The NHL Playoffs Are Fantastic

Reason one, two and three why these playoffs have been great.

Tuukka Rask has been the man for Boston. It will be a tough task to get anything by #40. ©Lisa Gansky

Tuukka Rask has been the man for Boston. It will be a tough task to get anything by #40.

©Lisa Gansky

I can't get enough. The story-lines, games and play have been absolutely phenomenal (unless you're a Tampa Bay Lighting fan). Every series has a different feel and every game produces a different star .

Below is a quick roundup of the action so far:

Avalanche v. Wild

It would be pointless for me to start by saying this series is tight, they all have been. The interesting part of this series is the Wild's goal keeping situation. They traded for the veteran Ilya Bryzgalov near the trade deal-line and after getting shelled midway through game two, head coach Mike Yeo moved to the rookie Darcy Kuemper.

Kuemper started games three and four at home and won both giving up only one goal. The Wild have clawed back to make it to game seven and Zach Parise has a lot to do with their success. Parise has 10 points (3G, 7A) and has been the best two-way forward when he is on the ice. 

The Avs' Paul Stastny and Nathan MacKinnon have been lethal with 19 points combined. Game seven is tonight in Colorado. Winner takes on the Blackahawks.

Blues v. Blackhawks

'The Captain' knows how to win a Stanley Cup (he has two already). After dismissing the Blues, he will need to lead the Hawks against the Avs or Wild in round two. ©CC BY-SA 3.0

'The Captain' knows how to win a Stanley Cup (he has two already). After dismissing the Blues, he will need to lead the Hawks against the Avs or Wild in round two.

©CC BY-SA 3.0

This series lived up to the hype. It was beyond physical and these two teams came to play every night. They play such contrasting styles on the ice, but the Hawks kept their chances of a Stanley Cup repeat alive.

Corey Crawford locked it down between the pipes giving Chicago a chance in every game. He averaged a stingy 1.98 goals against average and a .935 saver percentage. That was enough for the Hawks to rattle off four wins in a row to end the Blues' season.

Ducks v. Stars

The Stars were fighting an uphill battle against the hot Ducks. Jamie Benn did everything he could for the Stars to make it a series with 4 goals in six games.

A concern for Anaheim has to be the 24 year old goaltender Frederik Anderson. He averaged 3.40 goals against and had a saver percentage of .892. The Ducks will face the winner of the Sharks/Kings game and both of those offenses are clicking. 

Sharks v. Kings

Buckle up for game seven tonight. The Kings have been resilient after going down 3-0 in the series to the Sharks. Anze Kopitar has 8 points (3G, 5A) in the six games and is a big part of why they are playing a game seven.

Jonathan Quick and Antti Niemi have not been as electric as normal. Both are averaging more than three goals against per game. Patrick Marleau leads the Sharks with 7 points (3G, 4A) and will need to be the catalyst for San Jose to take the series at home.

Whichever goalie can find his game first will win this series. 

Bruins v. Redwings

The Bruins came into the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in the NHL and Detroit couldn't hold on. Tuukka Rask didn't let much by him in the five game he played. He let in six goals the whole series and had a save percentage of .961. 

The Redwing's offense really never got going and that is the main reason they are headed home. The Bruins take on the Canadiens who have not played since April 23rd.

Let the argument of 'well rested v. rusty' begin.  

Penguins v. Blue Jackets

This to me has been one of the most exciting and inspiring series in the playoffs. Yes, the Penguins finally put away the Jackets, but Columbus was able to get their first playoff win in franchise history. The sight of having all the players pileup on the ice after getting their first win was awesome.

The only thing better than that was game six. The Blue Jackets trailed 4-0 going into the third period and manager to score three goals in just about four minutes. Nationwide Area was on their feet and going wild even after their team was eliminated, they stood and cheered.

It was a really powerful thing to watch. The Pens take on the winner of Rangers v. Flyers.

Oh, and five of the six games were decided by one goal. Good hockey.

Rangers v. Flyers

I have not been able to watch a lot of this series, but I will be tuning in tonight for game seven. The winner tonight will go to Pittsburgh to take on the Pens.

I would love to see a high scoring affair tonight at Madison Square Garden. Can't beat that venue when it comes playoff time.

Enjoy hockey!