The first round of the 2013 NHL playoffs are in the books, eight teams have been sent packing to hit the links while eight teams remain to square off in the conference semi-finals. (Photo Credit: Torch Creative)
The first round did not disappoint hockey fans who have come to expect physical, fast, dramatic hockey in the playoffs and year after year they are not disappointed.
One year after the Los Angeles Kings became the first eight seed ever to win the Stanley Cup both seven seeds and both six have managed to advance to the semi-finals. The Eastern Conference Semi-final match-ups pit the Pittsburgh Penguins (1) against the Ottawa Senators (7) and the Boston Bruins (4) face off with the New York Rangers (6), while the Western Conference will feature the Chicago Blackhawks (1) who will try to hold off the Detroit Redwings (7) and the defending champion Los Angeles Kings (5) will face their fellow Californians, the San Jose Sharks (6).
With all due respect to the New York Islanders tremendous play in round one of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Pittsburgh Penguins were terrible.
They refused to alter their stretch passing breakout plan after the Islanders set up a 1-3-1 trapping system. They refused to battle for long stretches of time in order to stifle the quick transition game of the Islanders. The Penguins almost refused to change everything except for the goaltender and while this worked out to their advantage, it is not going to work this time around.
The Ottawa Senators, the Penguins next opponent in round two of the playoffs, are a completely animal than that of the Islanders. Th...
The New York Islanders lost 4-3 in overtime last night to the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins, thus ending their run in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Penguins took the series in six games, winning the last battle on Coliseum ice in front of a sold out crowd of Islanders fans that continued to give their home team a standing ovation despite being eliminated.
"It's exciting to play in a building like this. It's a lot of fun. In my opinion, we're probably the loudest arena in the league now," said Matt Martin after the game.
"The fans were unbelievable through the end of the season there in the last five home games and all through the playoffs. They were a big factor in the way we played at home down the stretch. It makes a huge difference for us. People don't realize it but it gives you a little extra boost, a little extra energy when the crowd goes nuts like that. You definitely want to do something exciting."
After a scoreless first period, the Pittsburgh Penguins score three in the second period to blow the game wide open and cruise to a victory in today's game five of this best of seven first round series.
The Penguins got goals from four different players and ten different skaters had points in Pittsburgh's 4-0 shutout. For Tomas Vokoun, it was his second career shutout.
The victory, Pittsburgh's 15th straight, was also a record night in another way: the Pens have extended their club record shutout streak. The Pens shutout streak now extends over 208 minutes as Pittsburgh has won the last three by shutout.
Pens netminder Tomas Vokoun has extended his personal best shutout streak to just shy of 163 minutes.
Using a Pittsburgh Pirates home run call is about all I can say right about now, because in my mind, Ray Shero has hit a home run.
On Sunday March 24th, Shero sent prized prospect Joe Morrow and a 5th round draft pick to the Dallas Stars for a third round draft pick and veteran winger Brenden Morrow. The 34 year old former captain of the Dallas Stars is going to be bringing a few key skill sets to Pittsburgh, but none more important than that of leadership and stability.
The gritty winger will see time all over the ice for Pittsburgh. He is expected to play with Malkin and Neal, as well as time on Sutter’s wing with M...
Saturday night against Carolina, the Flyers dressed Kimmo Timonen, Luke Schenn, Braydon Coburn, Nicklas Grossmann, Kurtis Foster, and Bruno Gervais as their defense.
All six shared one thing in common -- not a single one of them were drafted by the Flyers.
In fact, the Flyers have a consistent issue with things like that. Since the lost season of 2004-05, the Flyers have not gotten more than 150 games played from a defensemen they drafted and only one home grown defensemen has played more than 200 games in a Flyers uniform since that time, Randy Jones, an undrafted defender.
(Pictured: Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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.
In an offseason of questions for the Pittsburgh Penguins, there is one thing that cannot be questioned, there will be changes made. The first move was made as the Pittsburgh Penguins acquired the rights to Washington Capital goaltender Tomas Vokoun and quickly signed him to a two year deal worth $4-Million. The Penguins traded their 7th round draft pick in the 2012 NHL draft for the negotiation rights. His signing signals the end of three year backup Brent Johnson, who fell out of favor after a weak season.
This move was extremely surprising, especially to those in Pittsburgh who had expected AHL goaltender Brad Thiessen to make his way up to the NHL level as...