Friday, April 18, 2014
There were three games on Wednesday. In the first game of the postseason the Tampa Bay Lightning and Montreal Canadiens traded goals for three periods, including a nutty coast-to-coast job by Steven Stamkos, before the unheralded Dale Weise beat Lightning goalie Anders Lindback for a game-winner in overtime. At nearly the same time the Pittsburgh Penguins found them down 3-1 to the underdog Columbus Blue Jackets, in the playoffs for just the second time in their history, and then rallied with three goals to win the series opener 4-3. In the late game, which I actually did watch most of, the Anaheim Ducks jumped out to a 4-0 lead against the Dallas Stars and appeared set to coast to an easy win until the Stars scored three times to make them sweat it out.
One day of playoff hockey, three one-goal games. Total snoozers.
Surely last night had to be more exciting than that. Well, at least have. We got a taught 1-1 game between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers that hung on the knife-edge until New York broke out with three goals in the third period to put its hated division rival in a 1-0 series hole. Meanwhilst, in St. Louis the Blues and Chicago Blackhawks dropped the puck on Game 1 of their series. All that happened was three goals in the first period, a late goal to force overtime, a desperate save by Blues forward Maxim Lapierre in the first extra period and Alex Steen netting the winner in the first triple-overtime game in franchise history. This after Chicago had numerous chances stoned by Blues goalie Ryan Miller and St. Louis killed off multiple power-play opportunities.
At the same time all this was going on, the San Jose Sharks were coasting to a blowout-win over their division rivals from Los Angeles with a five-goal lead in the third before the Kings scored three times in the final period to make it interesting. Meanwhile, in Denver the Colorado Avalanche were playing their first playoff game in four years when they hosted the Minnesota Wild for Game 1 of their series. It seemed like a rude welcoming for a bit. The Avs looked dead in the water as they trailed by two goals in the third period.
Jamie McGinn made it a one-goal game when he scored mid-way through the period, but Colorado was still sleepwalking until Erik Johnson raced against the puck to prevent an empty-netter that would have sealed a victory for the Wild. Lucky thing since that probably would have made Paul Stastny's game-tying goal with 13.4 seconds left totally meaningless otherwise. And what did Stastny do with that new life? He scored the game-winner in overtime to complete a rally down from two-goals in the final period.
So what did we learn about hockey last night, beyond the fact that the Avalanche's announcers are awful? Well, all we got on Day 2 of the Stanley Cup Final was three games tied in the third, four total overtime periods, two late comebacks and two game-saving stops by non-goalies.
So yeah. Pretty dull. Maybe the three games tonight will actually be worth watching. It'd be a nice change of pace.