With Detroit beating the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime, and the Los Angeles Kings coming back against Colorado, we now have our Western Conference matchups all set.
#1 San Jose Sharks vs. #8 Colorado Avalanche This is a great matchup for the Avalanche, who have Craig Anderson to fall back on against a Sharks team that has struggled in the latter part of the season. Of course, the Sharks finished the season on a good run at the end, so perhaps their penchant for choking will end this year? It’s the veterans with something to prove against the young, inexperienced and hungry team. Should be fun.
#2 Chicago Blackhawks vs. #7 Nashville Predators This is the most intriguing matchup for me. It’s two teams with completely different approaches to the game, with the Blackhawks coming in as a team with everything on the line. The Predators are a patient, defensive-minded team taking on a speedy, skilled and talented team with nothing but questions in net. Can Pekka Rinne be the spoiler for a great season by Chicago?
#3 Vancouver Canucks vs. #6 Los Angeles Kings The Kings used and abused Jonathan Quick all season long, and it could turn around and hurt them in the playoffs. Quick played in 72 games this season, but hasn’t won since March 22, a run of eight games without a win. The Canucks have the Sedins; enough said.
#4 Phoenix Coyotes vs. #5 Detroit Red Wings Here is the most interesting matchup of them all. The veteran, experienced and wily Red Wings taking on Dave Tippett and the ultra surprising Phoenix Coyotes. This is the perfect scenario for the Coyotes and their fans, who get to host a playoff series against the most successful NHL team of the past decade.
It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.
To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:
The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)
That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:
They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.
Cheap shot on a superstar, a little uncalled goalie interference and presto – Blue Jackets win!
The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.
That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:
Coach Bylsma: Feel like after Jack's goal, the game changed for us. #gamechanger