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Monday, May 20, 2013

Puckmania: NHL Super Series

Wild on Sports
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Puckmania Weekly Blog: NHL Super Series
By Wild on Sports NHL Analyst Josh Tarr

Did you miss me?

I’m coming to you live from a charging cubicle at Reagan National Airport, talking about the NHL conferences semis, of course. I would like to know if anyone else is as surprised as I am that the only series to this point that a team is dominating is the Bruins-Rangers (where the bruins are out scoring the latter 8-4).

Not only are the Bruins heating up at the right moment, but they are completely dominating play in front of the net and beating up on Lundqvist. Boston’s defense, which was considered to be a cause of concern in this series, is now surprisingly a legitimately serious threat to their opponents. The storyline coming into this series was the lack of availability on the blue line, albeit, Chara clocked nearly 40 minutes of ice-time in game 1, the Bruins discovered that even without three of their top six defenseman, their luxurious prospect pool is able to provide sufficient help right now. Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug have filled in on defense for Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference and Wade Redden and all are finding success in different ways.

As for the Rangers? I wouldn’t put my money on who will be starting in net Tuesday night. While the Bruins have been tarnishing Hendrik Lundqvists legacy, I’m pretty sure it’s been months since backup goalie Martin Biron has seen any action. The John Tortarella show may perhaps end in a screeching halt if things stay the way they are.

Like I indirectly mentioned earlier, I’ve spent the last couple of days in Washington, D.C. visiting my cousin and watch him graduate from the Washington College of Law at American U. I had the privilege of watching the Pens-Sens game last night at the bar at the Wardman Park Marriott (might I say their service was a premium). What a finish for Ottawa! I thought in order for the Senators to have a fighting chance in this series, game three was a must. They simply took advantage of what seemed to be a very tired Pittsburgh Penguins team, and were impressively enough able to muscle off the worlds best hockey team in four and a half periods.

As of the Western conference games, the Sharks-Kings series seems to be much closer and more intense than the Hawks-Wings series. Which, although makes sense when you consider the talent levels of each teams in both series, you’d have to think an original 6 series this deep in the playoffs would be more intense. I am admittedly impressed that the Red Wings blew out Chicago in game two, even though the Blackhawks have a goalie in Corey Crawford who looks almost as lost as MAF did a few weeks ago against the ISLANDERS, of all teams.

This all goes to show you that the NHL playoffs are a horse of a different color. You could be an 7th seeded Detroit Red Wings team who limped all the way to the post season, and if you play the game right at the right time, you have a fighting chance to make it to the finals.

I have a very cool stat to run across before I sign off and fly back home: If the conference finals happen to be the Bruins-Penguins in the East and the Hawks-Kings in the west, it would be the first time in NHL history that the previous four Stanley Cup winners would be the final four teams remaining in a playoff round. Might I coin this potential round, the Super Series?

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