Stunned! -Stanley Cup Favorites Lose Game One
This was the reaction of the hockey world as they watched both of the Stanley Cup favorites lose their opening games. Pittsburgh, who is a 4-1 favorite to win the Cup, squandered a 3-0 lead to eventually lose a heartbreaking game in overtime. And the defending Western Conference champions, the Vancouver Canucks, who are a 6-1 favorite to win the Cup, lose a close game of their own in front of their hometown crowd.
The Penguins dominated their game right out of the gate. They were aggressive on the forecheck, put lots of shots on net, and jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Then there was a controversial play. Briere scored for the Flyers after going blatantly offside to receive the pass. The goal counted, and the Flyers comeback was queued. They added two more, and then another one in overtime to leave the Pittsburgh crowd speechless. It seemed that after the big lead, the Penguins sat back on their heels, and their big players never got back on track. Bryzgalov was also able to regain control and close the door after the first three goals against, despite the bears surrounding him in the stands (which he said in an interview was the only thing he was afraid of). There was a lack of fisticuffs, but no lack of intensity. This series is the real deal, and hopefully game two proves to be just as entertaining. I cant wait.
I think the Canucks would like a mulligan on their game. I’m not sure what their game plan was, but it seemed like they were trying to agitate, and intimidate the Kings, with big hits, and bodies in the crease. Which is very confusing, because isn’t that the Kings game plan? The Kings are the underdogs that should be trying to rattle the other team, not the Canucks. They are the favorite here, the top seed, the high scoring Canucks. They should be moving the puck around and out-skating their opponents. Using their skill and avoiding the post whistle antics. But they came out and did the opposite, engaging the Kings as often as possible, and resulting in 27 minutes in penalties and 2 powerplay goals against. I’m not sure if missing Daniel Sedin really changed their mentality and affected their gameplay? Or if they were trying to mirror the Boston Bruins, who ultimately beat them for the Cup last season? The awful trade they made for Kassian would indicate the latter. But whatever the reason, they better get refocused for game two, because despite their best efforts to play the game with 4 skaters, the other reason they lost was the goaltender at the other end of the rink, as Jonathon Quick, was simply lights out!
The other series that was in action on the first day of the Stanley Cup playoffs was the Detroit Red Wings vs. the Nashville Predators. This was an exciting game that came down to the wire, but eventually saw the Preds take the game 3-2 and the series lead 1-0. This wasn’t a real shocker considering the Preds are a slight favorite to win the series, and also since Detroit is favored to win their games on home ice. That being said it is a tight series, and I could see either team winning and advancing to the next round. One thing of note is the potential fallout from Shea Weber putting Zetterburg’s face into the glass.
All in all it was a pretty exciting and entertaining start to the playoffs. I live for this time of year, and I cant wait to see what tomorrow night brings…
…and that is the last word.