Thursday, April 14, 2011

Odds and Ends, Playoff Edition: Night 1

(Ed. Note: I'm going to try to make this a regular thing throughout the playoffs.  At least for the first round. Oh, who am I kidding... I'll be lucky to make it through the week.)

Random thoughts from Night One of the 2011 NHL Playoffs:

- What a save Nashville's Pekka Rinne made on Teemu Selanne.  You may have heard of Selanne - he's scored over 600 career goals, so he's kind of good.  Selanne received a cross-crease pass that left Rinne badly out of position, forcing him to slide across the paint and throw his right pad out.  Unbelievable stuff.  I have watched this about 20 times and I still can't believe what I'm seeing.

- I said yesterday (or, at the very least, insinuated) that the Ducks' goaltending was the weakest of the playoff teams.  Anyone surprised, then, that Dan Ellis got the hook against Nashville?  Yeah, me either.  Anaheim needs better goaltending if Rinne continues to stifle the Ducks' high-powered offense.

- Couldn't help but get that "here we go again" feeling with the Caps last night when Matt Gilroy made it 1-0 Rangers early in the third period.  Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin don't want to hear that noise, though.  Give them credit for doing what they failed to do last year vs. Montreal - show up and score when it counts.

- Interesting piece by Steven Ovadia of Puck Update on John Tortorella's strategy last night, claiming in essence that Torts wanted to keep the game scoreless for as long as possible to lull the Caps to sleep.  I only got to see OT, so I have no idea if Ovadia is correct.  But if he is, kudos to Tortorella for what I think is a brilliant (if boring) bit of strategy.

- Marc-Andre Fleury is doing his best to prove me wrong when I say he's the most overrated goaltender in the NHL, but we'll see exactly how long he can shut down Tampa's stars.

- Noticed that Kyle Turris opened the scoring for Phoenix last night, which prompted me to remember when it was assumed either he or Patrick Kane would be drafted #1 overall in 2007.  Boy, the Blackhawks sure made the right call there, didn't they?  I was surprised to see that Turris even played with the Coyotes this year.  He spent all of last year in the minors and it seemed to me like the 'Yotes might have given up on him.  Good for him.

- I didn't stay up to watch the conclusions of Chicago/Vancouver and Nashville/Anaheim.  I'm really disappointed about that, but I've been so tired lately that staying awake late is a chore.  This better not be a trend because late-night hockey is one of my favorite things about the first round.

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