New York Rangers:
Rangers are in a lot of trouble here. With every game that Hank plays it becomes more and more apparent that he has lost his game. Very tough for the rangers to have one of the most anticipated up and coming goaltenders in Igor and he is currently unfit to play. (While writing this part of the blog Hank just let in a tough goal between the pad and blocker….)
Carolina is playing extremely well right now on all sides of the puck. They are winning those 50/50 battles to the pucks and their forecheck has been incredible. This team has potential to do some serious damage this postseason if they continue to push themselves.
Game one showed exactly how important experience is. With guys who have been in long playoff runs and have won multiple cups before, it will win out 80% of the time. Now add in stud draft picks in Kirby Dach, and Dominik Kubalik (Kubalik who padded the stat sheet with 5 points in his first career playoff game) I don’t understand why everyone is sleeping on this team…
Two guys, regardless of how good they are, can not carry a team in the playoffs. It is so important to have all eighteen guys suited up involved in the game and contributing. Edmonton struggled with that in game one, as Zack and I suggested they would in our previous podcast, and I believe they will continue to struggle in this area costing them the series, and an early playoff exit.
Florida had a tough time getting anything going in game one against the Islanders on Saturday. They didn’t have great puck movement and against a team so defensively sound in the Islanders, you need to snap the puck around quickly in order to get the defense moving around. Look for them to also plant more traffic in front of the net.
New York Islanders:
They did it all season, and did it again in game one. They put you to sleep with their shutdown defense and capitalized on the few opportunities they generate. Very Very boring but very effective at the same time.
They wanted it more. They worked harder. And got more out of their bottom six forwards than Pittsburg did. I’m in the same boat here that I am with Chicago. While Montreal doesn’t have the same veteran presence that Chicago has, They get the same all around production from their top line as they do from their bottom line.
Matt Murray is not invested anymore. I don’t know what it is, but he is clearly not there for the full game anymore. He doesn’t make those big moment saves when his team needs them the most and he just can’t seem to stop the bleeding. Start Jarry game two if you want even the slightest shot.
Not a good look at all. They got out muscled and out hustled all game. Scheifele went down and the world is torn between it being a dirty hit or not. It wasn’t at all. Tkachuk lifted his skate as he approached the boards to slow himself down. It’s a common technique in the sport and if you watch a game you will see it done countless times. Regardless though, the Jets did not respond well at all. Blake Wheeler got in there and threw them with Tkachuk, but after that there was nothing from them. They just lied down like a doormat and let Calgary disrespect them all game.
Great game. They brought everything from a huge physical presence, to great transition play. They aren’t fucking around this year. I originally said this series was a pick’em, but if they can continue to play the way they did in game one, they are going to be very hard to knock out of the playoffs.
Played a great all around game. Jumping out to a 3-1 lead was huge for this team. That being said they did get complacent and slowly that lead started to slip away. They need to be able to close the door early in the game and continue playing the same game that got them the lead. Don’t take your foot off the gas.
Columbus Blue Jackets:
Korpisalo played out of his mind. What an absolutely incredible hockey game, and with Elvis ready to come in if he slips up, this team’s potential is there. They also aren’t suppose to be there. Trading away half their team at the deadline, this team had no plans to be in the playoffs and you can see the way they are playing with no pressure. Let’s see how long the house money will last.
Toronto Maple Leafs:
They did not look good at all.They definitely went in with the wrong mindset and thought they were just going to steamroll the Jackets. This team continues to baffle me with their playoff play. Could it be the mounting stress on them because they continue to be an early exit year in and year out? Could it be the fact that forty million dollars of their cap is wrapped up in four players? Could it be their goaltending/defense? A lot of questions in Toronto that better be answered quickly if they want to make it out of the play in rounds.
Cart Hart how are ya? They went toe to toe in the first period and then exploded in the second period and that was all she wrote. The experience in that locker room and the young stud goaltending they are currently getting is a combo for success. Another team that also got scoring from their bottom six in big moments.
After getting worked over by Columbus in the exhibition game, Boston needed this as a big bounce back game. Not sure what’s going on with them at the moment but they need to get it worked on quickly.
St. Louis Blues:
While they had the lead for the entire game, I was underwhelmed with the blue performance. They need to create more opportunities off the rush and use the pace of play to their advantage like they did last season. They also need to get back to bullying their opponents. Need more of a physical presence from their bottom six.
They need more from everyone in the lineup. Zadorov needs to go back to blowing people up like he did all season long. They thrived so much off the energy those hits created and they need that especially in the playoffs. Their breakouts need to be touched up a bit as well.
Extremely shocked with how well this team performed. They jumped out to an early lead, built it to a three goal advantage, and then parked the bus and shut her down. Exactly the type of game they need to play to make a run in the playoffs especially against a high flying, fast paced Canucks team.
Ugh come on boys. They got both out muscled and out hustled against the wild. They need to take pride in the team they have and need to be able to push back if they want to stay in the bubble longer than a week. The talent is there, they just need the confidence back and need someone to stand up and call them out in the locker room ASAP.