|Posted by Radatz on April 21, 2017 at 2:05 AM|
Our undertone tonight is the officiating again, but there was hockey too. The NFLization of NHL officiating (replay et al) seems to be taking its toll on good hockey. The seemingly better team didn't always win, which seems to be an odd theme this offseason. Two teams tried to stave off elimination. Neither did. Dominos are falling now. We had two games with a complete reversal of form in overtime. Last preliminary thought: does everyone have a player named Carlson or Karlsson or whatever? Are they all good?
The worst officiated play of the evening came in Pittsburgh. Columbus, trailing despite dominating play, tied the elimination game with Pittsburgh in the 3rd period... but no goal. Wennberg was called for the increasingly bothersome GI, again on a goalie outside the crease, being sandwiched into him by one of the Penguins. Fleury in fact looked like he moved at Wennberg more than vice versa. Awful call. Then Crosby scored on the PP. Brutal. No excuse. Columbus looked like they were on the PP themselves (fooled me a couple of times) during 5-on-5 for large parts of the game. They didn't deserve this. However, the youngest team in the league looks poised to hit next season hungry (for whatever consolation that may provide), and Tortorella has rebuilt his image as a coach. The Jackets are nameless and methodical, reminiscent of a Soviet team we saw in 1970. Meanwhile, there's no doubt Fleury carried the Penguins through this series. That's a problem. He was all set to warm a seat. Can he keep it up? Murray didn't look good in a brief comeback.
Bet you didn't see this coming. When Montreal is on, they're tough. When they're not, they're bad. Despite being outskated in the first period, NY played the Habs nearly even for the last two and even tied the game. Then they were suddenly, almost inexplicably the only team on the ice in OT. Montreal reeled and staggered as NY passed and pressed. Kreider did his Mighty Casey imitation fanning on what looked like the game winner, but was instrumental later for the actual clincher, his slightly deflected pass still reaching Zibanejad who popped it by Price on a pretty play. NY actually holds a 3-2 advantage in a series which, it seems, hasn't seen their best hockey for more than one overtime. In keeping with our theme I just have to mention this: if you're Rick Nash getting roughed on the boards and it's not called, popping the guy isn't called either. Which it shouldn't be. If you're Riley Nash, same situation (worse in fact), and it's early OT (much worse), you get 2 minutes and it costs your team a playoff game. "They have to call it." Really? That blows that whitewash.
Bet you really, really didn't see this coming, certainly not a week or so ago. Chicago losing to Nashville? Unlikely. Chicago losing in 4 straight? Unthinkable. Chicago scoring 3 goals in the entire series? Unbelievable. Yet it happened, and it was only partly Pekka Rinne's doing. Even the officials couldn't screw this one up. I gotta admit, I've been wondering for the better part of a decade how Crawford won all those games. Guess he used to have more help. But Chicago was the 1 seed, odd behavior for a washed up dynasty. Swept by the 8 seed. Blown out. Is this just a Pittsburgh/Bylsma slump? If it is, it's not for the same reason. Quenneville's coaching isn't being questioned. Unless it's just a bad matchup, the remaining reason may be irreparable. As for Nashville, right now I think more are surmising that Chicago may be done than that Nashville is on a collision course with destiny, but who knows?
San Jose came to Edmonton off the most dominating performance of the postseason. Early on it looked like the Return of the Snarks when the Oilers took the lead. However, SJ suddenly regained its form and blew out to a 3-1 lead. But they seemed to start misfiring; that, or perhaps protecting their lead. Bad idea. The Oilers got some spark. With a little over 2 minutes left in the game, Edmonton tied it and sent it into OT. What happened then was amazing --- an even worse mismatch than NY over Montreal. The Sharks lost all timing and Edmonton was on a virtual OT-long power play. The outcome felt almost inevitable. Who's the Jekyll/Hyde here, San Jose or Edmonton? Both? It's understandable if SJ lost steam late on the road. It is, however, hard to figure why they seemingly abandoned a successful style of play sometime in the 2nd period. It was like a prevent defense.
Categories: NHL Blogs