Kind of a night of upsets in the NHL playoffs. There’s still a long way to go, obviously. But Ottawa’s 5-4 victory in Pittsburgh has to rank as a definite surprise. Hopefully the Penguins will recover and go on to win because from where I sit, a Pittsburgh vs. Washington match-up, hopefully in the East Final, looks pretty good.
Philly beating the Devils 2-1 in New Jersey is a pretty big surprise too. Going into the playoffs the Devils were being touted as a force to be reckoned with while the Flyers, perennially plagued by shaky goal-tending, generally fold in the playoffs.
Like New Jersey in the East, Detroit had been playing its best hockey of the season and had momentum going into the playoffs. But they fell 3-2 to the Coyotes in Phoenix. The ‘Yotes are a definite Cinderella story given their non-existent ownership structure. They’ve had a magic season so far. Can they keep it up and defeat Detroit? I know one hockey poolster who fervently hopes not. He’s got something like seven, or maybe even eight Red Wings on his 18-man team. And if they exit in the first round he’s done like dinner, to borrow an old Tiger Williams’ phrase.
I guess Colorado’s 2-1 road win over San Jose ranks as an upset too — maybe a big one. But geez, the Sharks sure have a monkey on their back when it comes to the playoffs. Same with Joe Thorton. Because he’s running out of chances to prove he can be a leader in the playoffs.