Rumors run rampant and blame is being cast like a fly fisherman in the wake of yet another early playoff exit/flameout by the Pittsburgh Penguins. This time it was a blown 3-1 series lead against the New York Rangers.
I believe a large portion of the reactions, or over reactions at times, isn’t so much on the losing alone but rather how they have lost. I would like to think that even the most Kool-Aid drinking Penguins fans, who believe just because they have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, that they should be in the Cup Finals every year, realize the difficulty that is the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The fandom demands of players being traded and coaches being fired is an oft found react...
The New York Islanders hit the road to Raleigh, North Carolina to face the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday night, kicking off a mini two-game road trip. The series between the two has been all Carolina since the beginning of the 2012/13 season as the Hurricanes have won all 6 matchups. The Islanders will try to snap the skid while also pulling into a .500 record on the road this season Tuesday night. Each of the previous three games this season have been decided by one goal, the latest coming back in January at the Coliseum, a 3-2 Carolina victory. (Photo credit: Jonathan_Hawkins/flickr).
The Islanders began the first 39 minutes of the game against their divison foe Carolina Hurricanes, by playing weak, uninspired and just plain bad hockey. They ended up finishing the contest with some fight, but it ended up being too little too late as they fell to the 'Canes by a final of 4-3 in front of 13,008 fans at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.
The Islanders home stand continues tonight as they welcome a new division rival, the Carolina Hurricanes to Nassau Coliseum for the first time this season. This will be the first of 4 meetings between the two teams and the first of 2 on Long Island.
The New York Islanders season-ending five game road trip continued last night in Raleigh as the team fell to the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in the shootout.
The importance of the loss being in the shootout was that, in conjunction with the Winnipeg Jets regulation loss, the Isles earned their first playoff appearance since 2007. Had the Islanders lost in regulation, there would have been no clinch.
Looking to extend a two-game win streak, the New York Islanders began a 7-game home stretch on Sunday night against the Carolina Hurricanes. Unfortunately, the Isles gave up a two-goal lead and were defeated 4-2.
Already winning two games last season against the Canes, the Isles started backup goaltender Kevin Poulin in net. After waiving and ultimately sending Rick DiPietro down to the Bridgeport Soundtigers, the Isles called up Poulin to indefinitely serve as backup to Evgeni Nabakov.
The Flyers are 2-0-1 on their four-game home stand so far. They conclude it against the team they started it against in Carolina. Can they cool down a hot Cam Ward and Eric Staal all while staying out of the penalty box?
The 2013 NHL season is no longer an 82 game marathon, but instead is a 48 game dash to the finish line.
Will teams that had multiple players skating in Europe fair better? Will veteran squads win because they will have fresh legs all season long? Only the next few months will tell.
Here are my Eastern Conference power rankings.
1. Pittsburgh Penguins – A healthyEvgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby will lead Pittsburgh deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs. The addition of veteran goalie Tomas Vokoun gives Coach Dan Bylsma a solid option if Marc-Andre Fleury falters.