NHL Round Two Extremely Entertaining
May 10, 2009 by Big Tony
Round two of the playoffs has been the best round of the post-season by far to this point and the excitement continues to build. Let’s take a brief look at each series up to this point.
3. Washington Capitals VS 4. Pittsburgh Penguins
This has been the keynote series since the second round draw came out and it has not disappointed. Four of the five games have been decided by one goal and two were decided in overtime. The big stars Ovechkin and Crosby have stepped up to the plate and have excelled in the spotlight as all of North America looks on. There has also been plenty of drama to boot with both sides making complaints about the officiating at one point or another and Ovechkin hitting Sergei Gonchar knee-on-knee which has created plenty of controversy across the airwaves. The series has been the perfect showcase for the NHL as hardcore and casual fans alike tune in and are NOT disappointed. As of the writing of this article the Penguins have taken a 3-2 series lead after dropping the first to in Washington. Pittsburgh finally got some secondary scoring in game five and it proved to be the difference between the two teams as the big stars continue to cancel each other out. Penguin fans would love for this series to finish in six, but for the rest of the world how could this series culminate any better than if it comes down to game seven on Wednesday at Verizon Center?
1. Boston Bruins VS 6. Carolina Hurricanes
For many this has been the shocker of the three Conference Semi-finals as the high-powered Bruins were seemingly going to steam roll the Hurricanes right into the Conference finals. However, since the end of game one it has been all Carolina. Cam Ward, Eric Staal and Jussi Jokinen have been unbelievable leading the Canes to an unlikely 3-1 series lead. The difference in the series comes down to Carolina’s best players performing at the highest level while the Bruins have not been able to rely on their studs as much as they have all year. Zdano Chara in particular has not been the same since game one where he shut down Eric Staal. For the Bruins to get back into the series they have to better utilize their size to create offense and continue to put pressure on Cam Ward. Boston cannot win by simply getting frustrated when Ward plays well and by trying to fall back into their defensive style when they’re only up by one or when the game is tied, playing not to lose rather than to win. There is a lot of speed on the Canes and the Bruins need to neutralize that speed with some pace of their own. But don’t think this is a fluke because the Canes have plenty of talent and have been to the promised land before winning the Cup in 2006.
2. Detroit Red Wings VS 8. Anaheim Ducks
Jonas Hiller had been playing extremely well until Thursday night when he was pulled for veteran netminder J.S. Giguere. Overall the Ducks have played incredibly well making use of their size and skill to stick with the same attributes as Detroit. Much has been written about this series on sportsroids in recent days which you can see by clicking HERE. The only difference at this point is that whoever plays in net for Anaheim has to be almost flawless while the rest of the Ducks do what they’ve been doing all along. Detroit will probably end up winning this series but the Ducks have show a ton of grit which has made for a very entertaining and suspenseful series.
3. Vancouver Canucks VS 4. Chicago Blackhawks
The Chicago Blackhawks have shown that they are not simply content with making it to the second round of the playoffs and that they feel they have a chance to go much further with their team’s make-up. With the stars that Chicago has there’s no reason to believe that they can’t get into the Conference Finals and maybe beyond that. The Canucks on the other hand have needed to rely way too much on Roberto Luongo to win games for them and they are playing on barrowed time if they keep that up. As this article is being written the Canucks have a 2-1 lead in the second period after finally getting a goal from Mats Sundin. Guys like Sundin, Kesler, the Sedin twins and Burrows have to play at the highest level possible every minute of every game in order for the Canucks to get beyond just round two. Luongo alone can only carry them but so far. Regardless of the outcome however the series has been quite entertaining (much like the other three) and perhaps they will treat us to a game seven which every fan loves.