Lots to get to tonight, so no rant here... Just hockey!
San Jose - 2 / Colorado - 1 (OT) (Series Tied 2-2)
Dan Boyle has certainly taken some over the last couple of days, so when he came out a little over a minute into the first period and ripped a power play goal by Craig Anderson, you certainly have to tip your hat to him. Clearly he's emotionally stable and not rattled easily. The rest of the Sharks? I'm not so sure, but tonight's OT win will go a long ways in terms of giving the Sharks some much needed confidence and it's thanks to Joe "Clutch" Pavelski who again scored the OT winner. Again it looked like the Sharks may have had a very good chance of losing this one as Craig Anderson kept the Avs in the entire game and allowed them to hang around much like they did in the previous three games. Maybe I am speaking a little too soon, but I truly do think tonight was a bit of a turning point for this Sharks club. This is the kind of first round series that can launch a long and possibly successful Stanley Cup run and this is the kind of win that can spark that. But uhh... Did the San Jose commentary crew really try to hint that the mid-OT period clean up that happens at ALL playoff overtimes was a conspiracy against the Sharks? * facepalm*
Look enough of this "conspiracy" crap people... I'm not even kidding. Partly because suggesting that the NHL is conspiring to get certain teams advanced in the playoffs is flat out ridiculous and partly because suggesting that the NHL is conspiring to get certain teams advanced in the playoffs is giving way too much credit to Gary Bettman, Colin Campbell and the rest of the league brass, and you really don't want to give them that much credit do you?!
Phoenix - 0 / Detroit - 3 (Series Tied 2-2)
I don't want to say that this is the beginning of the end for the Coyotes, but this game was textbook Red Wings hockey for the most part. Limited the chances the Coyotes had to crash the net on Jimmy Howard, had an outstanding penalty kill, Hank Zetterberg continues to light up Bryzgalov at every turn... I think we found out two things tonight in this game: 1 - Never count out the Red Wings and 2 - Shane Doan in the lineup means more to the Coyotes than I think anyone really realized. Phoenix didn't look like the same team we saw in the first three games. The one thing that continues to baffle me and other though? How does a human live with him or her self carrying a concealed dead fish for more than two hours when you consider the time it would take to get to a game and then the fact the Wings first goal didn't come until the 15:33 mark of the second... Yuck!
New Jersey - 1 / Philladelphia - 4 (Flyers Lead Series 3-1)
This is the ugly step child series isn't it? I mean does anyone really care about it outside of Philly and Jersey fans? Chris Pronger finally took his first penalty of the playoffs - a two minute minor for cross checking - and while I don't have my multiple OT period game, Pronger taking a silly aggressive penalty does make this feel a little bit more like a proper playoff year. Meanwhile Dan Carcillo keeps scoring goals and based on his reactions when he scores them, the most surprised man in the world about that is in fact Dan Carcillo.
Chicago - 1 / Nashville - 4 (Predators Lead Series 2-1)
What has gotten into David Legwand? In 19 previous playoff games in his career before this series he had only scored 2 goals and had 4 assists. Now in three games against the Blackhawks he has almost matched those totals with a goal and four assists. That's almost as surprising as the fact that Predators games aren't total sellouts mere hours before the game. (Ok maybe not that surprising) Look Nashville, I understand it's a big rink you people have there to fill and the ones that do show up are as lively a group a fans as any in the league, but not selling out playoff games in advance doesn't look good at all. Anyway, it's not that Chicago is playing bad in this series - Niemi granted could have had a better game - but it's just Nashville is just a little bit better and hungrier so far.
Pittsburgh - 7 / Ottawa - 4 (Penguins Lead Series 3-1)
No period in hockey for the rest of these playoffs will be as crazy as the eight goal second period was in this game. and really in fifteen years when the child I don't have yet inexplicably asks me what the 2010 playoff series between the Penguins and Senators was like, I will show him a replay of the second period in game number four. Poor goaltending at both ends, tons of careless turnovers by the Sens, Pens showing that the moment they get up by any comfortable lead they completely go asleep at the wheel... It's been fun as hell to watch, but also brutal and cringe inducing from both teams at the same time.