Sans Stars, Stanley Cup Playoffs Still Worth Watching
OK, hangover’s done. You’ve had 48 hours since the Stars were eliminated. You’ve drowned your sorrows at the bar and/or the water cooler, talking to anyone who would listen about how the Game Six meltdown made you call in sick on Monday.
Yeah, yeah. We know. But time to move on, because the playoffs live on without your Stars.
No, I’m not talking about the Mavericks-Spurs series, though you never know when a Vince Carter moment might happen. I’m talking about the best tournament in pro sports – the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Yes, 48 hours has been enough time to mourn. There are important things to re-focus on. Like three Game Sevens. Yes, for the third-straight season, the NHL’s first round will feature three Game Sevens, and they will all be played tonight.
Flyers at Rangers.
Wild at Avalanche.
Kings at Sharks.
There’s nothing like a Game Seven, and we get three of them all in one evening. The Stars’ most memorable games include huge Game Sevens, including two classics vs. the Avalanche in the 1999 and 2000 Western Conference Finals. Sit back and enjoy.
The Flyers dispatched the New York Rangers last night at Philly, 5-2, and the two teams turn around and start things off at 6 pm on NBC Sports Network. If pattern stays its course, the Rangers will win, as both teams have alternated victories throughout the first six games. The Reverse Barometer call: a Henrik Lundqvist shutout and a NY Rangers win.
Minnesota vs. Colorado might be the most entertaining series of the first round, full of comebacks and sixth attacker goals and overtimes. The Wild might have this thing already won had they been able to hold on in a couple of the games at Colorado. Back to the Pepsi Center (8:30 pm), where the Avalanche is 6-0 all-time at home in Game Sevens. The Reverse Barometer call: the road team finally wins in this series and the Wild advance.
The Sharks might actually be in worse shape than the Stars and Blues, and they were both eliminated over the weekend. Dallas and St. Louis at least went down fighting. San Jose is doing its best impression of a fat guy at the steak house in desperate need of the heimlich. The Sharks had LA on the ropes with a 3-0 lead, but the Kings have bounced back with three-straight wins and forced a Game Seven. Oh sure, it’s at the Shark Tank (9 pm), but this feels like the beginning of overtime the other night at the AAC – you know who’s winning this thing. Barometer: Kings win a 4-3 thriller.
Then the second round begins, just in time to catch your breath. What’s already waiting for us? How about the longest-running rivalry in the NHL – Montreal vs. Boston. They will meet for a record-34th time in the playoffs. Chicago will face the winner of Colorado-Minnesota while the Ducks play either the Kings or Sharks. And Pittsburgh will play either the Flyers or Rangers.
Yes, the Stars are out. Get over it. Oh, you can continue to curse at Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf if that makes you feel better. But the battle rages on for six more weeks in the marathon to win the Stanley Cup, and it’s worth watching.
So tune in tonight. Like I said, there’s nothing like a Game Seven. Except Game Seven overtime. One shot to determine a series winner. Maybe three.
Buckle up. Who ya got?