Posts Tagged ‘Bruins’
The NHL postseason is here.
How will the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs shake out? Is this the year the Toronto Maple Leafs end their championship drought? Can the Pittsburgh Penguins repeat? Will the Chicago Blackhawks keep their decade-long dynasty going? Keep reading to find out.
The first thing Peter Chiarelli, the Boston Bruins’ general manager, told Dennis Seidenberg when the defenseman signed his four-year contract extension in October was not “watch your right ACL, bud.”
The first thing Chiarelli said to Seidenberg was “we’re not going to announce it until tomorrow, OK?” We know because it’s right here at the eight-minute mark:
The Bruins-Blackhawks Stanley Cup Final matchup has storylines galore. It’s an Original Six matchup, the first games between an Eastern and Western Conference team all year, and pits the season-long favorite from the West against the gritty underdogs from the East.
Here’s a look at how the two teams got here, how they stack up, and what to watch for.
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The NHL season has reached its most exciting point, down to the final two teams. This year’s Stanley Cup Finals can already be called a success on many levels. It involves two Original Six teams (last time this occurred: 1979), lots of superstars and two rabid fanbases, which should provide a big ratings boost for NBC.
Chicago and Boston have traveled similar paths on their way to the Finals. Both have had a blowout series win, a series that went seven games, and one series that required a dramatic comeback. The Blackhawks and Bruins are also two of the three most recent Cup winners and have struggled in the playoffs after winning the title before breaking through again this year.
The matchup most expected for the Eastern Conference finals came to fruition as the time zone’s deepest squads, Pittsburgh and Boston, clash with a berth in the Stanley Cup finals on the line.
Much like the East, the Western Conference finals between Chicago and Los Angeles should be awesome to watch.
Here’s how they stack up, and who we think will reach the Finals:
In the first round, we predicted six of the eight series correctly. The two we were most unsure about were the two incorrect picks – no surprise at all that New York or Los Angeles won.
Now that the second round is here, the picture becomes a little more clear. Only one of the four series will go the full seven games. Which will it be, and who will move on?
The playoffs have been interesting so far. Some teams have surprised me. Others haven’t at all.
The biggest surprise was the play of the New York Islanders. I thought Pittsburgh would wipe the floor with the Isles and that they should feel lucky if they pick up one game in the series. New York ended up staying with the Penguins in almost every game, and lost two heartbreakers at home in overtime. I never thought I’d say this, but the Islanders look as if they are finally turning things around. (Just in time for their move to Brooklyn!)
Another surprise was the performance of the Minnesota Wild. I’m not surprised that they lost to Chicago, but because they got bounced in only five games. Losing their top goaltender didn’t help, but Minnesota’s offense was stagnant the whole series. The Wild also looked terrible in Game 4 as they got shut out at home and handed the Blackhawks all the momentum in the series. Nevertheless, Minnesota looks stable and if they can add another scorer and fix their inconsistency in the net, they should be a force next season.
Speaking of net consistency, here’s Vancouver. The Canucks’ first-round sweep didn’t surprise me at all. They looked flat-out awful against the Sharks. Roberto Luongo started the first two games in net and didn’t look that bad, but then he was pulled for Cory Schneider, who wasn’t an improvement. Vancouver needs to fix its goaltending problem next season, or else they can kiss their fading Stanley Cup hopes goodbye.
Anyway, we’ve said goodbye to eight teams and are now off to the Conference Semifinals. Here are my predictions for the second round.
What were you doing on this day 37 years ago?
If you were the Toronto Maple Leafs’ statistician, you were scrounging through the NHL record books to find out who had the record for the most points in a single game. (The answer prior to Feb. 7, 1976: Maurice Richard, with 8.)
Darryl Sittler scored 10 in the Leafs’ 11-4 win over the Boston Bruins that night, a record that is virtually unassailable. Consider that when Sam Gagner scored eight points in a single game for the Oilers last season, it was the most by any player since the 1980s.
Sittler had six goals and four assists in the game. To put that in perspective, Scott Gomez had 11 points – two goals and nine assists – all of last season. Link Gaetz had six goals in his entire NHL career.
Enjoy the ultimate goalie’s nightmare:
You wouldn’t have been out of bounds if you had wondered, after the first half of the National Hockey League season, if Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula was going to ask for a refund.
After all, $189 million isn’t supposed to buy you last place in the NHL’s Eastern Conference. Isn’t supposed to buy you 20-24-5. Isn’t supposed to buy you a 12-game road losing streak. Isn’t supposed to buy you howls from the faithful at the First Niagara Center calling for the heads of coach Lindy Ruff or GM Darcy Regier or trades of Ryan Miller, Derek Roy or Drew Stafford …
Yet at the All-Star break that’s exactly where Pegula found his newly-minted hockey toy.
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