Deja Vu for the Devils

Hello again and happy Monday. What an amazing week it was in the world of sports. There is Baxter’s clutch catch to save Santana’s no hitter, a first for both Santana and the New York Mets’ ball club. Then there was the NBA Conference Finals where OKC came back from a 2-0 disadvantage against the Spurs to tie the series and Boston doing the same against Miami. As if this wasn’t enough for one week, Mexico defeated Brazil 2-0 with an amazing chip-shot off the right post and a well deserved penalty kick. We even got to see some vintage Tiger in the Memorial Tournament with his version of the chip-shot that sent him to the top of the leader boards. I could stop here and be completely satisfied with how my weekend of pure sports bliss went, really I could, but there is more.

The Los Angeles Kings are at it again. To recap, the Kings entered the Playoffs as the 8th seed, the last seed. The highly underestimated, as we now know, Kings have only lost two of their 16 playoff games. The first came in round one against the number one seeded Canucks and the second came from Phoenix in round three. Other than that, it’s been nothing but wins. Continuing this winning theme  in the Stanley Cup Finals, the Kings have taken a 2-0 lead, with both of the W’s coming in overtime at the New Jersey Devils’ home rink. I would hate to speak too soon, but with the next two games at home for the Kings in L.A., we could possibly see a Stanley Cup sweep.

Now, the play that topped this spectacular seven days of sports heaven. Almost identical to their win in game one, the Kings scored in overtime again to win game two. Twelve minutes into OT, after a very brief attack by the Devils, the Kings sent the puck up to Drew Doughty at center ice. Doughty makes a game changing back hand pass to a wide open Anze Kopitar, who only has the goalie to beat. Kopitar flies down the ice and in one sweet, swift motion finds the back of the net for the win and deja vu for the Devils.

Your one and only TicketCity Play of the Week! Enjoy.

Fantasy Drafts Come To The NHL All-Star Game

It’s amazing to me that out of the four major sports leagues in America, the NHL is the most inventive in terms of marketing and changing the game. They’ll change things up on a whim, like rules or this year’s All-Star game, which takes a page out of our past and current fascinations. Two as-yet-unnamed captains (we’ll let you guess who the obvious choices are) will choose from a roster of 40 players that were either voted in by fans or chosen by the league. While it’s easy to equate this to our nation’s fascination with fantasy-sports leagues, I’d like to equate it to our playground past, which with the popular Winter Classic played outdoors, might be how the NHL is trying to angle it, too. With the strong roster released yesterday, it seems like another, to use a somewhat improper phrase, slam dunk for the NHL in terms of its marketing.

Round 2 Begins of Stanley Cup Playoffs

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:

Eastern Conference

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. 

Western Conference

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.