NHL Playoffs: Insert Cliché Here

Discussion in 'Free Thoughts' started by Tiassa, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

    meh would have been better had it not been set up by a shitty attempt to clear but great shot to seal the deal. at least I got the bulls to watch.
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  3. Tyler Registered Senior Member

    Both Burrows and Toewes with some of the greatest playoff goals I've seen in ages.

    Great game!
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  5. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Who wants to bet that the Pens will win tonight?
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  7. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Sharks and Canucks escape the first round! (Barely, after rolling up big leads in their series, then almost blowing it.)

    Now if Montreal can get by Boston tonight, everything's right with the world.

    Until next week... when it starts all over again.

    My first loyalty is to the local Sharks, but after them I usually root (that's right Australians, that's what I do) for Canadian teams. There need to be Canadian teams questing after the cup (I think most of them believe that it's the holy grail).
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    This and That

    The 'Nucks series was as grueling and stressful as a spectator could possibly ask.

    Quite obviously, I'm thrilled for the 'Nucks, but this isn't anything to go rubbing the 'Hawks noses in. The 'Nucks won despite themselves. Toews' late goal was breathtaking, but it never should have happened; he never should have had the chance. Shorthanded, and with what, a minute and a half left? Never should have had the chance.

    And Crawford .... Wow.

    • • •​

    But that's also how games, and even championships, are won and lost. Toews' goal would have been better had it not been set up by the Canucks' refusing to do their damn jobs. But capitalizing on mistakes is what you're supposed to do, and Toews certainly did.

    Likewise Burrows. It was in the replays, watching him glove that puck, and how it came down on the ice in front of him, and rolled perfectly where only he could get to it, and at a perfect speed to force him to stay ahead of the closing defender in order to get his shot off, and at a perfect angle that made it very hard for Crawford to see how the shot was coming.

    Everything about the turnover, puck placement, and shot was absolutely lucky. But at the championship level, that's exactly the kind of luck you make.

    Just like Toews scoring the shorthanded goal that he never should have had the opportunity to shoot. You make that kind of luck.

    And last night, it was the Canucks' turn to make that luck, and Alexandre Burrows did.
  9. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Well, both me and the bookies got it wrong. At least I don't have to watch hockey anymore...
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    The Brackets, and Other Notes

    The Brackets

    In the West:

    • #1 Vancouver vs #5 Nashville
    • #2 San Jose vs #3 Detroit​

    And the East:

    • #1 Washington vs #5 Tampa Bay
    • #2 Philadelphia vs #3 Boston​


    Vancouver and Detroit will advance from the West; Washington and Philly from the East.​


    The Eastern Conference is easier: I would like to see the Washington Capitals go all the way to the Cup finals. Other than that, I don't really care what happens in the East. Grueling, even damaging series between then and now, sure, but I don't care if Washington has to beat Philly or Boston in the semis.

    For the West, though, obviously I would like Vancouver, but it's really hard to pick a favorite in the SJ/Detroit game. I expect Detroit will win, but to the one, I have a minor sentimental connection to the Sharks; to the other, the Red Wings are the storied club here, so I generally cheer for the upstart. Still, though, California sent more teams to the playoffs this year than the whole of Canada, so it would be nice to see the Sharks, and thus all of Cali, knocked out before the semis.​

    Four hours and counting until face-off at Rogers Arena. Eggshells? Butterflies? Pins and needles? How about rusty nails and broken glass over hot coals?

    We need the Sedins to come back and play like they know they can. As do Kesler and Burrows. Yes, the Predators have an insanely good goalkeeper in Pekka Rinne, but he faltered in the first round (.876, 3.29), and the team in front of him scored the fourth fewest goals in the Western conference. If the 'Nucks offense can come on, the Predators will buckle. Dave Gross reminds:

    The Canucks will see plenty of Weber and Ryan Suter, who were on ice for nearly half of every game in the opening-round win over Anaheim. It’s a sharp drop off after that though.

    And if the Predators buckle, Pekka Rinne will break.

    To the other, Gross also reminds that, "Vancouver's blue-line is near the top", though that overlooks the fact that they utterly collapsed at critical points in the 'Hawks series. That one should never have gone to Game 7, and Toews should never have had the shot in the closing minutes of regulation time. If the Canucks' blue line hangs keeper Roberto Luongo like they did against Chicago, Vancouve will not so much buckle and break as dissolve entirely.

    In the regular season, the 'Nucks ran 54-19-9, for 117 points; the Predators 44-27-11, for 99 points. Between the teams, the regular season split two games apiece.

