Last Night’s Game:
Who would have thought that the well rested and seemingly more well rounded Jets would struggle against the Habs in their first game of the series? Well, the Habs seem to still be riding the high from upsetting the Toronto Maple Leafs and who can blame them? Their boy wonder Jesperi Kotkaniemi opened the scoring closely followed by their veteran acquisition Eric Staal to make it 2-0 early in the first. While the Jets did manage to cut the lead in half on a pretty shorthanded goal, it seemed they never got to the right level of compete to really win this game.
To make matters worse, their discipline was questionable at best and the Habs managed to really get under their skin. Unfortunately, the Habs’ win came with a hefty price. After scoring the empty netter, Jake Evans was the victim of a vicious and completely unnecessary hit to the head by Mark Scheifele. Evans didn’t move for quite some while and needed to be stretchered off the ice. Scheifele is facing a hearing today but I really don’t trust the league to make the right decision on this. Not only did Scheifele carelessly injure another player, he put his team in jeopardy of losing this series because common sense would say he will be suspended for quite some time.
Now this series is exactly what playoff hockey is all about. High skill, high energy and a whole lot of controversy. The game started with the Avs dictating the play and seemingly picking off where they left off in Game 1. However, the Knights aren’t a team to roll over two games in a row and once that second period started, they came back roaring. The rest of the game just kept getting better with a quick pace and endless chances on both ends. Everyone from the goalies to the forwards was just playing exceptionally well. The officiating however ruined part of the game. As the game got more intense, the refs decided to put their whistles away, specifically when the aggression came from the Knights’ players. I mean in what world is this not a penalty?
Then there was a few missed ones until the refs decided to call the weakest tripping call against Devon Toews with less than 4 minutes left in play. It was absolutely enraging but luckily the Avalanche were able to kill it and take the game to overtime. From an unbiased view, the Knights should have won this in regulation if it weren’t for the 4-5 posts they hit but they also did benefit for a lot of missed calls so I’m going to say karma got the best of them. Overtime was supposed to be the fun part but the officials decided to call another weak penalty a minute into the extra period and the Avalanche were able to capitalize and take the 2-0 series lead. Now, while I am very happy with the way the game ended, officials should not have that much of an impact on the game. When you’ve spent the majority of the game not calling anything, you do not call two weak penalties in crucial moments. It will be interesting to see if the Knights bounce back at home or if the Avs take this game as a lucky wake up call to play better.