Thursday, April 28, 2016

Slaying The Dragons

Did you hear? The San Jose Sharks Are Finally True Contenders? The St. Louis Blues finally won a playoff series? The Nashville Predators finally slayed the Dragons...uh, Ducks?
Nothing to see here, folks

Yes, the San Jose Sharks defeated the team (the LA Kings) that beat them in 2013 and 2014. They've avenged the blowing of a 3-0 lead in games in that infamous 2014 first round series. They must be going all the way after defeating a two-time Cup winner after so many playoff frustrations.

So, the 11th-overall Sharks with the .910 save percentage of Martin Jones is our next Cup winner?

It's only one round. The Sharks beat a team, although rated by many as maybe good enough to get back to the Final, actually MISSED THE PLAYOFFS last season. This is also a Kings' team that blew a huge lead in their own division creating this bad matchup vs. the Sharks. Also, it's an LA team without no-longer-here Slava Voynov or injured early Alec Martinez meaning Drew "I finally got a lone point in the series" Doughty had to play an insane average of 30:53 a game (a full five minutes per game over the next guy, Jake Muzzin, on the LA D) and, wow, it really didn't work out for the Kings. That's a shocker, huh!

Yes, it was such true fan pain for the Sharks to not beat a team two series in a row after beating the Kings way back in 2011. Nothing like the Boston Bruins losing 18 (yes, Ed Westfall, you read that right) series in a row to the Montreal Canadiens. But what do I know being a lapsed B's fan? I curse you still, Mike McPhee!

 Hey, is this an Islanders' broadcast?

Also, this notion that the Sharks are somehow playoff failures is based on what exactly? Since the team actually got good in 2001/02 (finishing 5th overall) the Sharks have played in 22 playoff series and thrice (thrice, I say!) made the Conference Finals. Other than when the Detroit Red Wings were in the West, no other team has played more series out West than the Sharks over this time period.

You don't think most fans would take that? Sure, it's frustrating not to make a Final or win a Cup but the Sharks in those 11 playoff seasons from '02 to now the San Hosers only went out in rd. 1 three times. It's not like they don't give their fans something to cheer for.

Beats being a Nashville Predators' fan and seeing your team lose six out of eight times in the first round over the same time period. Luckily, this season is different...or the same as 2011 and 2012, if the Preds lose to the aforementioned Sharks.

Yes, the team which played its first Game 7 in history has been in the rare air of the second rd. before so again let me wait on Pekka Rinne's scintillating .915 save percentage vs. the Ducks in rd. 1 being a sign that all their dragons were slain.

Finally, the woe begotten St. Louis Blues. Now they do have a legit reason to celebrate as the team has lost three seasons in a row in the first round. The Blues have only won two playoff rounds since 2002 prior to beating the DEFENDING STANLEY CUP CHAMPION Chicago Blackhawks.

What an accomplishment! That's never been done in round one be-....Oh, wait, there was the 2012 Bruins losing to the Washington Capitals, the 2011 cap-stripped Hawks (what? no way!) losing to the Vancouver Canucks...the 2008 Ducks losing to the Dallas Stars, the 2004 New Jersey Devils losing to the Philadelphia Flyers...and technically, although there was a lockout in between, the 2006 Tampa Bay Lightning losing to the Ottawa Senators.

Now usually, the defending Cup champs that do flop badly have had a poor followup season such as when Tampa went from 2nd to 16th overall or Chicago in '11 dropping from 3rd to 13th. The '16 Hawks actually went from 7th in 2015 to 5th. So that really was quite the accomplishment by the Blues and it's not like the Hawks played poorly at all. Six of the seven games were one-goal games including two overtime ones. The goals all tolled were Hawks 20-St. Loo 19.

The shots, though, overwhelming favored the Hawks 256 to 205 so...let's just say Brian Elliott, because he hasn't done all that well in the playoffs up till now so he gets overlooked in the whole Henrik Lundqvist meets Jonathan Quick to this year's Braden Holtby discussion, basically stole this series despite turning back into his old self in Games 5 and 6 of this series. Elliott was outstanding in Games 3 and 4 in Chicago to help the Blues go up 3-1 which was most likely key to winning in seven--the Hawks ran out of gas climbing back into the series and Brent Seabrook hit both posts on one shot. I guess Keith awoke the Kraken...uh, Backes.

Anyway, three teams out West apparently slayed their dragons and one at least will be in the Conference Finals so let the media hype begin.

Just wake me when St. Louis or San Jose actually make the Final. Then we'll see what exactly is what with both of these teams. Smashville, on the other hand, it's all gravy really if the Preds can get past the Sharkies.

Watch over us, Frank

However it turns out, we have a slew of interesting teams finally in the last eight. All of which would make worthy champions. So enough with the two days off between every game in the first four you're playing 'Ning and Islanders and let's get the second rd. rolling. 

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