In the last two days we’ve seen three potential elimination games. Only one of those games resulted in an elimination with the Phoenix Coyotes, for once, building on a third period lead instead of squandering it. They take that series against the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-2, also known as exactly what I predicted.
Of course, while I am off tooting my own horn in the corner (in before the inevitable “that’s what she said” joke), some loudmouth is probably pointing out the fact that I also picked the Devils to win their series in four against Florida. And that’s fine. I admit I was off on my prediction of how bad Florida would be. Or maybe I was wrong to not factor in Martin Brodeur’s age. He really has looked bad at times during this series.
Ottawa also failed to close their series against the Rangers. Some penalty trouble and defensive lapses cost them a precarious 1-0 lead. Despite a controversial late goal from Chris Neil, the Sens dropped a 3-2 decision and now have to travel to MSG for game seven in New Yack.
My gut feeling is that Ottawa is doomed. The Rangers are a powerhouse poised for a deep run and the Sens let their foot off the gas when they had a chance to complete the upset. The Rangers will probably bring their best game of the series and they’ll be tough to beat.
I also believe Florida still has a chance, but will likely come up short. This series has been a lot of up and down on both sides. New Jersey has generally played better hockey but their goaltending has been shaky and they are prone to concentration lapses that let a Panthers team back into games that should have been over. I think the difference here will be Ilya Kovalchuk.
The man is a beast and he’s never won a playoff series before. In his Thrasher days it was apparent that he just wanted to score goals and back check, occasionally,on his way to the bench. In New Jersey, though it took a while, he has been transformed. He is everywhere on the ice, plays in all situations and he really wants to win. His brilliant pass led to the OT winner by Travis Zajac tonight and it ensured the Devils will travel to Sunrise, FL to put an end to this series.
- New York Rangers Hang On, Phoenix Coyotes Knock Chicago Blackhawks From Playoffs (nesn.com)
- Chris Neil Tries to Pump Up Crowd While Fighting Brandon Prust (Video) (nesn.com)
- Stanley Cup Playoff parity: Good or bad for NHL on U.S. television? (sports.yahoo.com)
- Phoenix Coyotes Seal The Deal: Mike Smith Carries Team To 4-2 Series Victory Over Blackhawks (arizona.sbnation.com)