2012 NHL Playoffs

2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs: PHT’s Round 1 picks — in five words

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Because we’re on the Internet, and reading stuff on the Internet requires the attention span of a gerbil, PHT’s intrepid staff of keyboard chimps and copy drones have made their Round 1 playoff picks — with five words of analysis per pick.

Nothing less, nothing more.

We. Only. Used. Five. Words.

Western Conference

No. 1 Vancouver vs. No. 8 Los Angeles

Ryan Dadoun (Canucks in 5): Kings lack scoring depth necessary.

James O’Brien (Canucks in 6): Hot Canucks alleviate royal pain.

Joe Yerdon (Canucks in 6): Quick is not fast enough.

Jason Brough (Canucks in 7): More goals in soccer games.

Mike Halford (Canucks in 7): Sedins are good at hockey.

No. 2 St. Louis vs. No. 7 San Jose

Dadoun (Blues in 6): Arnott, Langenbrunner compliment young core.

O’Brien (Blues in 5): Young Blues feast on guppies.

Yerdon (Blues in 7): Sharks scare, Blues too good.

Brough (Sharks in 6): The Blues peaked too soon.

Halford (Sharks in 6): Blues were brutal down stretch.

No. 3 Phoenix vs. No. 6 Chicago

Dadoun (Coyotes in 6): Hot Smith bests inconsistent Crawford.

O’Brien (‘Hawks in 6): Star power bests bland execution.

Yerdon (‘Hawks in 6): Upset? Yeah, I suppose so.

Brough (‘Hawks in 6): Keith rested. Elbow feels great.

Halford (Coyotes in 6): You seen Crawford this season?

No. 4 Nashville vs. No. 5 Detroit

Dadoun (Preds in 7): Reloaded Predators need to win.

O’Brien (Wings in 7): Old just barely beats Rad.

Yerdon (Preds in 7): Winner drops dead next round.

Brough (Preds in 7): Preds desperate. Franchise on line.

Halford (Wings in 6): Offer Suter contract immediately after.

Eastern Conference

No. 1 New York vs. No. 8 Ottawa

Dadoun (Rangers in 6): Learning experience for younger Senators.

O’Brien (Rangers in 4): Senators fetch the shine box.

Yerdon (Rangers in 6): Rangers never win anything easy.

Brough (Rangers in 5): Sens overachieved. Will face reality.

Halford (Rangers in 7): With three classic Tortorella tirades.

No. 2 Boston vs. No. 7 Washington

Dadoun (Caps in 7): Ovechkin’s finally playing like Ovechkin.

O’Brien (Bruins in 5): Bears italicize the bumbling Caps.

Yerdon (Bruins in 5): Caps inconsistency fails them again.

Brough (Bruins in 5): Caps getting peeled off boards.

Halford (Bruins in 5): Nobody’s winning with Braden Holtby.

No. 3 Florida vs. No. 6 New Jersey

Dadoun (Devils in 5): Might be Brodeur’s last run.

O’Brien (Devils in 5): Dangerous Devils crush cuddly Cats.

Yerdon (Devils in 5): Token win for bad team.

Brough (Devils in 5): Panthers aren’t very good. Sorry.

Halford (Devils in 6): Florida’s the worst playoff team.

No. 4 Pittsburgh vs. No. 5 Philadelphia

Dadoun (Pens in 7): Winner becomes Stanley Cup favorite.

O’Brien (Pens in 7): Pens wash hands of “bloodbath.”

Yerdon (Pens in 7): Crosby, Malkin, Neal too much.

Brough (Pens in 5): Maybe if Philly had Pronger.

Halford (Pens in 6): Vitale with the series-winner.

Latest way the Wild lost? Killed by penalty kill

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk sits on the ice after giving up a goal to St. Louis Blues' Jori Lehtera, of Finland, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.

As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?

Actually …

If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.

Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.

Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.

The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.

On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.

Statement in Blackhawks’ blowout of Stars? Coach Q says they’re even

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Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.

The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.

You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.

At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.

Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.

(Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)

As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.

Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.

Brad Marchand wins it … on a penalty shot … in overtime

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Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.

Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.

Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:

That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.

Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.

Crosby kills the Cats: Penguins end Panthers’ winning streak

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) collides with Florida Panthers' Connor Brickley (86) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.

Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.

Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:

Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.

Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.

The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it  shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.