I trust you fine readers of our blog make sure to surf many of the other great SBNation hockey blogs (and really all of SBNation's sports blogs) and if not shame on you for you are really missing some quality writing (of course I am biased...)
One of the biggest "must reads" on the net work right now is Dominik of "Lighthouse Hockey" translating the words of Gary Bettman and really outlining what a master PR guy he is. I echo Dominik's sentiments when it comes to Gary... I don't "hate" on Gary like so many other fans do because in reality he is the figurehead for 30 other bosses who overall have more say in the game than he does. Anyway, I promise you that Dom's feature is well worth your time in reading and as soon as you read these recaps you should check his work out next!
Us non-playoff team bloggers need to stick together of course...
Philadelphia: 3 - New Jersey: 0 (Flyers Win Series 4-1)
A little over a week ago, the Flyers were a shootout away from being completely eliminated from the playoffs - now they have moved on to the second round of the playoffs by beating the New Jersey Devils at their own game or at least what used to be their own game. Now that I think about it though, did the Devils even know what kind of game they wanted to play any more? Were they an offensive team now? They outshot the Flyers in four of the five games of the series but just had no answer for Brian Boucher. They were ok defensively, but far from the halcyon days of the late 90's and early 00's when all they cared about was winning games 1-0. Martin Broduer is no longer the goalie that can win those games... Ilya Kovalchuk who was brought in specifically to light up opposing goalies did very little of that and looked every part an ill-fitting rental player for the Devs. Jersey hasn't won a playoff series since moving to their shiny new rink... Maybe the Medowlands wasn't so bad after all?
Chicago: 3 - Nashville: 0 (Series Tied 2-2)
The story for the Blackhawks was that the names they needed to step up did. Patrick Shark with two goals, Jonathan Towes with a goal and an assist, Kane and Hossa also factored into the scoresheet while Antti Miemi rebounded from a tough game three and made 33 saves for the shutout. You have to like the Hawks in a best of three series against the Preds with home ice. Meanwhile for Nashville it was a forgettable night which isn't good when you have your backup goalie tweet-begging Nashville fans to sell out the rink. Nothing like asking the fans to come out and then not really coming out yourselves as players.
Ottawa: 4 - Pittsburgh: 3 (3 OT) (Penguins Lead Series 3-2)
Amazing. Simply an amazing game and thank goodness because before tonight it was looking like all the eastern conference series were going to go no more than five games. This exactly what I was personally looking for when I was begging for my long overtime game. Back and forth action that was maybe controlled by the Penguins a little more than the Senators, but it was Pascal LeClaire that was the man of the match making 56 saves. The defense in front of him blocked 46 shots in the game as well compared to 17 by the Pens. They simply wanted it just a little bit more. Now that the Sens have found a little stability in goal do they have a chance to steal this series? Still a long way to go but I'll make a bold prediction right here: This series will go seven games.
Colorado: 0 - San Jose: 5 (Sharks Lead Series 3-2)
Poor Colorado, it looks like the Anderson magic has been all used up doesn't it? I know many of you were really hoping for an upset here, but there was no way the Avalanche were going to win playing the way they did in the first two games. For their part, San Jose looked exactly like the team I thought we would have seen from them right from the star. They played confident, Nabokov was constantly square to the shooters, if there were any rebounds the defense made sure they were cleared away quickly. About the only negative for the Sharks is the fact Joe Thornton continues to be M.I.A... But then again when you have Joe Pavelski playing like he is, maybe it's not that much of a concern...