Apr. 14, 2017
"The Stack" 4-13-17
Jake Allen was a beast all night long for the St. Louis Blues stopping 51 shots as the Blues upset?? the Wild 2-1 to take a 1-0 series lead.
Very late posting by The Stack today. Thoughts and prayers with the Pittsburgh Steelers, their fans and the NFL in general over the loss of Steelers owner Dan Rooney today. He was one of the most influential men the NFL has seen. We must go on though and we have some thoughts from the first night of the NHL Playoffs last night so let’s get right to it and see what’s in “the stack” for today, Thursday, April 13th:
Stanley Cup Playoffs get underway
The puck dropped on five playoff series Wednesday night and it was quite a night for the road teams. We start north of the border first where the New York Rangers took game one 2-0 over the Montreal Canadiens. The Rangers scored their first goal halfway through the first period on a nifty backhand shot by Tanner Glass right off the faceoff that caught Canadiens goalie Carey Price by surprise. The Rangers would add an empty net goal. They won the most games on the road during the regular season. They didn’t look phased at all.
Staying in Canada, the Ottawa Senators were up 1-0 going into the third period against the Boston Bruins, but the Bruins responded with a goal five minutes in and then groin hitter Brad Marchand scored to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead with just over two minutes to go. They would hang on to win by that score. 20-year old Charlie McAvoy, in his first ever NHL game played well. He just got done playing for Boston University. He skated alongside Zdeno Chara. Cool story. Hope he does well.
The lone home team to win last night was the Pittsburgh Penguins. It didn’t look good at the start though. Starting goalie Matt Murray went down with an injury in warmups. It was rather freaky. The Columbus Blue Jackets came out the far more aggressive team outshooting the Penguins 16-3 in the first period, but they couldn’t crack Marc Andre-Fleury. The Penguins offensive came to life in the second period with three goals and they were able to cruise to a 3-1 victory. Andre-Fleury is the starting goalie going forward.
The game I was by far the most emotionally invested in was the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild since I am a Wild fan. The Wild peppered Blues goalie Jake Allen with shot after shot and Allen was giving up some very juicy rebounds, but the Blues defenders did an excellent job tying up Wild players so they couldn’t get great looks on those rebounds. The Blues were outplayed, but they took advantage of a Wild turnover in their own end in the second period and Vladimir Sobotka shot the puck that deflected off of Wild defenseman Christian Folin and past Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk to give the Blues a 1-0 lead. It looked like the Blues were going to win by that 1-0 score because the Wild could not get anything by Allen despite putting on a ton of pressure in the third. Zach Parise even helped out the cause by knocking out a puck that looked for sure like it was going in for the Wild to keep it 1-0. It was just one of those things. Parise would tie the game with 23 seconds left in the third period thanks to some good passing by the Wild, but in overtime it was much the same with the Wild not being able to squeeze one by Allen. The Blues would win thanks to a tremendous play by Vladimir Tarasenko who maneuvered with the puck in between his skates finding Joel Edmundson for the game-winner. Blues won 2-1. The Wild outplayed and will need to keep pounding Allen with shots in hopes of being able to win this series.
Finally, things started out really well, I mean really well for the Edmonton Oilers against the San Jose Sharks. The scored the first two goals of the game in the first period and the man was the building rocking. The Sharks are a veteran team though and they weathered the storm in the first before going to work the rest of the game. They outshot the Oilers 34-9 the rest of the game. The Oilers had nine shots over the final 43:22 of the game. That won’t win you any games (though then again ask the Blues…they somehow won). The Sharks dominated the final two periods. It’s going to be up to the Oilers now to respond.
The final three series start tonight. It’s Toronto against Washington, Nashville against Chicago and Calgary versus Anaheim. I like the Capitals (WSH), Blackhawks (CHI) and Ducks (ANH) to all win tonight. Should be some great action on the ice.
Coming up Friday: NBA Playoff preview