I want to get to the recaps quickly, but first I want to briefly touch on scheduling.
If any of you watch the NBA Playoffs, you know how annoying the layoff between games is. It really didn't bug me until last season, but this year has only driven me up the wall even more. I honestly can't understand why the NBA would think a two-day layoff between games would be anything but bad, especially for the casual fans. Part of the excitement from the playoffs stems from the constant access to action. I can't keep my attention if I have to wait 48 hours for the action to resume.
And that's where the NHL has done right by their fans. This every-other-night schedule isn't just attention grabbing, it's addicting. Every other night in the first round you're guaranteed at least 3 games in one night, sometimes even five. For the hockey nuts, it's heaven. For the casual fans, it's a great way to get drawn in even more. Sure, it won't be like this as the playoffs move on, but the sheer amount of interest such a schedule attracts early in the playoffs will carry over to the next few rounds. For once, the NBA could take a hint from the NHL on this.
Anyways, that's my random thought of the night.
Onto the recaps!
Phoenix: 5 - Detroit: 2 (Series Tied 3-3)
Last season, the Red Wings faced a Game Six against the Anaheim Ducks, and got outplayed physically in every way imaginable. Not surprising, considering physicality is not Red Wing hockey. And it didn't phase the Wings, as they came back and won the series in Game Seven. Tonight was deja vu. The Coyotes played gritty along the boards and in the neutral zone, and the Wings gave little push back. Justin Abdelkader was really the only Wing that played gritty today, and he ended up getting thrown around like a ragdoll by Derek Morris and received a game misconduct for getting carried away with Keith Yandle. When you're relying on a second-year youngster to fight your physical battles for you, you're not putting up much of a fight. Wings
whiners supporters will point to last year's Anaheim series and say history can repeat itself. Well, it can't. The Ducks of 2008-09 are not like the Coyotes of '09-'10. This Phoenix team is remarkably getting scoring production from seemingly every player on their team, and Ilya Bryzgalov is getting hot at the right time. Five different Coyotes scored today. Five. You really have no idea who will score the next goal, and add in the physically intimidating game they're playing, you can't expect the Wings to just bounce back and take Game Seven easily again. Especially when the arena in Phoenix is going to be absolutely insane. If Phoenix doesn't roll to victory in Game Seven, you can expect me to be very surprised.
Vancouver: 4 - Los Angeles: 2 (Canucks Win Series 4-2)
Watch out, kids. The Canucks are just warming up. It took six games, but Vancouver's big stars have finally come out to play. Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin are working their offensive magic. Roberto Luongo was clutch tonight in a very important game (it feels weird writing that sentence.) Heck, even Alex Burrows broke through with a goal. (So what if it was an empty netter?) As much as Stars fans probably don't want to hear it, I still think the Canucks are primed to make a run to the Finals. As far as what I'm reading on Twitter, I'm in the minority, as most think the Blackhawks will run them over. First of all, that's assuming the Hawks don't blow their series lead to the Predators. Second of all, you really trust their goaltending against the Vancouver offense? And you trust their offense can best Luongo? I'm not buying it.
As for the Kings, better luck next year. They'll be dangerous again, no doubt, especially if they can find some more solid goaltending out of either Jonathan Quick or Jonathan Bernier. They've got a deep roster and will be contenders for years and years........which sucks for the Stars. Sigh.
Oh, and before I finish up for the night, here's Luongo's save from tonight that left my jaw hanging in shock: