April 14, 2011


Although it is impossible to truly follow all of the games here are some reflections and opinions from the first night of playoff action:

1)     Ilya Bryzgalov has to be a lot better for the Coyotes to have a chance. The Red Wings looked like the superior team. Phoenix came out with a lot of jump early, but could not sustain it. Pavel Datsyuk was by far, the most dominant player in the game. Bryzgalov cannot give up 4 goals on the road and expect to win. The Coyotes lack the talent to score with the Wings and must have a lock down performance from their goalie in game 2, or this will be a short series. Johan Franzen is a playoff beast. Every year he turns up his game and it showed with a goal and assist.

2)     It is amazing how much one goal can change the outlook of a series. The Capitals beat the Rangers in overtime on a horrible giveaway up the boards by Marc Staal. Jason Arnott made a great pass, and Alex Semin buried it on a one timer. If the Caps lose this one, all of the old questions come back about playoff failure. With the win, the focus is now on how well Michal Neurvirth played in his playoff debut, and how the Caps showed the heart needed to get a late goal to tie the game. The Caps are not going to win this series easily.

3)     The OT winner in the Rangers/Caps game is just a prime example of needless plays up the boards made by defensemen. Marc Stall, who is a great player, made the common mistake that a many defensemen commit; he moved the puck up the boards to the obvious spot where the opposition would be. Panic sets in too often for defensemen stuck with a puck they feel they must move forward. If Staal just eats the puck in the corner and causes a scrum his teammates will get back into position, or they will get a faceoff.

4)     Roberto Luongo played big. It is only one game, so we should not make such a big deal about this, but he was the best player in the game. The Canucks played more physical than the Hawks and it is obvious that all of the role players the Hawks had to move out for salary cap reasons are going to be missed. Do not expect this to be a long series.

5)     Can people start to look at how good Marc-Andre Fleury is? The Penguins team is not very talented without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, yet they keep winning. Coaching and goaltending are the two reasons they have not only survived the injury problems, but they have played like an elite team. Dwayne Roloson’s numbers looked good, but he looked lost on the Aaron Asham goal.  Your goalie has to make that save, especially only 18 seconds after the goal that made it 1-0 for Pittsburgh.

6)     Pekka Rinne played awesome, Dan Ellis stunk. When your goalie gets outplayed badly, you cannot win in the playoffs.  Ellis allowed 4 goals on 24 shots, while Rinne was making spectacular saves time and time again for Nashville. If Ray Emery is healthy enough to come in relief for Ellis, can he start game two for Anaheim?

Here is the schedule for tonight’s games.
Montreal @ Boston 7:00pm EST
Buffalo @ Philadelphia  7:30pm EST
Los Angeles @ San Jose   10:00pm EST

I will be tweeting the Buffalo vs Philadelphia game and providing updates of the Montreal vs Boston game @getrealhockey.

Follow my articles and tweets @Chyz1

-Mark Chyz

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