Yesterday was a great day for hockey, to paraphrase Badger Bob Johnson. The start of the NHL playoffs (as well as the continuation of the WHL playoffs) led to me spending a large portion evening parked in front of a TV. Brief recaps/analysis to follow.
Game 1: OTT 6 vs. PTS 3
The Sens came out strong, and jumped to a solid 6-1 lead, before deciding to sit back and let the Pens gain some self-esteem. Ottawa, in a solid team effort, had no players who scored >1 goal, and 3 who notched 2 assists. Pittsburgh saw goals from Recchi, Staal and Crosby, in an effort that can only be described as "lackluster".
While I'd love the rest of the series to go this way, there's no way I can expect Ottawa (who's known for choking in the playoffs) to keep up that kind of a pace against the Pens. Pittsburgh and Ottawa were dead even throughout the entire regular season, and I expect this series to be a long one.
Initial prediction: Ottawa in 7.
Game 2: VAN 5 vs. DLS 4 (4OT)
Jesus. What a way to end my night. Well, and start my night. Puck drop was 7pm(PST), and Sedin1 scored the winner at about 12:40am. Nearly 6 hours of Canucks hockey. Honestly, that could last me an entire season.
Vancouver was outplayed for most of the game, and really didn't deserve to win. They had a solid 2 goal lead, which they squandered, and only managed a victory thanks to Luongo's 72 saves throughout the night.
I believe that Dallas just needs to figure out a way to beat Luongo, and they've got this one in the bag. And break the knees of Sedin1 and Sedin2.
Initial prediction: Dallas in 6.
WHL Game 1: VAN 3 vs. SEA 1
Now here's something rare: Casey cheering for a Vancouver hockey club. Not to go all the way, or anything. I personally would love to see PG in the Memorial Cup. But in this specific series, I'm a Giants fan. Don Hay seems like a good guy, and the team works hard every night ... can't fault that.
Seattle jumped to an early lead in this one, scoring at 0:31 of the 1st period, but Vancouver kept working hard and scored 2 plus an empty netter to take the win. Well, maybe they didn't actually work hard. Yeomans only had to make 14 saves (well, he should've made a couple more, maybe), while Sexsmith was fairly amazing for the Giants. Regardless, the Giants picked up the win in game 4, and look to take the series tomorrow night at the Rink on Renfrew.
Initial prediction: Vancouver in 5
WHL Game 2: PG 4 vs. EVT 3 (OT)
Man, what a surprise this series is turning out to be. I knew that the Cougars had some heart, based on their playoff run of a couple seasons ago. But Everett is the #1 team in the CHL currently. And PG? Wellll ... let's just say they're not in the top 10.
But, as a Minnesota Golden Gophers fan, I'm the first to admit that rankings mean absolutely nothing when it comes to playoff hockey. Prince George is a tough team, that's willing to work hard, and aren't afraid to face up to the #1 team in junior hockey. Every game in this series has been won by a single goal, with the exception of the 5-1 spanking Prince George administered to Everett a couple nights ago.
Initial prediction: PG in 7