We are through the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and it has already been a exciting one. Both of my favorite teams, the Dallas Stars and Pittsburgh Penguins, have advanced to round 2.
I was able to go to game 6 of the Dallas Stars series against last years champs, the Anaheim Ducks. It was an absolutely great experience that I will never forget. I had great seats behind the goal where Marty Turco was in the 1st and 3rd periods. Turco was amazing throughout this series. I was also extremely impressed with the play of young D-man Mark Fistric. He played in only half of the games in the series, replacing the injured Philippe Boucher, and he did a fantastic job. I see him becoming a great player in the next few years.
Another defenseman who doesn’t get as much respect as he should was the hero of game 6, Stephane Robidas. Robidas scored the first Dallas goal of game 6 and had the assist on the game winner. He had to play game 6 with a face cage on since he broke his nose in game 5 when he took a fast puck to the face. A broken nose is nothing new for Robidas since it has happened to him countless times.
Now the Stars will face another division rival in round 2, the San Jose Sharks. This should be a interesting series. In the regular season the series between these two teams was even and in the last game of the season the Stars beat the Shark 4-2. There was a total of 160 penalty minutes in that game. I expect this to be a hard hitting series.
For the rest of the league:
Montreal Canadiens vs Philadelphia Flyers: In the regular season the Canadiens dominated the Flyers, but don’t count the Flyers out. The Flyer’s Daniel Briere leads the league in goals and points so far in the playoffs. While the Canadiens rookie goalie Carey Price has been doing wonderfully, the Boston Bruins proved in game 5 that if you can get Price on a tilt you can do some damage.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs New York Rangers: This series will be a close one and I am betting it will go to a game 7 decision. The Rangers in the regular season had a record of 5-3-0 over the Penguins. It will come down to which team’s top players perform better. For the Penguins, Crosby and Malkin need be on top of their game. For the Rangers, Jaromir Jagr will need to do what he does best and Scott Gomez needs play with the same intensity he played with against his former team the New Jersey Devils in round 1.
DetroitRed Wings vs Colorado Avalanche: The Red Wings won all four reagular season games against the Avalanche. So the Red Wings looks to keep that ball rolling and make short work of the Avalanche. The Avalanche have become a different team since the trade deadline though. With the adding of Peter Forsberg back on the Avalanche bench. Also, Jose Theodore’s goaltending is looking more like he did in his prime when he was with the Canadiens.
San Jose Sharks vs Dallas: This looks to be a series that could go either way. For the San Jose to win Evgeni Nabokov will have to be better than he has been so far in the playoffs this year. Nabokobv is the front runner for the Vezina Trophy but with a save percentage of .895 in the playoffs he will need to step it up. Dallas rookie defensemen will need to continue to be there and keep the Stars in it and not make the job of defense fall completely on Marty Turco.
The second round looks to be a good one, so get your tickets from TicketCity for all your Stanley Cup Playoff needs.