After the first week of the NHL playoffs, teams have played between two and three games. Some teams are in much better shape than others, and other teams need to find their mojo rather quickly otherwise they will be making tee times this time next week.
|The Canucks are playing like the overall top seed. They are the first team to win three games in the playoffs and have the defending champs on the ropes with a road victory last night.
|The Red Wings did that they were supposed to do, beat the Coyotes at home and now they will travel to the desert for game three tonight. If Jimmy Howard can continue the same play as the first two games, this should be a short series.
|The Canadiens have the Bruins right where they want them. They won the first two games in dominating fashion at home and will play in front of a loud crowd at Bell Centre. Negative Nancy’s will predict this is the game where Carey Price will come back to Earth, but I think otherwise. They have to continue to put their foot on the pedal and keep playing solid hockey.
|The Capitals were a few minutes from virtually burying the Rangers. But because the Rangers won game three, they have a ray of light. Alex Ovechkin is doing his normal thing and putting points on the scoreboard, it is the defense that needs to step their game up come Wednesday.
|They sure made Bobby Ryan and Anaheim pay the price for getting suspended as they took the series lead last night. They don’t have the big named-scorers like other playoff teams, but Pekka Renne is one of the best-and most underrated- goalies in the playoffs. He could steal a game or two, but his wall might crumble should they advance to the second round.
|They managed to surprise a lot of people with their victory in game two. They managed to chase Sergei Bobrovsky, but couldn’t score once Brian Boucher game into the game. If Boucher starts game three, could the Sabres be in trouble?
|One of the teams I thought would be 0-2 heading home was the Kings. But they proved me wrong with their victory over the Sharks in game two. Look for Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson to light the lamp more often in coming games in the series.
|It’s always tough starting a series on the road. But the Lightning did what they wanted (and needed) to do and that was win a game in Pittsburgh. We must slow down and remember this is a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2007 playing a team that has played in two finals the last three seasons. If they can protect home ice and win, this will be one of the smaller upsets in the playoffs.
|I expected them to take a 2-0 lead against LA. They got popped in the mouth as they got shutout at home. They took too many penalties and the Kings capitalized on them. They are the better team in the series, and will need to start playing like it.
|Just like San Jose, Pittsburgh played sloppy, their stars failed to show up, and has a tied series. What bolds in their favor is they scored 24 road wins this season, and possesses a 6-1 record when game three is played on the road in recent years.
|Flyers bench boss Peter Laviolette wasn’t tipping his hand on a starting goalie for game three. He yanked rookie Bobrovsky seven minutes into game two when he allowed three soft goals. Will he stick with what helped get the team into the big dance, or will he start the more experienced Boucher?UPDATE AT 5:00- Boucher will get the start in net.
|The Rangers are breathing a little better after defeating the Capitals in game three. Game 4 will make or break the series. They have to continue to crash the net and make it difficult for Michal Neivirth to see and stop the puck.
|The Coyotes head into tonight’s game versus the Red Wings with a little bit of confidence after battling back from a four-goal deficit to lose game two by one. But momentum doesn’t shift from the end of one game to the other. If they fail to score early and multiple times, they could be making tee times with the Washington Generals and not the playing hockey this time next week.
|Bobby Ryan’s suspension for game three played a role in the Ducks simply not showing up to play Sunday afternoon. The Predators won battles to loose pucks, and Anaheim should feel lucky the score was only 4-3. Game four is Wednesday night.
|As the first team to lose three games this playoff season, can’t really say much about them. It’s tough repeating as Stanley Cup champs, and with the overhaul they went through last summer, they really miss the big body and traffic management skills of Dustin Byfuglien in this series.
|A lot of people (but not me) had the Bruins in their playoff brackets making a deep playoff run. Every cliche can be used to describe their predicament (insert behind the 8 ball, backs up against the wall, in quite the situation) against Montreal. They should get Zdeno Chara back for game three tonight, and I think they must have luck go in their favor if they want to come home for game five.