Three of the big four were on display last night, if you consider the Preds, Jets, Bruins, and Lightning the Big Four (apologies to the Penguins, who are probably going to win it just because it’s this thing they do). All three won. Two of them looked like the business. One continues to appear vulnerable. And one team that wants to consider itself among the bourgeois got its dick kicked in and it was hilarious.
Avalanche 4 – Predators 5 (NSH leads 2-0)
The Predators have done what you’d ask, hold serve at home. They’ve not looked great doing it, and the Avs are just about the most limited team to enter the playoffs in a long while. These performances–falling behind, letting a team hang around, trading chances–almost certainly isn’t going to fly against a better team. And oh, Johansen continues to do nothing and that will matter. This series will get interesting in Denver when Jared Bednar can throw out MacKinnon against him whenever he wants. That won’t be enough, because any team with Blake Comeau on it isn’t a good one. Still, the cracks are there.
Devils 3 – Lightning 5 (TB leads 2-0)
The Lightning have the same lead the Predators do, but they’ve gone about it by thwacking the team they’re playing twice and looking the real deal. It wasn’t as impressive as Game 1, and the Devils carried the play for long stretches, but there’s nowhere New Jersey can go if Keith Kinkaid has turned back into Kieth Kinkaid and Corey Schneider is struggling to find it.
Leafs 3 – Bruins 7 (BOS leads 2-0)
The amount of digital self-immolation were are mere days from when the Leafs lose this in four or five games is really hard to fathom. Before the season started, anyone who wasn’t painted blue or didn’t have cigarette dude as its avi pointed out the Leafs blue line was a problem. It was pointed out before the playoffs, facing a lethal Bruins team. And yet no one wanted to hear it, it seems. The blue line has been torn apart in two games. The Bruins haven’t needed a ton of chances, but they’ve gotten prime ones because Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner and Ron Hainsey aren’t up to the test. It’s kind of amazing that in the first period the Bruins had only 37.4% of the attempts and yet 56% of the scoring chances. When you breach the Leafs, you breach them good. Also, Freddie Andersen in the playoffs looks a lot like this. Leafs fans will point out that it’s the suspension of Nazem Kadri that fucked them over, but he wasn’t going to make up four goals and he’s exactly where he deserves to be. The Leafs are playing all the wrong games, and getting borked at the only one that matters. And frankly no one will miss them.
Sharks 3 – Ducks 2 (SJ leads 2-0)
The Sharks are the only team to take both road games, though the Jackets have the opportunity to do so today. While Mikkel Boedker did his best to torpedo his own team, the rest did exactly what they were supposed to. It helps when Ryan Getzlaf is only interested in getting the hell out of there, Corey Perry can’t score and can only do Corey Perry things at the worst possible time, and Ryan Kesler’s legs were left in 2014. The Ducks defense is really good, but is pushing the play to no one and desperately missed Cam Fowler. Meanwhile the Sharks’ youngsters like Donskoi, Meier, and especially Hertl are raising their games where the Ducks can’t find anyone. It’s looking bleak, and the Sharks haven’t even needed Joe Thornton yet.