We are just a few days into the 2012 NHL postseason, but with the amount of news that has developed, I think it’s time to take a look at what has happened in each series.
Current Series Standings
#1 New York Rangers vs. #8 Ottawa Senators — TIED 1-1
#2 Boston Bruins vs. #7 Washington Capitals — TIED 1-1
#3 Florida Panthers vs. #6 New Jersey Devils — TIED 1-1
#4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #5 Philadelphia Flyers — PHI leads 3-0
#1 Vancouver Canucks vs. #8 Los Angeles Kings — LA leads 3-0
#2 St. Louis Blues vs. #7 San Jose Sharks — TIED 1-1
#3 Phoenix Coyotes vs. #6 Chicago Blackhawks — TIED 1-1
#4 Nashville Predators vs. #5 Detroit Red Wings — NSH leads 2-1
1. Flyers and Kings Rollin’
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s shocking that either of these teams have a series lead at this point, but it is a bit crazy that they have dominated in this fashion.
Philadelphia has trailed early in all three games with Pittsburgh, yet they have found a way to win all of them by a fairly significant margin. In fact, only game one was decided by one goal, while the other two became blowouts by the end of the third period. It is fascinating how easily they have solved the netminding riddle of Marc-Andre Fleury thus far — 20 goals scored in three contests.
The Kings have been intriguing not only because they are an eight seed, but also because of their way of winning. I mean, they are doing it all. For example, in games one and two, an offensive outbreak was required to win the contest and they found a way to score four goals each night — even though they were one of the worst scoring teams in the regular season. Then, game three was a defensive battle, and sure enough, Jonathan Quick stepped up with a shutout. Watch out for these guys!
2. Fight, Fight, Fight!
Fighting has always been — and hopefully always will be — a major part of the NHL. But, this postseason has far more than I originally anticipated. Take this statistic from yesterday to support this thought: through 15 games, the 13 fighting majors and eight game misconducts are the most since 1990. That is insane, wild, maybe even epic! It tells you one of two things; either these teams really want a Stanley Cup, or they just really dislike each other — although I guess you can attribute just about every one of those penalties to the Flyers and Penguins since their contests have become more of a boxing match on ice then a hockey game (HA!). I’m only kidding… somewhat.
3. Blackhawks Late Game Heroics
So, I have spent a great deal of time watching this series, and through two games I have been left shaking my head in the final seconds of the third period. How, in two straight games, did Chicago find a way to tie these games? It’s absurd.
In game one they put the puck in the back of the net with just 15 seconds remaining; and, for an encore, they did the same thing but with six seconds left in game two. It has gotten to the point where I’m just expecting something better in game three. Can anyone say buzzer beater? Okay, maybe that is a bit much to hope for, but based on the first two games, nothing is impossible.