I will keep this as quick and as informative as I can. Only 2 games left tonight in the 1st round. At 4:00pm (PST) we have the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins dropping the puck for a Game 7. I don't think people wouldn't have even been able to predict. this. It is certainly a Game 7 I am going to watch.
What you need to know about this series: The Toronto Maple Leafs are playing their 1st playoff round in 10 years and the Big Bad Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011 in a Game 7 vs the Vancouver Canucks. It seemed like such a clear path, I don't think anyone was expecting Toronto to push this series to a Game 7. The Bruins could have sealed the deal in Game 5 and again in Game 6 and eliminate the Leafs but nooo the Leafs have pushed it to Game 7! Amazing! It has a lot to do with Toronto's #1 netminder James Reimer and super star forward Phil Kessel finding the back of the net for the Leafs! All I can say is "GO LEAFS GO" I am rooting for the Leafs for multiple reasons. 1) I love cheering for an underdog, 2) Love their head coach Randy Carlyle (I interviewed Carlyle last year in Anaheim, check it out below) 3) Many many Canadian hockey fans want the Canadian teams to stay in the race and bring the Cup back to Canada 4) What is not to like about the Leafs?
The 2nd games tonight is a Game 7 between the Washington Capitals and the New York Rangers! This happened last year and the Rangers eliminated the Capitals in 7 games to move onto the Eastern Conference Finals. This game has all the elements of a playoff rivalry. Washington had the chance to close the door on New York but with the lone goal of the game being scored by Ranger Derick Brassard the teams both boarded planes to the country's capital for a Game 7! Who knows, maybe Obama will show support along with the home town crowd!
With two series Game 7s left tonight and Detroit sealing the deal last night it means 5 other series have already ended, quick recap:
The San Jose Sharks got their payback for being eliminated by the Canucks in the 3rd round in 2011 in 5 games. The Sharks came back this year and swept the Canucks in the 1st round, making the Canucks the 1st eliminated team of 2013. The Sharks got over a weeks rest while in Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis has declared a "reset" of the entire organization. Personally I am sad my beloved Canucks are out but maybe this sweep will start a fire under the team for next season!
The "Elimination Club" grew to 3 members with Game 5 wins by the Chicago Blackhawks and the Ottawa Senators two nights later. The Minnesota Wild put up a good fight against the Presidents Trophy winning Chicago Blackhawks and the Montreal Canadians just couldn't find a way to score on Ottawa netminder Craig Anderson with 6-1 finals for their last 2 games.
The St Louis Blues were the 4th team to join the "Elimination Club" making 4 out of the 8 series over! Beat in 6 games by last year's Stanley Cup champs the Los Angeles Kings, St.Louis made it to 6 game this year as compared to the sweep they experienced last year by the Kings.
With only one game played on Saturday it had to be good. It was a Game 6 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Islanders. It was an elimination game for the Islanders. It was back and forth scoring, Islanders, Pens, Islanders, Pens, Islanders and finally the Pens forced OT. It was a overtime goal by Penguin Brooks Orpik that clinched a spot in round 2 for the Penguins. I know a lot of hockey fans were turning to Pens Captain Sid the Kid to score the game winner but interesting fact? Sid the Kid is part an elusive group of hockey greats including Gordie Howe, Mario Lemieux and Mark Messier to never score an OT game winning goal in the playoffs! How weird it that? With Orpik's goal the Islanders become the 5th team to join the "Elimination Club" now totaling 5.
The 1st game 7 of the season was between the Anaheim Duck and the Detroit Red Wings. With the Ducks Game 5 win they could have shut the door on the Wings in game 6 but it didn't happen that way. Wings Captain Henrik Zetterberg scored the GWG early in the OT to force game 7 and then the Wings won in Game 7 sending the Anaheim Ducks to the "Elimination Club" now getting cozy with 6 teams.
Two more teams will join the "Elimination Club" tonight. Game 7s between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers plus the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins. Game 7s in the playoffs are insane. It is back to square one, all bets are off and to say the least players ref themselves.
Toronto and Boston's puck drop is 4:00pm PST
and Washington and New York's puck drops at 5:00pm PST
No time for rest because round 2 starts Tuesday! The Los Angeles Kings host the San Jose Sharks at 7:00pm PST, while the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Ottawa Senators at 7:30pm PST.
The other match up in the west is between the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings puck dropping on Wednesday at 7:00pm PST. The mystery continues for the other match up in the east. Whoever wins the Game 7s tonight will continue on through to play in Round 2!