Joe Hanretty, Contributing Writer
Sometimes the playoff season has a mind of its own. One matchup will end quickly, and another may go to seven games. It’s this uncertainty that makes the sporting world such a cherished entity.
In the NBA, the first round has quickly come to an end with the following outcomes: the Dallas Mavericks were ousted by the veteran San Antonio Spurs; the Kevin Durant-led OKC Thunder moved past the Memphis Grizzlies, thanks to the suspension of Zack Randolph; “Lob City” ended their bout with the Golden State Warriors with a victory; and finally, the Brooklyn “Dinosaurs” Nets defeated the Toronto Raptors.
Although these matches and outcomes were exciting in and of themselves, hockey now takes precedence on this keyboard.
We are currently immersed in the second round of what is considered by many to be the most exciting playoff season in a long time. In the NHL, moving to the second round can be both a relief and a nightmare, largely due to matchups. In the East, the Boston Bruins have been matched with a hated rival, the Montreal Canadians. Boston is by far the better team here. However, the team was taken by surprise in the first game as the “Habs” grabbed an early lead in the series.
In the second game, we almost saw the same thing, with Montreal leading the Bruins 3-1 going into the third period. But then, what a surprise! Boston showed the nation why it won the President’s Trophy, scoring four unanswered goals to tie the series up at one. With that kind of momentum, Montreal must have wished that it never let Boston score more than one goal. Now, Montreal will return home in an effort to defend its home ice.
Also in the East, the New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins are tied at one game apiece; while the Rangers clearly dominated game one, they were defeated in game two. The team will now head back to New York for its next two games.
In the West, the Los Angeles Kings overcame a three-game deficit in the first round to beat the San Jose Sharks. Now the teams are entangled with the Anaheim Ducks. The Kings were probably happy to be put in this situation. The San Jose team is a formidable presence and posed much more of a threat than the Ducks, though the Ducks are quite good as well. The Kings have big, quick defensemen who can handle the puck better than the Ducks defensemen.
Lastly, the defending champs, the Chicago Blackhawks, have been matched with the Minnesota Wild. Having defeated the bruising Blues of St. Louis, the Blackhawks probably thought that this series would be a breeze. This has not been the case, since the Wild has challenged the ‘Hawks in both games so far. The Minnesota team brings to the table a type of feistiness and quickness that the Blackhawks have had trouble dominating. However, the scoreboard rules all in this second season, and as it shows, the Blackhawks have taken advantage of home ice and are up 2-0. The Blackhawks play with confidence, skill and a precision that is hard to beat. The series will now shift to the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” If the Blackhawks win at least one game there, the Wild will surely be reminded of last year’s playoff exit.
The school year is coming to a close, and by the time these matchups unfold, I won’t be here to tell you how it all went down. To stay updated, tune into NHL.com.