|Connelly’s Top Ten: Who Cares About the Super Bowl||Surging Celtics To Clash With Cavaliers||Orlando Magic Snaps Boston’s 5-Game Winning Streak||Connelly’s Top Ten: Dog Day of Sports!|
The red-hot Capitals (70 goals, by the way), show no signs of stopping anytime soon, especially when they’re gunning for another President’s Trophy. Though the Red Wings are making a challenge. And Boston’s doing quite well, when they’re on the road, anyway. Buffalo’s making a push to become relevant again, while St Louis is slipping. Yes, seeds have been shifting, and plenty of surprise teams are still making their moves, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Thursday, November 18, before the day’s games:
Every city is allowed one sport in which they’re good, and Detroit made its choice. Not a bad choice, with the talent the Red Wings have. At 8-1-1 at home, a President’s Trophy would really come in handy. But even if that doesn’t play out, Colorado just hasn’t performed up to Detroit’s level: good, but not great.
Both of these teams have been falling lately. Both are exceedingly brilliant at home, but lackluster on the road. Somehow, the Blues‘ defense has now allowed 47 goals. With home rink advantage, more goals, and less goals allowed, Los Angeles is in a great position to move on.
San Jose has forced their way back into the playoff hunt, and has the games in hand to move up much further. But Vancouver still hasn’t lost in regulation at home. That and their offensive prowess should be enough to let them win a lengthy series if things stay similar to their current situation.
The Blackhawks are actually a better road team, which makes this the one series where the lower seed wings in the West, if such an occurrence is to occur. And with Chicago’s high-powered offense, I could see them taking down Anaheim in seven or so.
Tampa started with so much promise. So did the Rays. Philly continues to surge forward, and is #2 in the East and the NHL. Sergei Bobvrosky will be this year’s unknown Vezina Trophy candidate for the Flyers. And at 4-5-1 in their last 10, Tampa Bay will need to get good again in a hurry if they want to beat him.
The Canadiens have been just as good in and away from the Bell Centre (or as we say in America, the Bell Center). New York has been putting most of their stock in away games, which works out well as the #6 seed. But with 36 goals allowed, Montreal’s defense is second only to Boston. The Hab nots have just been too good this year for New York to overcome.
Ever since Cooke/Savard, where nobody seems to care that Savard was literally nearly killed, this has been the Wrestlemania of the NHL. Boston already destroyed Pittsburgh 7-4 in Pittsburgh on November 10, and their only road loss was to Washington. But Boston already has two wins over the Caps. Expect this series to be a bunch of fights with just a little bit of hockey in between. Pittsburgh is obviously capable of a slugfest of goals, even against Boston’s defense. Thankfully, Boston’s improved offense and Pittsburgh’s worsened defense gives the Bruins a chance, because you can’t rely on seven goals, five unanswered, against any opponent.
Tags: Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, NHL Playoffs, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals