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February 12, 2011

Elimination Time In Stanley Cup Playoffs

So far we have seen Ottawa, New Jersey and Minnesota ousted from the NHL playoff run. The games that will be played between now and Tuesday can lead to the elimination of the Calgary Flames, Nashville Predators and Washington Capitals. I feel that all series have been good, with the exception of the Ottawa-Pittsburgh series where the Senators forgot to show up. Now four more teams are on the verge of elimination but each of those teams has a chance to pull out all of the stops and turn the tables.

This playoff year has been exceptionally exciting. I have been impressed with the match ups and the way that the teams have fought to match wits with one another. The Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals series has been one where each team has looked brilliant and mediocre at times. As with the other series, the final decision of who moves on will be decided simply by who wants it the most.

I just watched the Nashville Detroit game so that is one underdog that didn’t make it. Once again, the Predators were not able to get enough shots on Osgood and a fluke goal opened the scoring for the Wings. That shot from something like 70 feet out was the only goal that Wings needed to win. Osgood got the shut out.

The Washington Capitals are one of the Cinderella’s of the playoffs and like Cinderella they can have their cake and eat it to. Cristobal Huet has to stand tall in net and the talented youth and seasoned veterans must come together the way that they did in the Saturday afternoon game. Of course, the Flyers, another team that was almost written off for the season has that never-say-die spirit as well. This series truly deserves a game seven.

The Calgary Flames must come out and play like the elite team that they can be. Scoring is the issue with the Flames. It seems that Dion Phaneuf or Jarome Iginla have to score or have points in any game that they are going to when. While this is a testament to the ability and drive of these two players, the rest of the team has to step up. The Flames improved their shots on goal in the last game but in game six they will need to get more accurate shots on Nabakov. This series has been very exciting and it also would be rather fitting to see a game seven.

The Ducks are the defending Stanley Cup champions but they are on the verge of elimination. Dallas has earned the 3-2 lead in the series, but once again,the series could go anyway. In the games that the Ducks lost they were totally dominated but in the games that they won they were truly dominant. If they force a game seven the Ducks may have enough steam to win that game as well.

No matter who pulls out of these do or die games, the second round of the playoffs is shaping up to be as exciting as he first. If a team or two that is facing elimination finds a way to force game seven and win that, they will move into the second round with serious momentum. I would love to see the Flames, Caps, Predators and Ducks move into the second round although I doubt all of them will make it.

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