Eight Games In
Dunno if you stayed up late to watch San Jose-Los Angeles last night. I didn't, but PVRed my way back into that series first thing this ayem.
That's just the way the playoffs are meant to be watched some days; on tape-delay. The trick is avoiding knowing the score.
Anyway, well, Joe Pavelski. Again. The Big Pavelski potted the OT winner for the Sharks, but probably the surprising element was just how competitive the Kings were, with many wondering if L.A. could stay with the Sharks without top centre Anze Kopitar. Well, not only could they stay with them stride-for-stride, the Kings were the better team at times, with Justin Williams stunningly dominant at times as he came back from injury. A bad goal by Logan Couture off a missed hip check by Drew Doughty was probably the difference, although in a frenetic game like that, it's difficult to pinpoint one play as the difference maker.
With the crowd in San Jose chanting "Beat L.A.!" all night, there was great spirit in this one from the start. A bad hit by Jarrett Stoll on Ian White may cost the Kings the services of Stoll for Game 2, another big loss up the middle with Stoll particularly proficient on draws.
And Montreal-Boston? Well, of course we should have known that the Canadiens would again look like a much better club in the post-season than they did in the regular season, right? Brian Gionta turns into Bob Nystrom with every big goal and Scott Gomez wakes up. P.K. Subban cemented his rep as a youngster unafraid of the big moment, James Wisniewski might be the best mid-season pickup by any team and Carey Price looks like the best goalie in hockey right now, utterly unflappable. You don't hear anyone in Montreal debating the Price versus Jaroslav Halak choice anymore.
The Bruins just didn't get big games out of their big players. Tomas Kaberle turned it over on the first Montreal goal and Milan Lucic coughed it up on the second.
Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy was already painting a gloomy scenario in Beantown this morning, reflecting back (you had to know this was coming) to the four straight losses suffered by the Bruins last spring after jumping ahead 3-0 on Philly.
"Since that fateful night, we have seen the Lakers beat the Celtics in Game 7 of the NBA Finals (a game the Celtics led by 13 points)," wrote Shaugnessy. "We have seen the Rex Ryan Jets humble the 14-2 Patriots in a playoff game at Gillette Stadium. We have seen the Red Sox miss the playoffs for the second time in eight years, appear to vault over the Yankees during an expensive winter, only to fall five games behind the Bronx Bombers in a thus-far miserable season.
"And now the Bruins are playing their Original Six nemeses in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the 33d time since 1929 and we are worried about a great depression. The favored Bruins lost Game 1 last night, 2-0.
"Frustration. It’s called Bruins."
And that after one game. You'd think a strong regular season would count for a little more, but then, I was always surprised during the season how little the smell from last spring's collapse was lingering around the Bruins. Guess it had all been covered up with heavy perfume like a lady in Victorian England. Now the heat is up and the smell is once again apparent. Hard to shake something like that.
Suddenly the heat is on in Boston for Game 2. Sure didn't take long.