The Stanley Cup Playoffs are in the semi-finals. Here is how the matchups look so far.
Pittsburgh Penguins v. Ottawa Senators- Penguins up 1-0
The Penguins made things difficult for themselves in the quarterfinals against the Islanders. They played poor defense and constantly allowed the Islanders to walk across the blue line and get shots on net on Fleury.
The goalie situation will be something to watch going forward. Only Dan Bylsma knows how Fleury and Vokoun will split time in net. It would seem like the more time Vokoun is in net, the better off the Pens will be.
This is true to an extent. Ultimately, the defense needs to limit the time they spend on the other side of the neutral zone.
New York Rangers v. Boston Bruins- Bruins up 1-0
Game one should paint a good picture of how the rest of this series will go. The Bruins will play aggressive, and wait for the gritty Rangers to fall into their trap. These are two of the most physical teams in the east, and we will see it in this series.
The pressure is on Charra to keep setting screens on Lundqvist and force the defense to keep him out of the trapezoid area without forcing penalites.
The team that is more successful on the PP will have a good chance to win this series.
Los Angeles Kings v. San Jose Sharks- Kings up 2-0
The Kings got off to a much better start, after dropping the first two against St. Louis in the quarterfinals.
Like we saw the Pens do against the Islanders, the Kings used a late 5 on 3 PP to tie and win the game. This was a HUGE loss for the Sharks.
It goes back to the Pavillion for games 3 and 4, and with the offensive firepower that the Sharks have, this series is far from over. But Captain Thornton, Pavelski and the boys need to figure out more ways to get past the stingy Quick.
The dump and chase and playing deep behind the net, setting up wraparound tries, might be something to consider. Quick is still incredibly good at moving around in his crease, but the more the Sharks can make him work, the better.
Chicago Blackhawks v. Detroit Red Wings- Hawks up 1-0
By far, this is the most offensively potent team in the west. They make a strong case for the top offense in the league (with Pittsburgh).
Detriot does not have many opportunities left, and they know it. They are like the Spurs of the NHL.
This is a battle of a great veteran goalie with a lot on his resume (Jimmy Howard) against a young up-and-coming goalie in Corey Crawford. Based on what we have seen over the last two years, no one wants to see Crawford when he hits his prime. It's a scary thought.
The Hawks broke Howard in the 3rd last night with 3 goals. That is how either side will win this series. Get in the other goalie's head.