    After witnessing Corey Crawford's mindboggling performance in Game 7 of the 'Hawks series, we only need remember how good Rinne is supposed to be, and recognize that despite questions about their depth, or the difference between first and fifth seed, the Predators are incredibly dangerous, and could easily clean Vancouver if the the 'Nucks blink.

    If I try to predict a specific series outcome, say, Vancouver 4-2, I'm blowing smoke. But I am hopeful.

    T-minus three hours, forty-four minutes.

    Time for me to fly.



    Gross, Dave. "Breaking down the Western Conference matchups". Vancouver Sun. April 27, 2011. VancouverSun.com. April 28, 2011. http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/Breaking down Western Conference matchups/4685574/story.html
  11. Tyler Registered Senior Member

    This is almost dead on the same as my picks and wants. I would like to see San Jose beat Detroit, though, and I think they have a very legitimate chance. I don't dare call Detroit a lock for this.

    And I pick Philly over Boston. Boston could barely beat Montreal, Kaberle is old and slow, Lucic hasn't figured out how to play playoff hockey, Krejci needs to pick up his act... I just don't think Philly has the same weaknesses right now that Boston does. But I haven't watched much of Philadelphia, so I guess I'll see.

    Tampa could always win. I would love nothing more than to see Washington escape the East, and so maybe it's just my natural 'fan's pessimism' seeping in, but if Stamkos and St. Louis can play huge, and Lecavalier can cover Ovechkin, they have a chance. Tampa needs to block shots as well as New York though, and I don't know if they can do it.

    Yay playoffs!!!!

    Go 'Nucks!
    Go Caps!
  12. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    The Eastern Conference Conundrum

    With the East, I think Washington's #1 seed is important to remember in considering who might win out. But in picking favorites, the East has collapsed to the point where I'm with the Caps because they are the only team remaining that I don't have something against. Tampa and Boston I mostly disdain for where they're from insofar as it's Florida ("America's Wang", a longtime joke in my circles) and Boston (home of the Red Sox, Celtics, and the nation's second most obnoxious fan base, after New York). But Philly? I have nothing against Philly as a town. I just despise the Flyers. It's a decade-plus grudge, perhaps my oldest hatred in hockey.

    It's really weird to back a team simply because they're the only one in the bracket that doesn't have strikes against them from the outset.
  13. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Game Two—Nashville @ Vancouver

    I should probably make the note that I have been inappropriately been referring to the Conference Finals as semifinal rounds, which they are if the whole thing centers around the Stanley Cup Final, but the 'Nucks and Predators are gearing up for Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinal.

    My bad. Noted, corrected for future.

    At any rate, the Game Notes offered up by Daniel Fung are about as vanilla as we might expect for an official website.

    Some of my colleagues noted that Mason Raymond (VAN-LW) has moved up from the fourth line, and in their infinite, beer-soaked wisdom suggested that the move means he's not in danger of losing his job. Fung also makes the point:

    Mason Raymond may not be lighting it up on the scoresheet so far in the playoffs but his post-season play to date has demonstrated something the Canucks likely find even more important than just goals and points. Long considered to be a one-dimensional player who isn't contributing if he isn't scoring, the 25-year-old has shown he is more versatile than he's given credit for as he has shifted between being a third-line center and second-line winger, not to mention earning time on both the power play and penalty kill. For the immediate future, however, it appears Raymond will be asked to put his offensive hat back on. For the third straight game on Thursday, Raymond skated alongside Kesler and Burrows in what has been Vancouver's most formidable offensive unit lately. While he saw his two-game point streak come to an end in the outing, he still turned in one of his better performance at least according to Hockey Night in Canada who named him the game's second star.

    Raymond is running +2 in the playoffs this season, which is a better number than, say, Daniel Sedin's -2, or Henrik's -4. But, yes, we need all Vancouver scoring droughts to come to an immediate end.

    If it seemed like the Canucks were skating circles around the Predators in Game One, that's because for a good portion of that contest they were. While that can be partially attributed to the fact Nashville seemed to have no legs after flying into Vancouver the day before the start of Game One, the bigger reason was probably because the Canucks spent almost the entire night playing keepaway with the puck especially off faceoffs. The Canucks were good on 61 percent of the draws (40-of-66) in Game One ....

    When the 'Nucks falter, it always looks like they've forgotten just what ice is, and how it works. Their passes are clumsy, and receptions even worse. Their stick work looks like junior league consolation performances.

