Just ask the Penguins. Picked as the team to now run through the East by most people once the 2nd round started, the Pittsburgh Penguins are now finding a decent opponent against the Canadiens. Montreal last night tied the series up at 2-2 with another great effort by their defense and Jaroslav Halak in the net. I do not know why it is, but the more shoots Halak faces the better he plays. Last night he makes 33 saves and after 2 goals early becomes a wall in front of the net. How has Montreal even made it this far? Halak and their powerplay. Both have been top-notch through the playoffs and along with a great defensive scheme and execution of that plan, the Canadiens are finding a way to get a decent chance at this series. Pittsburgh has to have someone continue to step up besides Crosby. One game he gets help, next game not so much. Malkin has been inconsistent and blanketed a few times this series, injuries to Staal and Guerin have slowed them down, and trade deadline add Ponikarovsky has done very little. Goaltending and defense could be a bit better for the Pens, but what they really need is come consistent offense besides Crosby.
Now on to Detroit, did any of us really expect them to just die in 4 games and be gone? I am not saying they are going to win 4 straight games and come all the way back. But they came out and embarrassed the Sharks in game 4, 7-1. Game 5 is Saturday back in San Jose, and although I hate the Red Wings I do not think the Sharks wrap it up until game 6. But we will see.
Chicago! Great job in game 3 of playing the style you know can beat the Canucks and crashing the net around Luongo. I agree that the last goal probably should have not been allowed, but the Chicago Blackhawks won that game with or without the last goal. They got the Powerplay going, they got in Luongo’s crease and had him flustered all night, and got good enough play at the other end to win. This is the formula they must going to win this series, and if they do then this series is over in 6.
Finally, but certainly not last, the Boston Bruins continue to surprise. Injuries, not a problem. Doubt from most of the NHL, who cares. Rookie goalie, playing better then just about anyone except for Halak. The Bruins are taking it to the Flyers and winning gritty games every night. With a 3-0 lead they could close the series out tonight in Philly, but I think Philly wins one and the Bruins win game 5 back in Boston to end it.
Tune in tonight for game 4 of Boston/Philly at 7PM EST (or 6 CST), and then game 4 of Chicago/Vancouver at 9:30PM EST (or 8:30 CST). And watch out tomorrow for my Iron Man 2 review and thoughts on what goes down tonight!