First we’ll start off with a clear run away in a 3-0 series lead by the Washington Capitals over the Philadelphia Flyers. Basically there is no hope here for philly fans. Holtby has been a rock in net through the first three games and will continue to do so until some team shows him otherwise. He has been a big key to Washington’s wins and keeping opposing goals to a minimum. On the other side of things, Mason hasn’t been playing as good. Just last night he allowed 6 goals to the capitals. One of which came off a very visible shot that just straight up beat him from Ovechkin who came streaking off the bench. Granted Ovechkin is one of the best in the league and arguably the best offensive player on the Capitals, if a shot is seen by an NHL goalie, there should be a better chance that there will be a save than what Mason tried to do.
Some physical play from the Flyers came early and late in the game forcing Orpik off the ice. He was on the receiving end of a solid check into the boards from Ryan White that sent him right down to his knees as he was clearly in a lot of pain. Later in the game, the Flyers Bellemare came into the offensive zone on a dump in and came crashing down on Orlov pinning him head first into the boards. This hit sent the two teams into a brawl on the ice for a hit that was unacceptable under the leagues rules and should lead to some kind of suspension.
In the end, Philly couldn’t really keep out of the penalty box late in the game. If you give a team like the Capitals opportunities on the man advantage, you can’t expect them not to score. They will keep putting the puck in the net. I believe that there is a possibility of a series sweep but Washington will not let it go past 5 games.
In another series that I thought was going to be one of the best when it comes to first round match ups came to be the other night. The LA Kings dropped both of the first two games at home to San Jose. With a team like the Sharks coming out of the Western Conference and bringing the series to home ice already doesn’t sound good.
The game was tied 1-1 after regulation in San Jose. And then it all happened. In a short play that started in the neutral zone, Dustin Brown delivered a crucial hit to a Sharks player giving possession to LA. This allowed Tanner Pearson to gain entry into the zone and work his way all the way to the net and rip an OT winner past the San Jose goalie. This was one occasion where a clean hit was used effectively to give opportunity to the team to score.
Going forward in this series, LA will need to keep grinding in San Jose in the upcoming game. Losing the first two means that they will have to have to win at least two more games on the road and maybe only get the chance to play at home once more. I had high hopes for the LA team this year. I had them advancing to play Anaheim in the second round but it’s looking more and more doubtful to see them there as the games are played.
Chicago is now down 2-1 in the series against St. Louis after falling apart in game three overall. Blues goaltender Brian Elliot was on top of his game this past night. He shut down Chicago on several opportunities where they could have scored. One in particular was on a follow up shot and scramble in front of the net. Artemi Panarin had some room to put the puck in the net but Elliot was able to kick it aside and kill any further scoring chances. Not only was their defense playing good but their offense on the winning goal was pristine. Tape to tape passes connected three different Blues players and lead the puck past Crawford for the score. They can’t complain with this type of play going forward if Chicago gets into any kind of penalty trouble in future games, St. Louis will be sure to take advantage.
For a quite surprising Eastern conference matchup, the New York Islanders now have a 2-1 series lead over Florida with their last 4-3 in Brooklyn. There was an immense change in pace after NY coach Jack Capuano challenged a goal that would have put Florida up 3-0, but was reviewed and later called offsides and the score stayed 2-0. After Florida took two penalties, the Isles scored on the ensuing power play. They later added two goals late in the third period. As the game continued into overtime, Thomas Hickey was fed a pass and netted the overtime winning goal for his first career playoff goal.
Florida has been hot but apparently the Islanders just want it more or have more fire in them. Reilly Smith from Florida added three points to his previous 5 just this series. He has been proving himself to be up there with the best on the ice right now. For the Islanders, Tavares has been playing unreal in his recent games. He is truly showing what a leader should be like on the ice.
Stay tuned for more updates as the playoffs move on and the first round comes to an end for some teams.