With the possible exception of World Cup Soccer, there is no contest in sports more intense than playoff hockey at any level. Tonight at 7pm The Webster Bank Arena will play host to the AHL’s opening round of the Calder Cup Championships. This years contest starts with an historic battle between the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, proud affiliate of the New York Islanders, and Hartford’s Whale, the New York Rangers sister club.
While the two teams have met some 130 times in the last 11 years, they have never faced each other in the playoffs. While Bridgeport holds a slight advantage in this years’ regular season 10 game competition, the only advantage that earns them is home ice. This is only an advantage if the fans come out and make it one. The fans that do show up can expect to see professional hockey at its best. Here is how I see it:
Not a lot of people expected the Ottawa Senators to be one of only two Canadian teams that managed to make the playoffs this season. In fact, in the "normal" NHL universe, the Canadiens and Sens would probably be in each others positions. The Sens started the season with people assuming they were at the beginning of a rebuild, with GM Bryan Murray half-blowing things up the prior off-season. But then something happened. The Sens top players started playing like... well... top players. Alfredsson was on his game as rumors of retirement grew bigger and bigger. Jason Spezza became a dominant center once again. And the...
The Ottawa Senators have beaten the New York Rangers in three out of the four games the teams have played this year, which bodes well for the Senators in their first-round playoff match up. This record is a huge improvement over the Senators' record against the Boston Bruins, in which they lost five of six games, so it is great news the Senators are not squaring off against the defending Stanley Cup champions. The Senators have scored 15 goals against the Eastern Conference champions, and only allowed eight goals. Many people have written off Ottawa in the playoffs. The easy money is against the Senators, even with their impressive record against the Rangers. The...
Both have performed exceptionally well in their NHL careers. Both have shined in the playoffs, although they have never raised a Cup. And both had something to prove once this season began – one for a new team, the other for his only.
Ilya Bryzgalov began the 2011-2012 season with the Philadelphia Flyers, his first with the squad. Carey Price was returning as the Montreal Canadiens’ starting goaltender after proving his worth over the past four seasons.
Though they both entered the season full of promise, only one looks to be playoff-bound.
It was a frustrating night for the Detroit Red Wings...again.
Ryan Callahan scored the OT winner with a perfect assist from Michael Del Zotto to give the Wings their sixth consecutive loss. So what went wrong?
The Wings showed a poor display of defense tonight, especially in the third period, leaving Callahan with 8 total shots on goal. The Wings also looked very slow in the third, leaving Ty Conklin virtually all by himself in the net.
But that wouldn't phase Conklin too much as he had 32 saves along with .942 save percentage in the game. Safe to say he was the Wings strongest player tonight.
The Wings were scored on in their first penalty kill attempt, but th...
Don’t look now, but the Philadelphia Flyers are a contender.
It didn’t seem possible when the team blew itself up in the offseason to take on young players. It really didn’t seem possible when Chris Pronger went down for the season. It didn’t seem possible when Ilya Bryzgalov kept hemorrhaging goals.
Things have changed.
Through the course of the season the plan that seemed like madness now seems like perfect sanity.
With young players stepping up and filling roles, the Flyers have been balanced and outstanding offensively.
It only comes up as game number 69, it only registers two points to the winner, but for a Thursday night regular season game, this could not be more important.
Statements were made for the Penguins on Sunday when they trumped the Bruins in all areas of the game. The Pens won their 9th straight game, pushing their record to 21-4-1 since January 13th. They closed the gap on the East leading Rangers to just six points and still have a game in hand. The red hot Pens though received monumental news recently and plan on continuing their torrid streak.
Paul Martin and Kris Letang are both expected to play on Thursday, but more importantly, so is Sidney ...
The last time the Blackhawks and Rangers met up, it was a couple weeks ago in New York, and the boys in red were riding a 9-game losing streak at the tail end of their epic February road trip. On Friday night, it was the Rangers coming into the United Center on a short losing streak, and the Blackhawks looking to bounce back after a rough 1-5 loss in St. Louis.
Johnny Oduya was acquired from Winnipeg at the trade deadline, and it wasn't expected that he was going to be some kind of miracle cure for what has ailed Chicago. The Blackhawks have gone 4-1-0 in the games since the trade deadline, however, and Oduya has soaked up an average just over 21 TOI per game since his arri...
It's difficult to remember that it's understandable for a team to lose an important game against a significant divisional opponent at this point in the regular season, as everyone is vying for playoff position and overall points in the standings.
What might be more disconcerting is who the loss are coming against. The Blackhawks previous dismantling at the hand of the St. Louis Blues did not leave many fans with much confidence in the Hawks' ability to match the gameplay and competitiveness of a league leading team, like the Blues or, in the Eastern Conference, the New York Rangers.
The Chicago Blackhawks will face the "beasts of the east" in ...
Today's Trade Deadline couldn't have been more boring as only 15 deals were struck with the biggest one coming from the Vancouver Canucks and Buffalo Sabres which saw Cody Hodgson and Zach Kassian swapped jerseys. The Trade Deadline day I will say is over-hyped but it has been proven to be one of the most important days in the NHL season, as smart teams have added the right pieces and have went on to win Stanley Cups.
I get excited every year for the Trade Deadline and I don't think that will change anytime soon. Now that is over, here are today's winners and losers.