May 8, 2014

steve laidlaw

2014-05-08

Only one game on the slate last night and frankly, a pretty dull one by the standard set by these playoffs.

 

The Penguins took it to the Rangers, claiming a 3-1 series lead heading back home this weekend where they are looking good to lock things up.

 

I really thought that the Rangers would give the Penguins a tougher fight and actually picked them to win the series. I figured that their depth would give the Penguins' stars and scrubs approach fits but it just hasn't been the case.

 

The pairing-up of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin has completely undone the Rangers. They have no answer for this line. Potential future opponents Boston or Montreal have elite shutdown centermen in Patrice Bergeron or Tomas Plekanec to throw at such a pairing. The Rangers, not so much. So Crosby, Malkin and Chris Kunitz are running wild and it's driving the play forward so that some of their weaker lines have easier zone starts.

 

What's ironic is that the guy who gave Crosby so many fits in the opening round was Brandon Dubinsky, one of the players lost in the Rick Nash deal. Nash is a marvelous player but his offense has been non-existent in these playoffs (and much of this season for that matter) and there's only so much that a winger can do defensively, even one as strong as Nash. 

 

Nash has also made some terrible blunders in this series including this turnover on the power play leading to a backbreaking shorthanded goal.

 

Henrik Lundqvist was absolutely dejected after that goal. He'd stood on his head for much of the game (and series) to that point but this looked like a breaking point. I think he bounces back but it wouldn't surprise me if he packed it in after an early goal in game five.

 

On the positive side of things, the Rangers finally beat Marc-Andre Fleury. If they can find more than 15 shots next time out they might win another game.

 

*

 

I've got to say, thank goodness for the Montreal Canadiens because it sure does look like we are heading towards a repeat of last spring's Conference Finals with LA and Chicago both leading out West, while Pittsburgh is up and the Bruins are a potential Conference Finalist as well. For parity's sake, let's all jump on the Habs' bandwagon.

 

What do you think? Would you prefer to see a repeat of the Conference Finals or is it nice to see some new blood in there?

 

*

 

Check out Brendan Ross' latest prospect ramblings.

 

*

 

Elliotte Friedman with some gems in his latest 30 Thoughts.


11. Pure speculation on my part, absolute guesswork: Paul Holmgren said this week one of the reasons Vincent Lecavalier struggled is because Peter Laviolette, who recruited him, left, and Lecavalier wasn’t a fit in Craig Berube’s system. Is there a trade fit now that Laviolette is in Nashville? Flyers would probably have to eat a good chunk of his salary, but Holmgren and Poile have a history of getting deals done.

 

Not sure landing in Nashville would help resuscitate Lecavalier. Think Dany Heatley going to Minnesota. Once you're toast, you can't go back.

 

*