Monday, April 18, 2011

NHL Playoff Roundup: Captain 'Stache, 8-Foot Tall Goligoski, and Carey Price Pimpin'

By GTOG Staff

While we are generally immersed in the Pens' series, we always keep an eye on the rest of the NHL.  After all, the Pens can't play everyone we like to make fun of all at once.  Let's take a spin around the league.

Canadiens vs. Bruins; Canadiens Lead 2-0

This was Artistry's upset special, and so far so good.  Bell Centre is going to be a madhouse for Game 3.  The secret to the Canadiens' success is simple - bury your chances.  They only get a few per game, but that's all you need when you actually score.  Maybe that last sentence was a shot at James Neal.  Maybe it wasn't.  The Bruins are carrying an ailing Zdeno Chara, which we understand can be quite taxing.  Your likely Vezina winner Tim Thomas is a bit of a fraud, and if Carey Price keeps this up, Run DMC may forgive him this transgression.

We won't.

Rangers vs. Capitals; Caps Lead 2-1

We've watched more of this series than any other aside from Pens/Lightning, and a few things are completely clear.  First, the Caps have no excuse if they lose this series.  They are significantly more talented than the Rags, have home-ice advantage, and finally, seem comfortable beating a team like the Rangers at their own game.  Second, Brandon Dubinsky's mustache makes him look like an extra in Striking Distance.  Third, Karl Carlson - the Karl Alzner-John Carlson pairing - is going to be a real pain in the ass to deal with over the next several years.

They Shouldn't Have Put Him in the Water, if They Didn't Expect Him to Make Waves.
But none of the above means that the Caps will win this series.  They failed to bury the Rangers in Game 3, and after Dubinsky gave the Rangers a 3-2 lead with 1:39 left in the 3rd period yesterday, Ovechkin and Neuvirth buried their heads in their hands and reacted like Bruce Boudreau when Haagen Dazs operates on winter hours.  Champions go right to center ice and yell for the ref to drop the puck faster.  Bottom line: Based on the rosters, the Caps should close this one out without much trouble...but are they still mentally soft?

Sabres vs. Flyers; Tied 1-1

The Sabres were a trendy upset pick heading into this one, and with good reason.  They are more than just Ryan Miller.  They've got 8-foot tall Goligoski, i.e. Tyler Myers, covering the entire ice surface in about 4 strides, an otherwise mobile and fairly skilled D, a game-breaker in Tomas Vanek, and a bunch a little waterbugs up front hopping around the Flyers' zone.  The Flyers are already playing musical goaltenders, Chris Pronger is still out, and Artistry is acknowledging that he picked the Flyers to go to the Finals based solely on the fact that he could never bring himself to pick the Caps.  This is the Sabres' series to lose right now.
Blackhawks vs. Canucks; Canucks Lead 3-0

Boy, did Stan Bowman screw up this Blackhawks team.  Instead of the three dangerous lines and exceptional young goaltender they rode to the Cup last year, the Hawks have one great line, Marian Hossa, and Corey Crawford.  This is to take nothing away from Vancouver.  The Canucks are incredibly balanced, they have one of the best goalies in hockey, maybe the best two-way center in hockey in Ryan Kesler, their defense corps rivals and perhaps trumps the Penguins in terms of depth and mobility, and their high end guys are just as good if not better than anybody else's high end guys.  We miss anything?

Coyotes vs. Red Wings; Wings Lead 2-0

No, Pavel Datsyuk isn't Sidney Crosby, but nobody on the Coyotes even deserves to share the same ice surface with him.  We didn't even think twice about this series before it started, and we aren't thinking about it now.

Kings vs. Sharks; Tied 1-1

Now this is a surprise.  No idea what's going on here, but by all accounts, Jonathan Quick is good.

Predators vs. Ducks; Predators Lead 2-1

The only two notable things in this series are the Bobby Ryan skate stomping incident and Nashville fans waving Terrible Towels, neither of which is defensible.  The Ducks may be a little top heavy to pull this one out, although Max Talbot would legitimately be the Preds' #2 centerman.  Seriously. Anyway, we are rooting for the Predators because Ducks' home games start way too late.

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