With all of the conference quarterfinal series now wrapped up, we now have our conference semifinal playoff matchups set.
Philadelphia vs. NY Islanders
Tampa Bay vs. Boston
Vegas vs. Vancouver
Colorado vs. Dallas
Look for our Round 2 Expert Panel playoff picks coming up later this weekend. They may be posted after Game 1 of the Colorado/Dallas series, which starts today (Saturday) but not long after. So yes, no break from the hockey after all.
Philadelphia 3, Montreal 2 (Philadelphia wins series 4-2)
The Habs probably deserved a better fate in Game 6, as they doubled the Flyers in both shots on goal (33-17) and shot attempts (71-35). Regardless, they had a great run for a team that entered the play-in tournament as a #12 seed. And perhaps the future looks brighter in Montreal than it did before this play-in tournament started.
Even though the Flyers will be moving on, they have had their fill of Nick Suzuki. The rookie center scored both Canadiens goals, which gives him multiple points in back-to-back games. Suzuki also led the Habs with six shots in this game. He finishes the playoffs with seven points in ten games – one of my better playoff pool performers in spite of his late-round pick. Seeing him improve as he has been gaining more NHL experience, there's real potential for him to grow on his 41-point rookie season.
Jonathan Drouin and Joel Armia assisted on both of Suzuki's goals. Drouin takes a lot of criticism for injuries and unfulfilled promise, but he actually tied Suzuki for the team scoring lead in the playoffs. There was some good chemistry here, so the Habs might be wise to keep these two together next season. Check out the thread-the-needle pass from Drouin to Suzuki on the second goal.