Thrillers in sports live long in the memory, but when it comes to NHL Playoffs, things get even mind-blowing! This week in the Playoffs was something to behold. The St. Louis Blues won their first game of the NHL restart and the Washington Capitals pushed the New York Islanders to the brink of elimination in a historic game with three overtime games.
This week continues to promise plenty. Given the Blues win, no teams faced elimination on Monday, but that doesn’t mean that the games are any less important or pressure-sensitive. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are ice hot and especially now anything can happen! Let’s take a look at the best games for the week.
The Tampa Bay Lightning (No. 2) face the Columbus Blue Jackets (No. 9). Right now, the Lightning is leading the series 3-1. This five-game qualification series is already taking a toll on the players, especially the Blue Jackets. Coach John Tortorella has acknowledged the tremendous spirit his players have displayed, and he still feels that his team can make a comeback to win the series, against all odds. His cancelation of practice on Sunday brought his players back with a clear head and they toughed out a 1-2 loss to a strong Lightning side including fearsome defenceman Victor Hedman.
Meanwhile in the Central Division, the Colorado Avalanche (No. 2) face the Arizona Coyotes (No. 11) in a series already looking like an Avalanche win, so far 3-1. After incredible performances from Darcy Kuemper, with a historic tally of 49 saves so far, the Coyotes are clinging on in the series. Kuemper has been one of the best goalies for the last couple of seasons, and he keeps proving his worth to his team and fans. His coach, Rick Tocchet, claims if the player continues to display such a high level of performance, he is very likely to win a Vezina. And who are we to argue? Even Kuemper couldn’t hold off the Avalanche attack in the last game, though, with the Avs running out 7-1 victors.
Another tough series to watch out for is Boston Bruins (No. 4) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (No. 6). So far, Boston has secured a decent lead of 3-1, but the series is still open to any team. Today, the focus is on Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask who is said to be leaving the postseason. The Hurricanes face an uphill task with star player Andrei Svechnikov set to miss the next game in the series thanks to an awful injury caused by a tumble to the ice in a battle with Zdeno Chara. We are waiting for official confirmation on his future but he was officially ruled out for game 4 in the first round series.
Last but not least, you need to watch out for the series between St Louis Blues (No. 4) and Vancouver Canucks (No. 7). As of now, the series is tied 2-2 and looks to be going right to the wire. All eyes are focused on Blues’ coach Craig Berube who has been criticized for his choices during the first three games. Reinstating Jake Allen in goal will have fans back on his side, though, with the goalie pulling off a series of fine stops to block out the Canucks forward line.