The Western Conference series were all pretty one-sided, but the east will provide us with three Game 7s over the next two days. Which begs the question: which one are you looking forward to the most? Here’s a quick preview of each game:
The New York Rangers vs the Ottawa Senators – This looked like the most lopsided series going into the playoffs. It was an accomplishment for the Senators to even make it to the first round and after Daniel Alfredsson suffered a concussion in Game 2, things looked even grimmer for Ottawa. Still, the Senators have matched the Rangers blow-for-blow in this series and it’s entirely possible that neither of the first seeds will survive the opening round.
The Boston Bruins vs the Washington Capitals – Goaltender Braden Holtby has really made himself the story of this series. He had almost no NHL experience going into the playoffs and was only starting because of injuries to Tomas Vokoun and Michal Neuvirth. However, Holtby has risen to the occasion and has looked just as good or better than Tim Thomas. The question now is if he can steal one more game for the Capitals or if the defending champion Bruins will extend their season.
The Florida Panthers vs the New Jersey Devils – No matter what happens in Game 7, we’re going to see a team advance to the second round for the first time in years. Of course, for Florida the wait has been much longer. Until this season, the Panthers hadn’t even made the playoffs since 2000. Depending on the outcome of this game, we might be getting out last glimpse of Zach Parise in a Devils’ uniform and Martin Brodeur.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.