Well, the playoffs are still young, but there are still some interesting storylines that have started to develop.
Senators and Penguins game 1:
This was not the game that anybody expected. Many people thought that the Sens would take this one, but not in the way that they did. The thrashing that was handed out on Wednesday should not be any indication of how the rest of this series will go, the young and energetic Penguins will not go away that easily. If anything the fact that the Penguins got beat like they did may be a good thing in the long run. It will show the Crosby's, Malkin's, Fleury's etc. who are all playing their first playoffs, what they need to do to compete in the post season, the level they need to bring their play to to succeed. They are a very, very talented club and don't be surprised if they take game 1 as lesson learned, and Michel Therien's bunch come out flying and take game 2 on route to a second round berth.
Also, thoughts on the Crosby No Goal? I didn't see any conclusive evidence of a kicking motion. All I saw was him going down and sliding into the net.
Canucks and Stars game 1:
This was a crazy game to watch. It had everything you could want as a hockey fan. It had some nice goals, some garbage goals, some fluky goals, great saves and solid hitting, all crammed into only seven periods. This game was just the first of what is going to be a hard hitting, fast-paced series between two very evenly matched clubs. Roberto Luongo didn't show any signs of butterflies in his first post-season start, and stole the show with a 70+ save performance. His counterpart Marty Turco looked very solid as well, but also looked very tired in the later overtime periods and that could be the difference in this series. Luongo appears at times to be something other than human, so look for him to propel the 'Nucks deep into the later rounds of the dance. A finals berth would not be out of the question.
Red Wings and Flames game 1:
Not much to say here. The Flames got dismantled by a superior Red Wings team. If it was not for some heroics by current Vezina holder Mikka Kiprusoff, it could have easily been 8-1 instead of 4-1. The Flames are capable of getting back into this series, but it is a steep hill to climb. If Hasek stays healthy and on his game, the Wings could make some noise.
Sabres and Islanders game 1:
This game was a little closer than the stats showed. The Islanders had some opportunities but couldn't cash in. Add to that the Sabres powerplay tonight, which was given a lot of chances by way of some poor penalties by the Isles, and a backup goalie (although he did play well) and the Isles beat themselves as much as the Sabres beat them. We may see some brooms in the first round.
Devils and Lightning game 1:
I feel the Lightning should have won this game. They played well enough to, except their goaltending carousel would not allow it. If the goalies in this game switched teams, the score would have been about 7-2 for the Bolts. Before this series started I really thought that Tampa's offense could carry them through if the played decent defensively. But after today it is certain that Holmqvist will not beat Marty in this series, Tampa's only chance is if Denis can save them.
First off I have been refereeing hockey myself for the past 9 years, and I absolutely hate to bash the refs. But what I have seen over the first 8 games here has really bothered me. If the NHL wants to stick to their "standard" which they claim they do, then that is fine, but DO IT. Most of the games were fairly similar, more than usual was let go, and then all of a sudden a call would appear from November 2005 when they called everything. Or in the case of the Tampa/New Jersey game, they just wouldn't call anything because it was the third period (logic which was supposed to be out the window in the new NHL). If they want to stick to the standard then fine, but actually do it.