Going into the Stanley Cup playoffs, most thought that the Vancouver Canucks would emerge as the victors of the West, while the Pittsburgh Penguins would be the victory story of the East. Now though, just three games in, both are in dire risk of being eliminated — and very, very soon.
The Vancouver Canucks have one legitimate reason for allowing the Los Angeles Kings to take the first three games of round one away from them — they’re missing their star, Daniel Sedin. They knew they would be going into round one and that they’d likely miss him for the entire first round. What they didn’t know was that they might not have much more time than that. What might be most frustrating of all for the Canucks is that other than missing their power forward in Sedin, they can’t seem to figure out where the problem lies on their bench.
Roberto Luongo has a reputation for being a ‘streak’ goaltender, meaning he’s either hot or he’s not. His performance this round though, hasn’t been anything that fans can complain about, as he’s played up to par. And when Canucks coach had no other way to make his team better, he started backup goalie Cory Schneider in place of Luongo. It didn’t matter; the Kings still took that game 1-0.
The Canucks’ biggest problem is that with the goalie at the other end of the ice — Jonathan Quick. The Canucks just can’t score on him, and without Sedin, that’s likely what’s going to end their playoff run early. The Canucks and Kings play again on Wednesday, April 18.
Unfortunately, things aren’t so simply in Pittsburgh. The Penguins haven’t been swept out of the playoffs since 1979; and now, with all their star players healthy and many claiming them the Stanley Cup champs before the playoffs even began, it looks like history is soon going to repeat itself. In a matchup between two explosively powerful offensive teams, this series has been one of the most exciting to watch in a long time. Big fits and lots of scores is what good hockey is made of, and this one has brought a little of both.
The first game was considered a high-scoring one for the playoffs, with Pittsburgh giving up four goals in answer to Philly’s three. The second game saw even more action with Philadelphia scoring a whopping eight goals to Pittsburgh’s five — still a playoff game with 13 goals in total, which is a rarity indeed. Yesterday afternoon, Philadelphia once again scored eight goals, while Pittsburgh had one less in them, scoring only four. Still, the Penguins say that they don’t need to change their game much and that they’re giving a good effort. And that’s probably what’s going to get them swept out of Round One.
While the demise of these two teams are definitely the biggest stories so far during the playoffs, here’s a look at where the other 6 series stand:
In the West
San Jose Sharks vs. St. Louis Blues: Series tied at 1-1; next game April 16.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Phoenix Coyotes: Series tied at 1-1; next game April 17.
Detroit Red Wings vs. Nashville Predators: Predators up 2-1 in the series; next game April 17.
In the East
Ottawa Senators vs. New York Rangers: Series tied at 1-1; next game April 16.
Washington Capitals vs. Boston Bruins: Series tied at 1-1; next game April 16.
New Jersey Devils vs. Florida Panthers: Series tied at 1-1; next game April 17.