And for perhaps the first time ever, the Jets are a serious Stanley Cup threat. Sin City was celebrating in a big way in the lead up to the game.
The Flyers' top line was outplayed so badly that it screams for coach Dave Hakstol to make a change. "He's going to stop it if he sees it". Is THIS the Caps' year? That means a $10 bet on the Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup would win a bettor $2,000.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs get underway tonight and EA Sports has again tried to predict their outcome using a simulation within National Hockey League 18.
It would be unfair to pin all of the blame for the Game 1 loss on goalies Brian Elliott and Petr Mrazek because the Flyers ... well ... they weren't good. Pittsburgh C Derick Brassard, who missed time late in the regular season with a lower-body injury, had an assist in 13:44. He plays almost 27 minutes a night for the Wild, so good luck. The Kings have lots of talent on their team with star defensemen Drew Doughty, Alec Martinez, and Anze Kopitar, who got 92 points this season, Jeff Carter, star goalie Jonathan Quick and others.
To wrap up the rest of the Western Conference, the Winnipeg Jets and their balanced team bring the right mix of goals and hard-nosed defense against a solid but average Minnesota Wild.
Six years later, it would be foolish to expect the same sort of goonery, but don't be surprised if the Pens and Flyers engage in another constantly entertaining, offense-friendly battle.
In the final first round matchup, we have teams that are pretty similar.
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Part of me is very tempted to predict the Flyers as a team that gets blown out by seven goals should have sufficient motivation the next time out.
"We just had too many holes and if you have holes in your game, that team is going to drive a truck through them", Hakstol said. The Penguins are 8-1 in their last nine Eastern Conference quarterfinal games. Down 4-1 halfway through the third period, the Bruins pulled off an insane comeback, winning 5-4 in overtime to claim the series.
Exhausted of scoring goals like a normal human, this is just the latest display of Crosby's mastery of the arts of hockey. Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs are lead by a three-headed monster of youth. He now has 32 goals on the year and 60 career goals in the postseason. He scored again three minutes later, giving the Penguins their final goal. Yes, it's only one game, but in a playoff series, you don't have the luxury of waiting to see if things will turn around.Hakstol needs to react. But one game you don't panic. In games in which they allowed at least five goals this season, the Flyers went 7-5-2 in their next contest... Look for Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos to lead the Bolts over the New Jersey Devils easily.
Pittsburgh's first goal was a bad rebound from Elliott, he couldn't cut down a deflection that went under his arm on the second goal and let in a stoppable backhand from Evgeni Malkin on the third.
Then again, if the Penguins play like they did on Wednesday night it may not even matter who the goalie is. Claude Giroux led the team this year with 34 goals, while 2nd was Sean Couturier with 31 and 3rd was Travis Konecny and Wayne Simmonds, who both had 24. "The other things, we'll have to do through a little bit of video, a little bit of discussion, and mostly just clearing the mind and getting the focus back on Game 2". However, in reality, I've accepted that they'll get to the second round and lose.
The Blue Jackets made a key acquisition over the offseason acquiring Artemi Panarin from the Chicago Blackhawks. However, they'll definitely get rolled in the second round by Pittsburgh - you heard it here first.