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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    Rangers get good news on McDonagh, bad news on Nash

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    Some good news/bad news for the Rangers.

    Exactly one week after suffering a concussion against the Philadelphia Flyers, defenseman Ryan McDonagh returned to the ice with his teammates this morning.

    The Rangers captain was wearing a non-contract jersey, but “looked good” according to coach Alain Vigneault.

    McDonagh was hurt after taking a punch to the head from Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds (above).

    The 26-year-old has missed each of his team’s last three games since suffering the injury.

    McDonagh hasn’t been cleared for contact, but that could happen in the next few days according to Vigneault.

    The news wasn’t as good for forward Rick Nash, who’s been dealing with a bone bruise in his leg.

    Nash has missed each of New York last eight game’s and Vigneault admitted that he’s no longer considered day-to-day.

    He’ll miss at least another week.

    Video: Blandisi scores great between-the-legs goal vs. Flyers

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    What a story Joseph Blandisi‘s been for the New Jersey Devils this season.

    The 21-year-old played in his first NHL game on Dec. 11 and has stayed with the Devils ever since.

    It took him five games to pick up his first career point, but he’s done a whole lot more damage since then.

    Blandisi came into Saturday’s action with 10 points in his last 12 games and he added to that against the Flyers.

    He opened the scoring with this beautiful between-the-legs goal on goalie Michal Neuvirth (top of the page).

    That’s Blandisi’s fourth goal of the season.

    Some Twitter reaction to the goal:

    Bruins’ Bergeron ruled out for Saturday’s game against Wild

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    The Boston Bruins will be without center Patrice Bergeron in Saturday afternoon’s matinee against the Minnesota Wild.

    It’s unclear how Bergeron suffered the undisclosed injury, but there’s reason to believe it occurred after he dropped the gloves with Jets forward Blake Wheeler (above).

    He’s considered day-to-day at this point.

    Losing him for an extended period of time would be devastating for Boston.

    “You don’t like seeing your star players (fight), but you also understand that it’s an emotional game and that stuff happens and at one point a player says, ‘Enough is enough and I’m going to stand up for myself,’” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said after the game, as per the Boston Herald.

    “From what I gathered there was a lot of slashes behind the legs behind the play and stuff like that. He took things upon himself. As much as you don’t like it, you can’t tell him he’s not allowed. He’s a big boy and he can certainly make some decisions on the ice. And it’s not the first time that he’s fought. But I like the fact that he doesn’t fight much.”

    After this incident, there’s no doubt that the Bruins will tell Bergeron to keep his gloves on from now on.

    Jets will take one more crack at re-signing Andrew Ladd

    Winnipeg Jets' Andrew Ladd (16) and Blake Wheeler (26) celebrate Ladd's goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL action in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. (John Woods/The Canadian Press via AP)
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    Jets captain Andrew Ladd still doesn’t have a contract for next season and with the Feb. 29 trade deadline approaching, something’s gonna have to give.

    According to TSN’s Gary Lawless, the Winnipeg Jets will make one last push to sign the forward before making him available on the trade market.

    Ladd doesn’t want to leave and the team wants to keep him, but after Dustin Byfgulien got an extension earlier this month, there may not be enough money to go around.

    At one point, the Jets reportedly made Ladd a six-year offer worth $6 million per year, which he obviously didn’t accept.

    Can they top that? Time will tell.

    Waiting to trade Ladd is probably the smartest decision.

    Keeping the captain around would be great, but if the two sides can’t agree to a new contract, there’ll be no shortage of suitors for Ladd’s services.

    Lawless mentions the Penguins, Panthers and Blackhawks as potential landing spots for the 30-year-old.

    The Kings have also been mentioned as a potential destination for Ladd.

    Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff will have to make some crucial decisions over the next few weeks.