Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Two Thrillers End NHL First Round

What an exciting night of hockey! The final two series came to an end with dramatic finishes in less than an hours time.

The most anticipated final of the two was the Rangers and Capitals show down in DC after six games had features a major comeback by the Caps and enough bad blood to keep both teams on edge throughout.

The stage was set from the beginning when fans behind the Rangers bench showed up wearing panchoes in case John Tortorella decided to spray water again. For two periods it appeared that the Rangers were the better team and that the Caps were trying to hang with them. The Caps were out shot 8-2 in the first period and neither team scored in the second.

The third period was a different story. The Caps applied pressure and the defense stiffened as the Caps only allowed one Ranger shot while firing 13 themselves. Finally, with five minutes left in the game Sergei Fedorov threaded the needle and got a shot past Henrik Lunqvist for the game winning goal. After a frenetic five minutes by the Rangers the Caps were able to breath and head for the center ice handshakes.

The game between the Devils and Canes produced one of the more incredible regulation finishes in recent NHL history. With time winding down and the Devils seemingly in control, Jussi Jokinen scored with 1:20 left on the clock to tie the game. As we sat on the couch preparing for overtime, we were shocked to see Eric Staal score 48 seconds later to produce one of the more dramatic finishes that you could imagine. The crowd at the Rock were absolutely stunned to go from preparations for celebration to being totally devastated in less than a couple of minutes.

So, the first round is in the books and the second round starts Thursday night in Vancouver where we have potential for a bitter series between the Nooks and Hawks. NBC got their dream match up between the Caps and Pens a round earlier than desired but will still be frothing at the mouth over all the hype. Detroit and Anaheim starts Friday night and should be a lot of fun. The series between Boston and Carolina is the oddball of the bunch in that one team, on paper, appears to clearly be better than the other. At this time of year, that doesn't always matter.

I was 7-1 in my first round picks missing on SJ and Jackson was 6-2 missing on SJ and NY. Jackson looked like a genius on the Rangers up through game four, but fell victim to the Caps great comeback. We will have our second round picks and predictions on Thursday.

In Predators news...

In Tuesday's action at the World Championships, Shea Weber had a monster day with a goal and three helpers in leading Canada to a 7-3 victory over Slovakia. Today has a couple of huge match ups where Team USA plays Sweden an Pekka Rinne's Fins play the Czech Republic where ex-Pred Marek Zidlichy, of all people, is the team Captain. He never even wore the"A" in Nashville.

The Milwaukee Admirals start their second round AHL playoff series against Houston on Thursday night. The Pred's site has an article about Ryan Jones being ready to win the Calder Cup. I has speculated in a Tweet after the Vancouver Giants were eliminated that Jonathan Blum may join the Ads for practice or play through the playoffs. John Glennon takes a look at that idea too. John has another story on the Ads and some of their key players heading in to round two.

Mark at the View from 111 goes over his picks for the first round where he was 5-3 but is one of the only people I've seen that got the Ducks win over San Jose right. A contrarian viewpoint payed off big in that case. Paul McCann goes over Tuesday night's action and reveals that he was 4-4 in his first round picks. Paul is going with Boston, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Chicago in round two.

I'm a day late on this, but What the Puck has part 3 of Rachel's Preds season wrap-up.

Around the NHL in other news...

Over at the Red Light District, Ryan is putting a cap on the first round and will have his round two picks tomorrow. Jackson may actually be giving his picks to the RLD before me. How does that work? What a turn coat!

Denis Potvin's look back at the first round and forward to the second round is worth a listen at XM204.

Puck Daddy looks at round two and Bettman's dream come true.

Puck the Media breaks down the round two TV schedule several ways. There are three nights where two games are going head to head on May 1, 6, and 8. I can understand the conflicts in the first round but really think they should stagger better in round two.

Condolences to Chris at The Program where he cries in his beer in this post. It is a very thorough analysis of what went wrong for the Devils.

@dani3boyz's NHL Tweetups are mentioned in a USA Today article about coaches using Twitter.

Final three for the Hart trophy announced this AM, Ovechkin, Malkin and Datsuyk. How could boy wonder Crosby not make the final three? I bet Bettman and NBC will stage a protest march.

More later as usual...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass


Brandon Felder got 7 of 8 in the first round and only missed on Detroit. He was right on Anaheim too. Also, Hockey Buzz Radio Tonight at 6:00 Central.

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