Well that was fun. The Pittsburgh Penguins advancing to the second round and everything. They won't however, be advancing to the third. Sidney Crosby had a forgettable playoffs, Dan Bylsma is probably on his way out the door, and a contender bowed out meekly.
At least they didn't try to buy a championship this year and fail spectacularly. Nor was the blame for the loss placed squarely on Marc-Andre Fleury. Progress!
Although for Penguins fans, anything short of the Stanley Cup is considered failing. They're a little elitist like that. Even when they lose, they think they're more impressive than anyone else:
All told, things are really no different now. Lots of teams lose. All but one, really. But only one, the Penguins, seem to lose, in some spectacular fashion, year over year over year. [Pensburgh]
Come on now. It wasn't that long ago that they hoisted the Stanley Cup!
On the flip side, the New York Rangers have looked impressive in coming back from 3 games to 1 down in the series. And Alain Vigneault could already be said to have succeeded in his first season behind the Rangers bench. Guess who won that 'trade' between the Rangers and Canucks last season?
The real story though is Henrik Lundqvist. If you want anybody in net for a Game 7, he's the one. He's only won his last five Game 7 starts. And last night he had to earn it, making 35 saves on 36 shots, shutting down the supposedly high-powered Pittsburgh offense.
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The Chicago Blackhawks finally managed to solve the Wild in Minnesota. It took them 'til overtime to do it, and involved a fluky bounce off the end boards, but regardless, they're heading to the Western Conference Finals. [Second City Hockey]
Not Jack Campbell's greatest night. The Texas Stars' starting goaltender allowed 4 goals on 16 shots last night, before getting pulled for Christopher Nilstorp, and the Stars lost 5-2 to the Grand Rapids Griffins. Texas still leads 2-1 in the series with Game 4 tonight. [100 Degree Hockey]
Some more on the evolution of French hockey at the Worlds. [IIHF]
So he wasn't the most popular Dallas Star this season, but Sergei Gonchar has still had a pretty successful NHL career. This article looks at his story, from growing up in Soviet Russia through to playing with hockey's elite. [Voice of Russia]
PK Subban is great:
P.K. Subban on Game 7: "I can't wait for the crowd, the noise, the energy in the building. I can't wait to take that all away from them."— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) May 13, 2014
So it's Craft Beer Week. And it's the NHL Playoffs. It was inevitable somebody would link the two. Based on this, I've gotta say, Go Habs! [Kett's Corner]
And lastly, this is incredible. The pre-game ceremony in Montreal during this season's playoffs. Too bad they're playing in Boston tonight...