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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Inside The NHL Playoffs

No Rangers.  No Islanders.  The NHL playoffs seem meaningless to the New York puckhead this year.

But the action on the ice has made up for the lack of hometown teams, with all the drama, upsets, hits and goals expected of playoff hockey.

Here’s a look at how the pursuit of Lord Stanley’s Cup has unfolded so far, and a glimpse of what’s to come.

Eastern Conference

Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens (WAS leads, 3-1)

The Capitals had their brooms out before the series even started.  It looked like an appetizing opening round for superstar forwards Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin, a walkover to prepare for the conference semifinal round.

But the Canadiens had other plans, and in the opening game in the nation’s capital took Washington to overtime and won.  Ovechkin didn’t even take a shot, much less get a point.  Semin was also held pointless.

But there are consequences to making (arguably) the world’s best player angry, and Ovechkin responded with a goal and three assists in game two.  Still the Caps had to work for it, edging the Habs 6-5 in OT to earn an important split in the first set in Washington.

Game three was the series as expected, as the Capitals woke up and pounded Montreal, 5-1.

Washington followed the same procedure in game four, scoring late to grab the 6-3 win.

Outlook: The Caps recovered well from the hiccup of games one and two, and will take it in five back in D.C.

New Jersey Devils vs. Philadelphia Flyers (PHI leads, 3-1)

Yet another upset in a bizzarro playoff world.  The Flyers, who snuck into the postseason courtesy of a two-game sweep of the Rangers in a de facto playoff series, have taken it to the Devils, pushing them to the brink of elimination.

Martin Brodeur, New Jersey’s puck-stopping legend, got sunburned from the red light being on in game four, as the Flyers turned up the heat on the Devils, winning 4-1.  The Devils were outplayed and will be looking to turn things around as the teams head up the turnpike to Newark for game five.

Outlook: New Jersey is a better team, and Brodeur, while past his prime, is still an elite netminder.  The Devils will take game five, but with their backs against the wall, won’t be able to win on the road.  Philly in six.

Buffalo Sabres vs. Boston Bruins (BOS leads, 3-1)

There is only one team from New York State in the NHL playoffs this season, and that team is the Buffalo Sabres.

But the Sabres are young, and have been carried all year by a brick wall between the pipes in the form of Ryan Miller (sound familiar, Team USA Olympic hockey fans?).

With scoring threat Thomas Vanek out in game three, the punchless Sabres couldn’t beat Boston’s Tuukka Rask more than once, while the Bruins managed to beat the world’s best twice to take a 2-1 series lead.

The Sabres won the fight in the third period though, and if you’re looking for bruising, classic hockey, this is the series to watch.  Division rivalries have a way of compounding themselves in the playoffs, and this series is no exception.

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