VANCOUVER, CANADA - MAY 5: Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates after drawing an assist on teammate Dustin Byfuglien's #33 goal against the Vancouver Canucks during the second period in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 5, 2010 at General Motors Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Rookie goaltenders carrying their team deep into the playoffs is nothing new. Cam Ward is probably the most famous case of that in recent memory, with his performance helping the Carolina Hurricanes win the Stanley Cup. This year's story is Boston Bruins goalie, Tuukka Rask.
What the Bruins are proving is that any team can go deep in the playoffs; it all revolves around them getting hot at the right time. Earlier in the year we all cited that many teams were going to have issues because of the lack of experience of their goaltenders. The Bruins were on that list from the get-go, especially since they were last in the NHL in scoring. The assumption was that Rask was not going to be able keep the low-scoring Bruins afloat against the Buffalo Sabres.
But Rask was solid, brilliant in fact, and now he is 7-2 in the playoffs. The Bruins have a 3-0 lead on the Philadelphia Flyers, and they don't seem at all poised to give a game up.
On the other side of things the Montreal Canadiensused their home ice advantage to help tie their series at two. The Canadiens, another surprising second round team, beat Pittsburgh last night 4-3. You can also cite the fact that goalie Jaroslav Halakhas kept the Candians in contention, bailing out the Habs at every turn. Wouldn't it be interesting to see a Bruins-Habs match-up in the conference finals?
Join me after the jump for more.
Out West is a different story. Although the Detroit Red Wingsgot their first win of the second round last night--on the heels of a four goal two assist performance by Frazen--the San Jose Sharksare still up 3-1 with the series going back to San Jose. Joe Thornton finally seems to be getting his playoff grove helping the Sharks get off to their huge lead. The move to obtain Danny Heatley also seems to be paying off as Heatley has been everything and more that the Sharks could have dreamt of when they acquired him. This might be the year that the Sharks make their way to the finals.
And the final series is the Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks. The "two three" series in the West has been everything the NHL could have wanted--which is kinda a surprise after the romping Vancouver gave Chicago in game one. But Patrick Kane and Jonathzn Toews have kept the Blackhawks into contention. I originally predicted this series to go to seven games, which is looking better and better as time goes on.
Basically the point I am trying to make is that this year's playoffs have been full of more twists and turns than a roller coaster. It's basically anyone's game, and anyone's series. And although both the Bruins and the Sharks seem to have their series wrapped up don't forget that it isn't over till it's over. Anything can happen, and incidentally that's the point.