Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The four moons of Bettmania are aligned!

Something bizarre happened in last night's games.

In every single series, the team that won Game 1, won Game 2. Now we've got 2-0s across the board on our trusty Yahoo! scoreboard.

A day earlier, it was the opposite. It was all 1-1.

I'm really not sure what to conclude from all this aligning, except to only make a bold prediction: Today, all four series will be 2-1. Just wait and see.

Alright, enough. (I'll let The Calculator figure out the probability of what happened happening.)

The thing I always find with the first round is that there are so many games, so many storylines, that it's pretty tough to (a) watch four games a night and (b) blog about four games a night when its not humanly possible to watch them.

While the Grand Master Pooh-bah of all that is hockey blogdom, Eric McErlain, has done a nice job of rounding up the many voices of the blogosphere every night, I'm not that clever. (Plus, I can't quote myself, for fear of ridicule.)

What I can do, however, is get in the dressing rooms, grab some quoteable quotes from every postgame presser and assemble them here. So that's what I'll do.


The GAME of the night
Canadiens 6, Hurricanes 5 (2OT)

"They came back, but we never put our arms down," [Montreal centre Mike] Ribeiro said. "We kept pushing."


I don't have a clue what he's talking about, but I like the idea here. After all, it would be difficult to push if your arms were down.

This was a terrific game to watch, and, as with a lot of games out there yonder, the crowd/cheerleaders in Raleigh were as entertaining as the action on the ice. The Battle of Ontario sums up the ambience nicely:
...tonight's Montreal-Carolina tilt tonight from the RBC Center features the most bizarre crowd noise I've ever heard. There's the usual three-second delay after a goal before the celebration, the passionate booing after every stoppage and rapid shift to jubilation when it turns out to be a Habs penalty or to silence when it's an offside call. But there's just this random, fluctuating din, too.
And with his team now down 2-0 and headed to crazy Habland, Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette might want to rethink the playoff whiskers he's got going.

In other news, Alexei Kovalev and the Habs have been upgraded to pet turtle:
"I've been saying that I hate the word underdog and after winning the first game, I don't think we're the underdogs," said Kovalev, who was part of the New York Rangers' Stanley Cup winner in 1994. "I think we've taken a step up. We're cats now."
Now all he needs is a blog.



The unGAME of the night
Sabres 8, Flyers 2

"Use a different word if you want, but I thought they did," [Sabres head coach Lindy] Ruff said. "The more they acted like idiots, the more we wanted to play."


And that's one of the few quotes without an expletive from the coaches' postgame pressers. There was some ugliness. Vegas is taking odds on Ruff v. Hitchcock.

Of all the series I would have expected would turn into a slaughter, this would have been at the bottom of the list. The Flyers aren't even competing. Peter Forberg is playing the worst hockey I've ever seen him play, and the 'big, slow' Philadelphia defence we heard so much about looks just awful.

But I can't see this Flyers team roll over after a thrashing like this. Game 3 will be a war.



GAME 3
Avalanche 5, Stars 4 (OT)

"We dug ourselves out of a hole. That's the bright spot. But they just kept coming," [Stars captain Mike] Modano said. "We came from behind all year and had solid finishes to games. To lose that one is tough."

What can I say? There were goaltending issues on both sides of the ice in Dallas tonight, but especially for Marty Turco, who is going to really gain a reputation of a goalie that can't play in big games if the Stars bow out early.

Dallas played disciplined hockey and showed a ton of mettle in coming back from a 3-0 deficit, but I can't see them rallying in this series. I know I said it earlier in the week, but playing in Denver is really tough given the high altitude, and Stars coach doesn't have any option other than riding Turco until the end of the series.

This could be a sweep.



GAME 4
Devils 4, Rangers 1

"This won't happen again for a long time, it would be nice if it did," [Devils centre John] Madden said. "In reality, I have to get back to checking and getting the puck deep and winning faceoffs and killing penalties."

The 'this' he's referring to is the first-ever hat trick Madden had in this game, which tells you just about everything you need to know about what happened in East Rutherford tonight.

4 Comments:

At 4:53 AM, April 25, 2006, Anonymous Baroque said...

I remember the last season seeing some stats on the number of times the lower seed upset the higher seed in a series, and the #7-#2 matchup produced the highest percentage of series upsets...but it really looks like being the #2 seed is the kiss of death this year. They don't even look that close! Hockey is such an unpredictable sport.

 
At 9:22 AM, April 25, 2006, Blogger Tom L said...

James,

I'm trying not to get too excited about how this is turning out, but methinks you're giving the Flyers too much credit here. The Sabres just made them look like an AHL team, and frankly, did the same for much of game 1. The things that kept that game close were Esche and the Sabres own nerves. The Nerves are gone and well, so is Esche.

Face it. Philly's done. Bob Clarke didn't believe the league in the off-season and he's paying for it now. It's that simple. They might win a game in Philly.

Will game 3 be a war? Well, y'all said that about game 2.... oops.

Again, I hate to be antagonistic about this but, why is it so hard to believe that the Sabres are the far superior team? These games are even more lop-sided than the Rags/Devils games and that series is apparently over. Somehow the Flyers have enough of something the Rangers don't. I saw more fight out of the Rags in the 20 minutes I watched of that game when they were down 3-0 then I saw out of Philly in all of game 2.

Ta,

 
At 9:44 AM, April 25, 2006, Anonymous Dennis Prouse said...

Always nice to see Philly go out early. For as long as Bobby Clarke is there, they will remain the most unlikeable team in the League for me. "We didn't tell Roger to go out and get cancer, and then go all goofy on us," will ring in my ears for as long as I live. I don't ever recall Clarke issuing a proper apology for that profoundly ignorant take...

 
At 2:07 PM, April 25, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Again, I hate to be antagonistic about this but, why is it so hard to believe that the Sabres are the far superior team? These games are even more lop-sided than the Rags/Devils games and that series is apparently over. Somehow the Flyers have enough of something the Rangers don't.

The Sabres dominance over a veteran team with far more playoff experience is surprising. Way more surprising than a Devils team with far more playoff experience whipping an injured Rangers club.

Ken Hitchcock's teams have all made it to at least the second round since 1997. He's had a team lose in the first round once ever. The Flyers also went to Game 7 of the Eastern Final in 2004; the Rangers haven't made the playoffs in seven years.

As I said, as bad as they've looked, I just can't see the Flyers roll over. (And, as Tyler noted in my earlier Rangers post, no team is out of it until they lose a game at home.) I'll be absolutely stunned if this is a four-game sweep.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home

Links to this post:

Create a Link


.

Free Page Rank Checker
eXTReMe Tracker