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No one’s complaining about goaltending in Montreal now; Vancouver blueline like Leafs in ‘93

There are always plenty of story lines in the opening round of the playoffs.

In Montreal, the early series anxiety about the goaltending switch to Price has morphed into the Halak playing with confidence at just the right time. And this after Ovechkin tried to get into Halak’s head earlier in the series, with his comment about Halak “shaking” in the net after a Washington goal.

In fact, the Caps are now the ones having self-doubt, with their power-play failing at an epic rate.

I still have to believe the Caps will win at home, but they’ve sure made it hard on themselves. And if they do survive, I can’t imagine this will help their energy levels as the playoffs progress


There are plaudits aplenty to go around in Boston, ex-Leaf prospect Tuukka Rask among those deserving a nod.

And if Krejci and Lucic are healthy and can play to their potential, they can be difference-makers in the next round for the Bruins.

But today I’m thinking about Mark Recchi, the versatile long-time Boston forward. I’ve several times thought he was nearing the end of his fine career in recent years, but he continues to play at a high level. He just needed to be somewhere where the games mattered, I guess. He is, to me, a surefire Hall-of-Famer, given his numbers, longevity and playoff success over the years. At 41, what’s he’s doing right now is remarkable.


It must hurt the Sabres to lose as they did, with this season’s best goalie—Ryan Miller—healthy and in net for the first round of the playoffs.

But to have Miroslav Satan be the one who kept making key plays must be particularly agitating. He left Buffalo under less than the best of circumstances, and I can’t imagine Sabre management ever thought he would end up knocking them out of the playoffs.

He was an overpaid, infuriating talent while with the Sabres. But at half a million a season, he is a low-cost occasional contributor on a team that relies on contributions from everybody.

The Sabres weren’t going far this spring anyway, but they certainly figured to go further than this.

Perhaps it’s poetic justice for the Bruins, having to play without Marc Savard. The Penguins- the perpetrators in Savard’s case- may await.


It’s fitting that John Madden scored the last goal in the Chicago-Nashville series. Still a glue guy, he now performs for one of the most explosive teams in hockey, after handling his duties so proficiently yet somewhat anonymously over many years with the defensively-oriented Devils.


Almost ten years into their NHL careers, the Sedin brothers in Vancouver continue to develop bit-by-bit into tremendous all-around players. They seem to be tracking not unlike Mats Sundin did- always good players, but increasingly dominant at the NHL level as the years go by. (Wish we’d had two Sundins…)

Vancouver has other solid pieces like Kessler, Burrows and of course the ex-Red Wing, Samuelsson, who has stood out this spring.

Luongo hasn’t been perfect, but good enough at times to be a difference-maker. It strikes me that the Canucks have a no-name defense, much like the Maple Leafs in ’93 and ’94. But they are solid, and that’s what matters.

Regardless of whether the Wings or Coyotes advance, the western semi-finals should be outstanding. Lots of offense and plenty of grit—the perfect storm for great playoff hockey.
Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey blog

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