There are some series that are just fly under the radar and I feel most of the teams that played last night fit that bill. The Oilers and Jets matchup is proving to be intriguing but even that is coming up short of McDavid excitement. That being said, last night did have some overtime excitement and a whole lot of dangerous territory for two teams in particular.
The first team to be taken to the brink of elimination was not supposed to be the Washington Capitals. The series started in favour of the Caps with a heroic effort by Craig Anderson and the expected victory of the first game at home. Then the Andy magic was gone and the Boston Bruins completely took over. There are many factors for why each team is where they are but the combination of Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy and Tukka Rask seems to be too much to handle for the usually confident Caps team. Maybe they just need Andy back in net for a beast mode miracle? Or maybe Tom Wilson doesn’t deserve to win?
The Predators needed double overtime to have a fighting chance against the Hurricanes and it was our favourite former team wrecker, Matt Duchene who split the Canes series lead. This is definitely one of the series that deserves a lot more attention and I’m glad that it will at least go to five games. The Canes are an extremely fun and poised team to watch and while the Preds have often been outplayed in this series, they are an entertaining opponent to watch. But let’s go back to that Matt Duchene OT winner, it really was a beauty.
The second OT game of the night but mind you this one didn’t end as exciting as the one above. After a hard fought game by both teams that saw both Connor Hellebuyck and Mike Smith be the shining stars, the game needed OT just for us to see a goal. The Edmonton Oilers came out roaring and had one dangerous shot after the other. A combination of bad luck and Hellebuyck heroics got in their way. The Jets struggled to get anything going to start the extra period but at the four minute mark Paul Statsny got the Jets their first OT shot on net which also ended up being the game winning goal.
A bit of a relief for Statsny who was part of the string of third penalties the Jets took that gave the Oilers a 21 second 2-man advantage. Not only were the Oilers scoreless on 3 power plays but this is the second consecutive game where Connor McDavid was shutout.
With the Oilers now in a deep hole losing both their home games, how do they respond in Jets’ territory? I really had high hopes for this series going to 7 games but the Oilers will need to start playing a bit more desperate.
Could this be the first sweep of the playoffs? The Blues are just completely hopeless against the Avs right now and the chances of them coming back in this series have just become near impossible.
The Avalanche will be without Nazem Kadri for the next 7 games after it was announced yesterday that he is suspended 8 games for his hit on Justin Faulk. The Avs seem to be doing perfectly fine without him. The Colorado Avalanche are just a greatly balanced team, they have the star players in Nathan McKinnon, the reliable forwards in Gabriel Landeskog and the supporting cast including Brandon Saad and Ryan Graves. Add to that consistent goaltending and they seem to have the perfect formula for a great playoff series. The production comes from different areas each night and they seem to be able to start off their games strong and just cruise on the intense level throughout.
Game 4: Florida Panthers @ Tampa Bay Lightning - 12:30PM EST (TBL leads series 2-1)
Game 4: Pittsburgh Penguins @ New York Islanders - 3:00PM EST (PIT leads series 2-1)
Game 2: Montreal Canadiens @ Toronto Maple Leafs - 7:00PM EST (MTL leads series 1-0)
Game 4: Las Vegas Golden Knights @ Minnesota Wild - 8:00PM EST (VGK leads series 2-1)