WSH/BOS would go 7 so that one is a surprise. Yes, it appears BOS was the better team but not by as wide a margin as the series says. It took several OTs, lots of penalties, and some bad luck to end the Capitals season. They did bring on a lot of it themselves. I’m disappointed as I like the Caps better than Boston but I did have it as BOS in 7. 3 quicks exits the last 3 years. The Caps are in a bad place and I could see Peter Laviolette being fired. That’s not a sure thing but I wouldn’t be surprised. I’ve never thought of him very highly as it seems like he just gets fired everywhere he goes now. That brings us to the other 2 teams facing elimination. I think the Wild are heading home tonight and it’s too bad because that is a really good team and one to look forward to the future. They “kept up” the first 2 and have seen fallen back a bit. As for the Florida Panthers I am not giving up on them. Saturday’s game was the first one I thought they were actually outplayed. TB is rolling so it’s going to be a tough test. It appears FLA has a bit of a goalie conundrum. I don’t think it’ll be Bob tonight but do we see Spencer Knight? I think it’s possible. Ok so let’s dig deeper into these games!

Update – It appears Spencer Knight makes his playoff debut. I think this a a good thing and doesn’t change my opinion on the game.

PIT/NYI This one is all tied up at 2. I’m not sure I have much to say about this series so far. Looking at boxscores I give NYI the “edge” because last game was a 4-1 W for the Isles and the others have been 1 goal games. As I mentioned NYI are much better at the Coliseum so I’ll expect this to go a little better for PIT. It looks to have been a struggle for the Pens top 6 (minus Jeff Carter who is L3 C now with Malkin back) so far, so they’ll have to have a big game today. L1 from PIT would be one of my top targets tonight. Letang has been doing his thing too so he’s almost a plug and play. So now I’m moving onto the Isles. It appears as most of their scoring has come from depth forwards. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, it just doesn’t seem to last especially in playoffs. Barzal and Eberle have to get going. Defensively they have been good but that’s to be expected. With the Pens back home they get clicking to a 4-2 W.

TOR/MTL With only 2 games being played so far it’s hard to judge this one. It appears TOR got off to a slow start and picked their legs back up game 2. MTL gave that glimmer of hope after game 1 but it’s starting to look like I thought it would. Price can only get you so far. Canadiens could possibly need a lineup shakeup and add Caufield to the active roster. Sorry for not going on much about this one but I see it as an “easy” W for TOR. Nothing is easy for them though but they got it 5-3.

FLA/TB Like I said this has still been my favorite series and I hope it can continue after tonight. FLA is doing so much right. I still think this series should be tied or even be 3-1 FLA. The biggest thing today for this game will be who starts in net. I’ll try to say it doesn’t matter but I think it does. We could get a Knight sighting but I think they go back to the well of Driedger. After the slash last game and 0 points so far, Anythony Duclair needs to get out of his funk. I could see tonight being the night. So let’s roll his line with barkov and Verhague and see what he can do. Let’s not forget about Huberdeau with 8 points in the series already as well. I know to begin the playoffs I said something to the nature of Andrei Vasilevskiy being overrated. I won’t back down on that claim, but I will say he’s kept TB in games this series. we have to see on the status of Kucherov but I’m assumoing he’s ready to go. I think this one stays chippy and close but I have FLA 4-2.

EDM/WPG So we finally got down to this series. WTF is going on here? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, WPG was somehow “preparing” for this. It’s almost like they wanted us (and EDM) to see their struggle at the end of the season. Lull them to sleep and then dispose of them in the playoffs… Ok so that’s not how it went but it sure feels that way. Who knew Pionk could be the almighty “McJesus stopper”. Well McDavid and Draisaitl were finally “unleashed” last night. Both had 3 points but it still wasn’t enough!!! EDM just f****** blew that one. Without any secondary scoring Oilers are in deep trouble. So let’s give credit where it’s due. The Winnipeg Jets have been outstanding this playoffs. Sure it might not be “pretty” hockey but their man goal is keeping McDavid and Draisaitl to a bare minimum of points. So far they’ve done that and Connor Hellebuck has held them in check. Nicolas Ehlers coming back last night was a key part too, as he had 2 goals including the OT winner. As much as I see the writing on the wall, I think EDM takes this one to not get eliminated. EDM 4-1

VGK/MIN I’m not going to go out on any limbs here but VGK is just too good for MIN. For as well as they’ve played they just can’t seem to get it done. Now that VGK is scoring some goals it’s tough to keep them down. It doesn’t look like Max Pacioretty will play but he hasn’t needed too, so the additional rest might be nice. Whoops I’m giving away my VGK pick. I’m not sure where the goals will come from tonight but I have them as the victors. Minnesota has played tough and should be a perennial playoff team with a chance to go deep with maybe just a little more forward depth. They are heading the right direction. So all this being said, VGK 3-2.

Final Thoughts
1. DK SD contests need to be larger!!! It’s 8:00 in the morning and we’re on second gen contests.
2. The North Division playoffs have been “better” than expected because there haven’t been the one sided games we (or at least I) expected yet.
3. Players need to get better at “smart physical” it appears. Though these guys have been repeat offenders.
4. Having no crowds in the North Division is “weird” now.
5. OTs have been prevalent and fun

Anything else that I missed on or you want to talk about? Anyway good luck tonight on this “big” playoff slate!!!

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