    And, of course, they looked spectacular against the Predators in Game 1. We can only hope they keep that pace again tonight, and that Nashville's legs are slow or clumsy for reasons other than let lag.

    To the other—

    Had the Canucks came out on Thursday with a flat performance in their series opener against the Predators, few would have blamed them considering that just 48 hours earlier they had come off an emotionally-charged Game Seven overtime win over the Blackhawks. Maybe it's a testament, then, to just how sharp the Canucks are mentally right now that they not only managed to refocus quickly for the start of their second round series but to turn in what was arguably their most dominant performance so far in these playoffs.

    —it's an interesting contrast, as it was entirely possible the 'Nucks would deflate in the first game against the Predators. But they didn't, and they controlled the game flow.

    More of the same will do the job, especially if the team figures out Predators keeper Pekka Rinne. Canucks backup Corey Schneider offered the obvious advice:

    He tracks the puck so well, if he sees it clean he's probably going to catch it. So we've got to get rebounds, get the shots up [the other side] or get tips or alter his sightlines.

    From the Preadators' perspective, Game 1 was exceptinally shaky. Even accounting for the skill matchups and the fact that Vancouver nabbed the President's Trophy this season, "Losing because they were out-worked," Fung writes, "was not supposed to be among those reasons."

    That's why Thursday's self-described no-show by the Predators in Game One was particularly disturbing for a team with a reputation of never taking a night off. It's a safe bet that they won't pull a disappearing act for a second game in a row now that they've presumably shaken off the rust from their three-day layoff following their first round series.

    Nashville can take some solace in the fact that despite being dominated by the Canucks in Game One, they found themselves within one goal of forcing overtime and seemed to get much stronger in the third period generating several quality scoring chances that were turned aside by Roberto Luongo. It was also very encouraging for them to see Pekka Rinne return to his Vezina Trophy candidate form after being lit up during their opening round series against the Ducks.

    A couple of interesting numbers:

    • Vancouver is 88-109 (.446) all-time in the playoffs.

    • The Canucks are 46-54 (.460) at home in the playoffs.

    • Nashville is 3-14 (.176) on the road in the playoffs.

    • The Predators have never won a playoff series (0-3) after losing Game 1.

    • Of Vancouver's five leading scorers in the 2011 playoffs, two have positive +/- ratios (Burrows, +2; Kesler, +4).

    • Of Nashville's five leading scorers, only one has a negative +/- ratio (Ward, -1).

    Four and a half hours, or so? Something about ennui goes here ....



    Fung, Daniel. "Game Notes". (n.d.) Canucks.NHL.com. April 30, 2011. http://canucks.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=39654
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2011
  14. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Game One—Boston @ Philadelphia

    Boston Bruins vs. Philadelphia Flyers—Game 1

    Okay, I will at least note that when it all comes down, it's hard to hold Boston against the Bruins. At least, when they're in Philly. I'm enjoying the absolute thrashing they have unleashed against the Flyers.

    At the horn, it's Boston, 7-3.


    Brian Boucher will be having nightmares after this one.

    I mean, seriously ... damn.

    That was ... that was brutal.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2011
  15. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Game Five—Nashville @ Vancouver

    Can 'Nucks Fans Make it Through Game Five?

    In a week in which many people's hearts beat faster over news of Osama bin Laden's demise, Vancouver Canuck hockey fans have staggered through breathless games leading to a 3-1 series lead against the Nashville Predators:

    Game 1

    Nashville 0 | 0 | 0 | 0
    Vancouver 0 | 1 | 0 | 1

    Game 2 (OT2)

    Nashville 0 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 1 | 2
    Vancouver 0 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 1

    Game 3 (OT1)

    Vancouver 0 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 3
    Nashville 1 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 2

    Game 4

    Vancouver 1 | 1 | 2 | 4
    Nashville 1 | 0 | 1 | 2

    Game Four brought two pieces of outstanding news, aside from a 4-2 victory and 3-1 series lead. First was Henrik Sedin's goal in the third period, which broke a cold streak dating back to March late March, and extending seventeen games. The second was that the goal also gave Vancouver a two-goal lead, the first for either team in this playoff series.

    The downside is that the two-goal lead came with twenty seconds remaining.

    Still, though, there is much promise in that late goal. It signals the arrival of the Sedin brothers, who have largely been silent in the playoffs, and it also sets up the Canucks to go forward tonight in Rogers Arena comfortable in the knowledge that they can, in fact, earn a two-goal lead against the Nashville Predators. A little under twenty-one seconds is all they needed to hold it on Thursday night. This evening, the Canucks will look to establish themselves early, and skate in the confidence of a lead that won't disappear with one shot, in the blink of an eye.

