So the first round of the NHL playoffs are in the books and the biggest news in the sports news and sports on the web was that the Toronto Maple Leafs battled their nemesis, the Boston Bruins right down to game seven of their series before loosing it in overtime to the heavily favored Bruins. The game made history and depending on how you look at it, either the Leafs had the historic meltdown or the Bruins had the comeback of the ages.
Down 3-1 in the series , the Leafs fought back to even it at three games apiece thanks mainly to some stellar goalkeeping from James Reimer. Then in game seven the young Leafs used their speed and hustle to control the puck and the play, jumping out to a 4-1 lead after 50 minutes. They had them but then a strange thing happened. Toronto started playing not to loose and tried to just defend. A bad move considering the experienced Bruins did not want to go quietly in their own barn. Boston rallied to score 3 goals in the final 10 minutes of the game to send it to overtime. Allsports knew that the Leafs were then done like dinner and the Bruins would come all the way back. Chalk it up to experience and not having the killer instinct to put a team away when you have the heal of your boot on their throat and you can’t finish them off. Toronto needed to stay aggressive and keep pushing the play. The Bruins were a tired lot and could not keep the pace the Leafs set. Instead they fell into a defensive shell and today they are cleaning out their lockers because of it. Now they are left to wonder, what if.
There was huge support for the team and the area outside the Air Canada Center, known as Maple Leaf Square was packed with as many people as what the ACC could hold. In fact 15-20 thousand people showed up to watch game 7 from Boston on the big screen in the square. Now that is support for a hockey team. But now everyone will have to wait for next year. Allsports thinks the Leafs would have beaten the Rangers in the next round if they had of managed to get by Boston.
As far as the other series went in the Eastern Conference, Allsports was 4 for 4 in picking the winners. Too bad I was not wrong about Boston and Toronto.
The Ottawa Senators will travel to Pittsburgh to play “Sid the Kid”and the Penguins. At the start of the playoffs the Pens were the odds on favorite to win Lord Stanley s Mug but Allsports is not so sure. The Penguins defense is suspect and a strong fore check can cause lots of trouble in their defensive zone. Ottawa’s Goalie, Craig Anderson could give the Penguins shooters fits but in the end the Penguins just have too much firepower for the Senators to handle. Pens in Six games.
The New York Rangers open in Boston against the Bruins and I think the Bruins fore check will be too much for the Rangers defense to overcome, I thought if Toronto got through they would have taken out the Rangers too. After the scare the Leafs gave them, look for the Bruins to put it together. Mind you they did have a taxing series against the Leafs and they are a little slim on the blue line right now. But unless King Henrik can stand on his head the Bruins should win this in six or seven games. Bruins in seven.
Out in the west Detroit heads into the windy city to take on the Black Hawks. Detroit squeaked past the Anaheim Ducks, which was one of my two wrong predictions. Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk refused to loose and carried them past the Ducks. It is a different story with Chicago. They have many weapons that can hurt you and even the heroics of Datsyuk and Zetterberg, two of the best in the game won’t be enough. The Hawks can counter with Toews and Kane and with a stronger support cast with the likes of Patrick Sharp and Marion Hossa, Detroit goalie, Jimmy Howard has to have the series of his life for Detroit to go through. Chicago in six.
The last series is the California or at the beach dude series with the Sharks starting of in L.A. against the Kings. The Kings started slowly but built momentum against the St Louis Blues and it was a tough hard hitting series. The Sharks had an easy time with the Vancouver Canucks (the other series I got wrong) and it was pretty tame although I think the Canucks did get hosed by the referees with some really lame calls. Then the Sharks power play put them away. This series was the biggest surprise for Allsports with the Canucks not winning a game. There could be some major changes in lotus land because of the embarrassing and quick exit. So how can you be called an elite player when time after time you shit the bed when the going gets tough in the playoffs. Are you listening twins named Sedin. Anyway Allsports thinks the Kings are starting to hit their stride and will be a little too much for the Sharks to handle. Kings in six games.