So far, every playoff night holds its own trend

kingstrends.jpgIs it me, or are quite a few of these playoff nights fitting together into neat little themes? Seriously, it’s kind of spooky that each night of the playoffs almost follow some pre-ordained script. Take a look.

Wednesday, Day 1: Upsets

On the first day of the playoffs, it was all about underdogs. You can argue about the higher-seed Phoenix Coyotes’ status as favorites, but few picked the Senators or Canadiens to do much damage.

Thursday, Day 2: Goalies

The next day still kept some of the upset spirit alive, but it was more about the goalies than anything else. Only Roberto Luongo put up less than 30 saves (25), but every other netminder had a good-to-amazing night on Thursday. But – as the days went on – that trend would clearly go out the window.

Friday, Day 3: Evening the score – but not doing it easily

Aside from Nashville – Chicago (which doesn’t count because it was only on Game 1), every other game seemed to have the air of favorites forcing reality to set in despite the difficulty of the task. Regardless of whether or not empty net goals made the games seem more lopsided, none of the Red Wings, Devils, Penguins or Sharks had an easy time dispatching their foes … but all four teams evened their series at 1-1.

Saturday, Day 4: No lead is safe (and a two goal lead is the worst in hockey?)

Yesterday might take the cake (the crazy cake that is). First, the Boston Bruins defied the odds against Buffalo, coming back from a 2-0 deficit to win 5-3. Next, the Washington Capitals won a purely insane game with the Montreal Canadiens, coming back multiple times (first 2-0, then 4-1, then 5-4) to take an outrageous win in OT. Finally, the Los Angeles Kings also came back from a 2-0 disadvantage to beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 in OT.

It’s funny, NHL ’08 would always call a two-goal lead “the worst lead in hockey”; it was something my friends and I would joke about constantly (and obnoxiously). Saturday proved that there might be some logic to that concept.

So, my question to the hockey universe is simple: what’s Sunday’s theme? Will today be a “day of rest” for all these night-wide trends? Hopefully this trend of awesome games will continue though, because if that trend holds true, we might see the most exciting tournament in any of our memories.

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    Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

    Niklas Kronwall
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    When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

    (His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

    It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

    He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

    First, the Kronwalling:

    Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

    It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

    Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

    Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

    Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

    Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

    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.

    Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


    More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

    In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

    Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

    Jack Eichel
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    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:

    Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

    Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


    Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

    While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

    In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

    The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?