    With sports, often psychology reigns supreme. Daniel Sedin is last season's Art Ross Trophy winner; Henrik will win the scoring award for this season. Such quietude from the brothers during the playoffs has been cause for concern, though Coach Alain Vignault says those worries are a thing of the past.

    "They've played well," he told reporters. "They spent a lot of time ... Nashville's end, getting scoring chances, cycling, wearing down their defense." And while points might be tough to come by in the NHL playoffs, "The process is still there. Their process is fine and their effort is real good."

    Thrice nominated for the Vezina Trophy, including this season, Vancouver keeper Roberto Luongo sees, but isn't worried: "I know the twins have had a lot of pressure on their shoulders because they haven’t put up many points," he explained. "Playoffs are not about individual achievements. It doesn’t matter if they score or not. We want to win games. We need to win four games out of seven. What ever [that] means we need to get that done, that’s what we will do."

    And as Luongo stares longwise at fellow Vezina nominee Pekka Rinne, he will also have the help of Selke-nominated center Ryan Kesler, who has shone in the scoring vacancy left by the Sedin slump.

    The Sedins, themselves, remain calm. "We have been winning games," said Daniel, shortly after arriving in Vancouver after Game Four. "I can care less about scoring points or anything like that." And while it's true that he probably could care less, we know what he means. "It's all about winning," he reiterated.

    The Canucks seek to close the series tonight, and advance to the Western Conference Final for the first time in seventeen years. "We want to finish this series tomorrow," said Daniel Sedin of Game Five. "It's going to be tight going into the third. That's the way we like it."

    And while the Canucks have made a reputation as a third period team, players and fans alike would probably be more comfortable if the last twenty opened with a two-goal lead. Which, of course, brings us back to Henrik Sedin's empty-net goal with 20.8 seconds remaining in the third period of Game Four.

    Henrik's goals drought is over. The Canucks have led a game in this series by two goals.

    These two points must remain true tonight. It may be all about winning games, but that means scoring goals, and if the 'Nucks aren't leaving Ryan Kesler to make the magic on his own, they will be better off for it.

    And, of course, there are the fans. Drinking beer and yelling at the television set should never be so exhausting. How shameful if we should fall over before the team does. But a spare goal for our breathing comfort would be much appreciated.

    Number of the Day

    The Nashville Five-O: Zero (0). Nil. None. Null. Zed. Zilch. Zip. That is, in their thirteen sesons as an NHL club, the Nashville Predators have made the playoffs five times before. The number of the day is zero, as in: How many times has Nashville won a playoff elimination game? Five times they have faced elimination before; and five times they have lost.​



    "Canucks will try to put away Predators in Game 5". (n.d.) Canucks.NHL.com. May 7, 2011. http://canucks.nhl.com/club/preview.htm?id=2010030235

    Morris, Jim. "Finishing Predators quickly more of a concern to Daniel Sedin than points". Guelph Mercury. May 6, 2011. GuelphMercury.com. May 7, 2011. http://www.guelphmercury.com/sports...more-of-a-concern-to-daniel-sedin-than-points
  16. Tyler Registered Senior Member

    Things I learned tonight.

    1. You can tell Detroit are pure winners by the fact that they celebrate very calmly after each goal, never getting ahead of themselves.

    2. Every time I've ever though Datsyuk might be one of the greats, I was correct. It's a shame he doesn't get even more recognition than he does right now. Consistency, achievement, quality, leadership...
  17. Idle Mind What the hell, man? Valued Senior Member

    One small correction, but the names should be reversed. Daniel is the scoring champion from 2010-2011, and Henrik won it last season, 2009-2010 (where Daniel missed 19 games due to a broken foot, but had a point-per-game ratio higher than Henrik).

    I'd temporarily forgotten about this thread as I went from being in the thick of things in Vancouver, to where hockey is virtually unknown in Tokyo. I am here for a month visiting -- poor timing on my part, in retrospect.

    I could not have imagined that both Tampa and Boston would sweep in the East. That completely blew my mind, and will lead to an intense Eastern Conference final.

    With game 7 between Detroit and SJ looming, I can't help but give SJ the nod. They are a great home team, and they are too good to be swept. At the same time, if anyone can pull off an upset like this, it is the Red Wings. Never emotional, never panicked. Calm and collected to the end. Should be a great game.

