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We Like To Watch – May 17th – The Vas Difference

So it took a little bit longer than it looked like it was going to after the the first 10 minutes of the game, but the Penguins salvaged a split at home after Tampa won Game 1. These are two incredibly flawed teams, particularly on their respective blue lines, but the speed and dynamism among their forward corps is what got both within three wins of representing the East. Somehow Pengs coach Mike Sullivan allowed both Justin Schultz and Trevor Daley on the ice together at home in a conference final game, and behind Christ Kunitz (who fell down) no less. Predictably that shift resulted in the second Tampa goal. However, Sidney Crosby ended the OT period forty seconds in after cement mixer face Jeremy Roenick said that he wasn’t working as hard as Jonathan Drouin during the second intermission.

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We Like To Watch – May 16th: The Good Fortune Of Mistakes Not Made

If you haven’t read Ryan Lambert’s What We Learned on Puck Daddy today, you should. It’s pretty instructive on not just how luck plays a huge part in playoff success on the ice, but also off the ice. And considering how most NHL teams are run, the moves you don’t make–or more to the point the ones you aren’t allowed to– can shape an organization’s future and present. It also kind of lets you know just how backward a lot of teams still are.

And that also applies here. While everyone still rushed to praise Stan Bowman and his staff, even though they might be the most born-on-third front office in the history of the game, there are slices of good fortune in moves they weren’t allowed to complete that played a huge role for them.

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We Like To Watch – May 12th: Scary In Its Predictability

Stars-Blues Game 7:

We said it in September. I remember tweeting that old hockey adage, “If you think you have two goalies, you probably don’t have one.” Everyone knew where this was going with Dallas, and it never veered off that course. Everyone knew that at some point in the spring their goaltending would eventually be their downfall. They occasionally flashed that they might be the one team since the ’10 Hawks to overcome bad goaltending to win it all (same goalie too. That’s weird), and some of us bought into it at times. But it always came back to this.

The Stars were even with the Blues in the 1st period last night. They had the same quality chances. There’s didn’t go in. The Blues’ did. And that’s it. It doesn’t really need any more analysis than that.

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We Like To Watch – May 11th: One Nearly Down, Another Tonight?

Pens defeat Caps in Game 6

Here comes the narrative… call out your name…

As I talked about yesterday, the Caps loss to the Penguins last night is going to kickstart yet another batch of soul-searching within DC and a bunch of piling on from outside of it. And I’m not sure any of it is necessary, but I’m also not sure some of it isn’t either. I wrote this in my editorial when the Caps were here in late February that I hate when we define a team by some mythical narrative which usually boils down to simply, “They can’t get it done.” For me there always has to be a tangible explanation, or we should work harder to find it. But when it’s the Caps or some team like them, one that constantly is losing in a certain fashion (blowing 3-1 leads in a series as an example) then maybe there has to be something unquantifiable there. Some gremlins playing in their minds when things turn. It’s not the end-all be-all explanation, but it has to be a factor.

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We Like To Watch – May 10th: Go The Distance

We’re getting two Game 7s, and the gut feels like we may get rewarded with a third after tonight, based on nothing but where I feel the tides are at the moment. Let’s run through it.

Stars-Blues Game 6:

You should read Down Goes Brown’s column yesterday on Vice, because it’s something I’ve thought a lot about this past season. It does start to seem like we’re just watching for bounces and luck and hope that they all go our team’s way. Sure, there are things you can do to get yourself more chances of a puck hitting some skate and landing somewhere advantageous, like create more attempts and lessen the ones against you obviously. But in a year where so many were complaining that there were too many teams doing what they could to get more chances in the draft lottery, it feels more and more that the playoff teams are just doing what they can to get more chances in a different kind of lottery.

I couldn’t escape that feeling when watching this game last night. I’m not sure the dichotomy changed all that much. The Stars’ defense still had massive problems breaking out of their own zone. The Blues still got tons of chances. And yet for one night, the goalies reversed. I’m not even sure Brian Elliot was all that bad, he just wasn’t good. Kari Lehtonen certainly was, as most NHL goalies can at least be excellent for a game here or there. So is that the fault of either team? Did the Stars “solve” Elliot? Or were they just fortuitous in that he had an off-night timed to keep their season alive? Did the Blues not do enough to beat Lehtonen? Or were they just unlucky in that he had his best game of the playoffs, maybe season, maybe career, at the most opportune time? You can lose your mind with this stuff.

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We Like To Watch – May 9th: The Business End Of Round 2

Getting down to it now. Let’s go through it:

Lightning v. Islanders – This series… is… OVAHHHHH!

Well we didn’t get this one right. Both Feather and I thought the absence of Stamkos and the presence of Tavares would tell the tale on this one. We kind of forgot about nuclear Victor Hedman, which we shouldn’t have given what we saw last spring. Hedman carried a 56.0 CF% for the series, without his normal partner, and essentially left the Isles scorched and limbless in his path. We saw this last year but the Hawks had Duncan Keith to counter. The Islanders don’t… have one of these, do they Jack? Hamonic is a fine player but he’s not in that class and neither are Thomas Hickey or Nick Leddy. The Isles have basically a bunch of second pairing guys.

Throw in some brilliance from Ben Bishop and the Lightning getting goals up and down the lineup, and that’s how you have something that goes this quickly. Whoops.

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