As the Stanley Cup Playoffs progress, we are going to see several trends and stories play out in each series. In “What We Learned” we will take a look at the previous night’s games and discuss how each game affects the overall series.
- During the first period we saw the Ryan Miller that lost his last five starts of the regular season. The St. Louis Blues goaltender looked out of sorts and surrendered three goals. Miller was able to turn things around after the first and was one of the main reason the St. Louis Blues were able to win the game. The biggest save of the night did not belong to Miller, but Max Lapierre. During the closing minute of the first OT, Lapierre was shoved into the crease by Brandon Saad and found himself in perfect position to stop a Kris Versteeg shot that looked to be on its way past Miller.
- So far in the first round we have seen several close games. Last night we got our first blowout with the San Jose Sharks scoring five unanswered goals in the first two periods against the Los Angeles Kings. The Sharks let up a bit in the third allowing the Kings to chip away at the lead with three unanswered goals of their own, before a Brent Burns empty netter sealed the 6-3 win. The Sharks dominated the first game, but they should not expect the Kings to roll over the rest of the series. The third period proved that the Sharks cannot be sure of any lead in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Los Angeles Kings will need to ride the momentum of the third period into Game 2 and avoid the slow start that doomed them last night.
- The New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers series is expected to be a close one and the first two periods of last night’s game seemed to confirm that. The Rangers power play unit made the difference, scoring twice in a 47-second span on a high sticking double minor issued to Jason Akeson. The Flyers are going to need to contain the emotions and get some production out of the top line if they are to bounce back in Game 2.
- Despite winning the game in come from behind fashion, the Colorado Avalanche went 0-4 on the power play. The Minnesota Wild on the other hand, cycled the puck beautifully and went 1-2 on the man advantage. Minnesota, like San Jose, learned that no lead is safe in the playoffs. However, I was impressed by Minnesota’s puck possession and how they cycled the puck in the offensive zone.