Let’s Play Seven

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are in full swing and the next two games feature three great game sevens. That’s right. Three of the four conference semifinals have gone the distance and that is what makes hockey so great. They should all be great, hard fought games and the most-anticipated game is tonight when the Pittsburgh Penguins head back to Washington to face the Capitals.

This one has the making of one of the greatest games in NHL history. This series has been nothing short of phenomenal. I wrote a post a week ago or so saying that for this series to reach its potential, Evgeni Malkin needed to step up and push the Penguins to a game seven. He did more than that as Pittsburgh actually one three straight games and took a 3-2 lead in the series before falling at home in overtime. Now they have to head back to Washington where the crowd will be loud and ready to propel the Caps to victory.

I expect big games from Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. This is the biggest game of the year so far and this is when stars come out. I’m not sure they can repeat their matching hat tricks from game two, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see each have multi-goal games as beneath winning the series, there is a competition for the best player in hockey. Don’t forgot Malkin either. He’s fighting for best-player-in-the-league honors as well and he could easily swing the game for the Pens. Continue reading “Let’s Play Seven”

Capitals vs. Penguins Can Get Better

APTOPIX Penguins Capitals HockeyWhat’s better than Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby  facing off in a playoff series? How about both of them scoring hat tricks in the same game?

Yes, that happened last night and it really is an extraordinary event. Hat tricks aren’t that uncommon. They occur maybe a couple times a month in the regular season and every once in a while in the post-season. But two in the same game by arguably the two best players in hockey? That is something special.

The Capitals took the game 4-3 and lead the series 2-0, but now Washington most leave their home town and head out to Pittsburgh, where the Penguins’ fans will surely be ready. If this series heads back to the capital tied at two games a piece, get ready to start talking about the greatest series ever.

For that to happen though, Evgeni Malkin must step up. Crosby and him are the soul of this team. Without one, the Pens don’t stand a chance against the Capitals. Malkin must make his presence known, both physically and on the scoreboard. The other two stars in this series have four goals each. Malkin? Zero.

Hockey fans are so excited for this series, because of what it can become. A heavy-weight showdown between the league’s best. But that isn’t guaranteed to happen. The Capitals could easily enter Pittsburgh, win a game, and head home and lock the series up. That would be such a disappointing end to a series with such possibilities. Continue reading “Capitals vs. Penguins Can Get Better”

Remember the NHL?

Remember that game with ice and pucks? With power plays and goals? Yes that game. The NHL season actually began over a month and a half ago, but how many people actually know that. ESPN pays no attention to the dying sport. The NHL’s decision to use Versus to broadcast national games was terrible. Few people know what channel Versus is and those that do hate the station. Had the NHL chosen ESPN over Versus, the sport would have gained much more publicity and increased its fan base. Though its fan base is small, I consider myself one of the lucky ones who watch the sport. The games have been exciting this year with young players such as Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin taking over the sport. Let’s take a look at the beginning of the season:

1. Best Team

This choice was pretty simple, but it was not 100% clear either. The Ottawa Senators started the year on a roll, winning fifteen of their first 17 games. All of a sudden, they lost seven in a row, came back to earth, but they have won their last five in a row. The Detroit Red Wings, on the other hand, have played consistently excellent hockey all year giving them a league-leading 49 points. With Ottawa being too inconsistent and having only 45 points, the Red Wings have been the best team so far this season. Left Winger Henrik Zetterberg is having a great season, second in the league in both points and goals (43 and 23 respectively). Goalie Chris Osgood has been phenomenal, leading the league with a 1.76 GAA. Of the 20 players who have played at least 20 games for the Red Wings this season, only two have a negative +/-. The most telling statistic may be average goal differential in which the Red Wings average margin of victory is 1.22 goals per game. The second-place Ottawa Senators average margin of victory is .97 goals per game, a quarter goal less than Detroit. Continue reading “Remember the NHL?”