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Sunday May 9, 2010 12:46 am

Playoff ride not short on stories




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: NHL, Playoffs,

Travis Moen & Martin SkoulaVancouver lays an egg and Philadelphia survives to battle another game. Pittsburgh squeezes a win out of Montreal and San Jose ousts Detroit in five games. It’s just more of the same incredible stories in these NHL playoffs. Regardless of who has been playing on any given night, this playoff season has not been short on storylines. As the second round of the postseason winds down, it’s easy to forget that there’s still a full two series left to play.

Montreal took down the Capitals and are still surprising people by turning their series with Pittsburgh into a best of three, but barely dropped Game 5. They have become the story of these playoffs. Alex Ovechkin bowing out to the Canadiens was an unbelievable result, and now that they’re competing with the other face of the NHL in Sidney Crosby is really raising the bar as far as excitement goes. They’ve shut down both Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, while Jaroslav Halak has played unbelievably in goal and turned Carey Price into an unwilling spectator.

It also looks as if Boston and Chicago will be moving on, both up 3-1 in their series. The last time a pair of Original Six teams squared off for the Stanley Cup was when Montreal beat the Rangers in five games in 1979. However, the odds of either making the trip through the third round aren’t great. The Sharks have taken years to show it, but they finally look like a playoff powerhouse as they have failed to choke as many expected they would. In the East, either Pittsburgh or Montreal looks like they’ve got enough strong points to dominate the Conference Final, as long as the two don’t kill each other here first.

The argument is that people don’t want to see the weaker teams advance far into the playoffs because they’re just not interesting. If that’s the case, why allow 16 teams into the postseason? This year we’re looking at multiple Cinderella-teams in Montreal, Boston and even Detroit, but more than one is way too many. Granted, this year these types of teams at least have a history, but who was watching when Carolina or Tampa Bay were making their cup runs? Phoenix’s fantastic season has already been wiped away due to more issues with ownership. It’s just a matter of what the casual fan is interested in, and this year they’re interested in anything and everything.

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