We’re just a week into the Stanley Cup playoffs and we’ve already seen a bunch of shocking things. There has already been an elimination, teams that having taken surprise leads in series and some old-time hockey.
Today I take a look at what we’ve learned so far in each series.
Boston vs. Detroit
What we’ve learned from Boston: The Bruins have a lot of depth, and are the favorites for that reason. A lot of people were worried that the B’s didn’t have enough scoring punch after losing 1-0 in game one. However, their depth has carried them to a 2-1 lead. Boston usually only needs to score three goals to sew most games up thanks to their stout defense and Tuuka Rask. The only concern is if the amount of injuries to their defensemen.
What we’ve learned from Detroit: This won’t be their year, but the kids are alright. Even though Detroit had an "unacceptable" performance according to Coach Mike Babcock, I still think the team is on the right path. Like many, I buried the Wings after their numerous injuries left them out of playoff position. However, the group of young guns (many were part of the Grand Rapids Griffins that won the Calder Cup in the AHL) stepped their game up and willed the team into the next round. I think Detroit doesn’t have much of a shot, but I think that playoff streak is in good hands.
Tampa Bay vs. Montreal
What we learned from Tampa Bay: Ben Bishop is pretty darn important. I thought the Lightning really could’ve given the Bruins headaches if they made it to the next round. However, the injury to Ben Bishop and a slow offense doomed Tampa Bay from the start. Backup Anders Lindback did not help with his shaky play, while the defense did not play disciplined like they did in the regular season. Tampa Bay may be the first team gone, but they’ll be back in the playoff conversation with Bishop, Steven Stamkos and first round pick Jonathan Drouin.
What we learned from Montreal: The defense will pose a problem to whoever faces the Canadiens in round two. Tampa tried to fight back in game four and tied the game, but Montreal held firm and found the late game-winner to sweep the Ning. Carey Price and the gang did a fantastic job locking down Steven Stamkos and the rest of Tampa's scorers. If Price can stay strong in goal like he did in games two and three, they’ll carry Canada’s hopes a little while longer.
Pittsburgh vs. Columbus
What we’ve learned from Pittsburgh: Marc-Andre Fleury needs to find himself. There are times that Fleury looks like the goalie that won it all in 2009, but there have been plenty of times that you just scratch your head in wonder. I said at the beginning of the year that Fleury had something to prove. The Pens can score on a talented goalie like Sergei Bobrovsky, but the goalie may be the only thing holding them back from challenging the Bruins.
What we’ve learned from Columbus: No one gave much of the Blue Jackets a shot to win many games or even the series. However, Columbus just keeps coming and won’t give in. They were down 3-0, but rallied. It’s been led by Jack Johnson and a group of forwards that aren’t household names. The Jackets may not win the series, but the Penguins could be worn down for round two.
New York vs. Philadelphia
What we’ve learned from the Rangers: Even though John Tortorella is gone, the Rangers still block a ton of shots. The Blueshirts got in front of 28 shots in the game three win over the Flyers. The Rangers power play started strong in the first two games before being neutralized in game three. Also, Dan Carcillo is an epic troller. The Rangers are tough on the road and could grab a stranglehold if they take game four.
What we’ve learned from the Flyers: That the Flyers keep playing like the Flyers. There’s an old adage that teams act like their coach. Craig Berube as one of the roughest players around when he was laced up the skates. That feistiness has rubbed off on his team and the orange and black have taken many silly penalties. Jason Akeson’s double-minor for high-sticking on Carl Hagelin cost Philadelphia in game one. If they don’t stay disciplined, they’ll be eliminated.
That’s it for the Eastern Conference. I’ll have the Western Conference tomorrow for you. Take care.
Dan Mount is an NHL columnist for TJRSports.com. He is based out of Watertown, NY and can be reached on Twitter @DanMountSports.