Wednesday night in the NHL playoffs had everything, with the first Game 7 tripleheader since 2003:
- In the dullest game of the night, the Rangers survived the Flyers 2-1, with ex-Flyer Daniel Carcillo scoring a key goal and Philadelphia only having a chance thanks to Steve Mason keeping them in it in the second period.
- In a civil war for Islanders fans, Matt Moulson's Wild beat P.A. Parenteau's Avalanche in OT after ex-Isles draft pick Jared Spurgeon scored the tying goal late in the third, and Nino Niederreiter scored his second of the game for the winner. Both of NIederreiter's goals and Spurgeon's (assisted by Nino) picked top corners on Semyon Varlamov. Erik Johnson, whose own late goal almost held up as the winner, pinched and was puzzlingly nonchalant to get back to defend Nino's OT goal.
- It's the second time in a row that the Wild have punked Patrick Roy in a Game 7. So for the moment, $200M in UFA spending > Dedicatd Tanking. For the moment.
- If all those ex-Isles burned you, that's nothing compared to the burn felt in San Jose where the Sharks lost Game 7 at home 5-1 (including a couple of late empty netters) to become just the fourth team to lose a seven-game series after leading 3-0.
And that was just Round 1.
Tonight the second round begins with the Canadiens in Boston. Other series to follow (full schedules here) include the freeway battle between Los Angeles and Anaheim, the Rangers and Penguins in the
Patrick Metro final, and the sacrificial Wild revisiting an old Norris matchup with Chicago.
On to the readings...
- Remember all those articles writing eulogies for this Kings group? Maybe, just possibly, we should all stop reading grand truths into three-game samples. Seriously, even when it's bashing the Rangers.
- On that note, is parity a reason we've seen two 0-3 comebacks completed (and almost a third) in the last few seasons? [Sportsnet]
- Isles: Anders Nilsson told a Swedish outlet that he and his development have had enough of the AHL, thanks. [IPB]
- Completely random Isles: The lawyer who was Matt Mangene's agent is in trouble for, uh, laundering a client's drug money. [Press Herald]
- Tortorella out? "on the same day their former coach, Alain Vigneault, punched his ticket to the second round of the postseason with his new club, the New York Rangers, word breaks that the Canucks will be firing the guy they replaced him with." [Puck Daddy]
- Trevor Linden talks about a lot of things that aren't John Tortorella. [Sportsnet]
- What value does Sam Gagner have in Edmonton? Not much as a center. [Oilers Nation]
- The Royal Half collected votes from a bunch of blogs (two per team) for the NHL awards. I voted. Results are here. It's all corrupt though since none of us could vote for the Mark Messier Dirty Leader Award.
- How teams like the Habs handle long between-series layoffs. [TheScore]
- Coaches discuss early goalie pulls. [NHL]
- The Jets face that familiar problem of not tanking hard enough. [Arctic Ice Hockey]
We'll begin second round polls later today, along with results on how you all did predicting first-round outcomes.