    Vancouver will be well suited to either of the teams, I think. Both play a much more open game compared to Nashville, but not only were the Canucks the top defensive team throughout the regular season, they were also the top offensive team. The Sedins need to step up and prove all the critics wrong, and Luongo will have to provide the great performance he's capable of.

    Kesler for President!
  18. Idle Mind What the hell, man? Valued Senior Member

    What an exciting finish to a fantastically even series. Sharks win!

    The match-ups are now Tampa Bay (5) vs Boston (3) in the East, and Vancouver (1) vs San Jose (2) in the West.

    Bring on the Conference finals!
  19. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    The SF Giants call what they do "torture", but it ain't nothing compared to the horrible things that the SJ Sharks do to their fans.

    They get up three games to none on the Red Wings, then kind of relax, kick back and watch the Wings win three games. And that revives every Sharks fan's not-so-pleasant memories of previous years' playoff implosions.

    Last year they got swept by Chicago and couldn't get anything past Chicago's goaltender. So they did the only thing possible, and lured Antti Niemi to San Jose. He's had some off days for the Sharks, but when he's on he's absolutely spectacular. Kind of an octopus on the blueline, with more arms and legs squirting out in impossible directions than seems right for a human being. (He's from Finland, maybe that explains it.)

    They go into game seven and eventually squeak through by one goal. (As usual. Every game the Sharks play seems to ultimately depend on one shot or one mistake. Everything in a Sharks game matters.) I find that I've aged thirty years and that all my hair's gone white.

    And they still have two more series to get through if they expect to win that damn Holy Grai... er, Stanley Cup.

    I'm loving it though. Like the Giants say... 'torture'. Sometimes pain really is pleasure, sports as S&M.

    The Sharks seem to have gotten an underdog thing going like the Giants did last year. Patrick Boyle was talking about how the hockey press and the whole hockey world wanted Detroit to win but the Sharks hung together and continued believing in themselves, and pulled it out.

    And now the Sharks are playing the Canucks and everyone in Silicon Valley can feel the whole country of Canada staring in this direction and thinking terribly evil things about us. (In their nice Canadian way, of course.)

    Actually, the Canucks and the Sharks seem to be kind of similar in their histories, skill levels and whatnot. This upcoming series is going to be very closely matched, just like the last one. The Sharks and Canucks are thoroughly familiar with each other's tendencies and style of play, just like the Sharks and Wings were. (The Sharks were kind of modeled on the Wings.) The 'Nucks performed very well against the Sharks in the regular season, so this isn't going to be an easy assignment for our intrepid Los Tiburones.
  20. Idle Mind What the hell, man? Valued Senior Member

    Well, Boston came back in a big way to tie the series, holding off the Lightning with a 6-5 victory, after scoring 5 goals in the second period. Tyler Seguin has been the Bruins' best player since joining the line-up in Patrice Bergeron's absence, compiling 3 goals and 3 assists in the two games he's played this series. Not bad for a rookie (albeit, a number 2 draft pick overall).

    The Canucks and Sharks series promises to be exceedingly tight, but it will be exciting. Up early tomorrow to watch the game!
  21. Idle Mind What the hell, man? Valued Senior Member

    Wooo! That was a sound thrashing by the Canucks last night. Ben Eager certainly didn't do the Sharks any favours.

    And who would have guessed that Tyler Seguin would come in to the conference finals having zero NHL playoff experience and make such a remarkable impact. After two games, the 2nd overall pick from 2010 was playing point-per-period hockey, and he's scored again tonight. Four goals and three assists in 3 games. Not bad.
  22. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Brutal, with more of the same in the forecast

    Yeah, wow. Any word on whether Eager is a healthy scratch tonight? I've been away too long. Of course, I'm scrambling to read the game preview before the afternoon ... er ... yeah, never mind.

    But that was an unholy beating on Wednesday. Eager should probably sit out tonight just to make an example; nobody should ever treat their own goalkeeper so badly as to rack up twenty PIM in eleven minutes on ice. Just sayin' ....

    On the other hand, the 'Nucks need to be careful. The Sharks are looking for blood, in every dimension, tonight. Vancouver cannot afford to hang Lu out in a feeding frenzy.
  23. Idle Mind What the hell, man? Valued Senior Member

    Game 3 didn't go so well for us Canuck fans, but today's effort was much better. Of course, SJ helped us out again with a parade to the box with some undisciplined penalties -- too many men, puck over the glass?

    Eager didn't play today, not sure about Friday's game.

    Boston and Tampa are sure making that series interesting.

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