Hockey every night for 2 months? My favorite time of the year, and last night didn't disappoint.
Sens vs. Pens: Nothing that I didn't completely expect from the Sens OR the Pens in game one, except I guess I expected Crosby would get on the scoresheet. At the end of the CBC broadcast, Garry Galley, who was doing color for the game alongside Jim Hughson said he couldn't believe how the Sens played and that he was totally surprised by their effort.
Are you kidding me?
The Senators played exactly the way this team has played over the last two months during their major collapse. The one bright side for the Sens was the play of Martin Gerber, minus the first period where he looked like he always does, brutal. His play in the 2nd and 3rd periods kept this game close to the point where if the Sens could've snagged an ugly goal to make it 2-1, it would've been anyone's game. Without Gerber last night, this is an 8-0 runaway.
Which brings me to my next point. If the Penguins think they can sit on a 2-0 lead on the Sens every game, they're wrong. They needed to put that game away earlier than they did.
How about Gary freaking Roberts. Love that guy. What about Sens fans? They must love him too... all he does is kill your team every time he steps on the ice against them. What a guy... I wish Pitt well solely based on the fact that Roberts is on that team.
Rags n' Devs: Again, nothing out of the ordinary here. A tight-checking, close game that required a great play by Scott Gomez to put the game out of reach. This is how all the games have gone between these two teams in the last half of the season and I expect nothing less out of them going forward. I happened to miss the Brodeur gaff that led to the Callahan GW goal until I caught it later on the highlights. You don't see that too often and you likely won't see it again in this playoffs. I expect Brodeur to come back on fire for game 2 and I woudn't be surprised to see him blank the Rangers. I still think the Rangers win the series, but I believe Brodeur will take that loss personally and make up for it like only he and a handful of other goalies in the league can do.
Avs and Wild: To me, the most boring series of the first round. I'm not even remotely interested in watching this series. I mean no offense to either team involved, but I've seen them all season long being in the NW and I could use the break. That being said, I caught a few moments of the game and noticed that Gaborik was completely silent... speaking of silent, the Minnesota crowd appeared to be stunned by Colorado until that fluke goal off of Finger's skate. Close game that went into overtime shouldn't surprise anyone, but the Wild clawing back from a 2-goal deficit surprised me. If the Avs want to win, they have to follow the lead they set in game one... you don't want to trail the Wild because you'll fall asleep watching them lull the game to a snail's pace.
Flames and Sharks: The Flames did exactly what they needed to do right from the drop of the puck. Actually it started before the drop of the puck with Keenan scratching Eriksson for the game, when I saw that, I felt confident the Flames could win. Although after the way Sarich played last night it wouldn't totally surprise me to see Eriksson back in the lineup. Just a couple minutes in and the Flames made their presence felt, hitting the Sharks with every opportunity. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you hit these guys, they disappear. I don't care how many Sharks faithful (which seems to include the CBC announcers) say they're bigger and faster than our team. We're still tougher and play a meaner brand of hockey. I heard the Sharks acquired Brian Campbell at the deadline. Was he a healthy scratch? Oh no, he couldn't have been because Iginla made him look like Cory Cross last night. Joe Thornton would have been held off the score sheet for the game as well if not for Hale's mistake that led to the 2nd Clowe goal. But on that 2nd goal and on the flurry that followed, the Flames could have easily avoided both of those situations had they just got the puck out of the zone on the ample opportunities they had. The Flames absolutely did not steal this game. They capitalized on their opportunities and limited the solid scoring chances against Kipper.
Also, big game for Dion, scoring the second goal, landing huge checks and not letting himself react to being targeted by the Sharks. Even letting himself get bull-dozed to make a play keeping the puck in the offensive zone late in the game. You won't see Brian Campbell doing that.
The Sharks are going to come out firing on all cylinders for game 2 and I fully expect Ron Wilson to get in front of the media and complain in some fashion because that's what he does. Look for the game to be called tighter by the officials tonight.
All in all it was a great night for hockey and regardless of what happens tonight, the dome is going to be rocking on Sunday night!