Here's my theory on the Devils 5-4 Game 1 loss at the hands of the Senators last night, so strap yourself in and get ready. I think the Devils have been through every conceivable playoff situation over the past decade, so last night they wanted to try something different. They said, "How about we go down by 4 goals early and try to come back and win?" They've already tried a 4 goal deficit early in the 3rd (vs. Pittsburgh in Game 1 back in 1999--Karl and I were there, and no they didn't win), but they wanted to give themselves more time for a comeback last night. (I didn't say it was a GOOD theory.) Well, they almost succeeded . . . but that doesn't take anything away from the fact that they sucked. I had a bad feeling going into this game, and despite the fact that they fought back to make it a game, I don't feel good about this series. There's never been a bigger must-win than Game 2 tomorrow night.
The Rangers, meanwhile, put up a valient effort for about a poeriod and a half in Game 1 before the Sabres broke the game wide open. Buffalo is sort of like lighting a damp fuse on a stick of dynamite; you know it's probably going to explode, you're just not sure when. To be fair, the Rangers are playing with 4½ defensemen (as Kenny Albert succintly put it), after losing Rozsival to an injury and putting in Rachunek after a lengthy absence, so Henrik can't stop these guys all by himself.
Meanwhile, I'm standing by the Sharks, they're still my pick out West after shutting out Detroit 2-0 in Game 1. One interesting tidbit I gleaned from this game: Pat Rissmiller, a 4th line left winger for the Sharks who played 79 games this season and had an assist last night, is the first player from Holy Cross to make it to the NHL. 'SADER NATION!
I love clicking around on old SI.com page looking for time capsule articles. How about: Sabres not flashy, but heading to finals--could it happen again (*gasp*)? Imagine if this happened today: Flyers-Leafs game marred by racial accusation. We'd have 24/7 non-stop news about it, and Reverend Al McInnis would be in the Canadian headlines every day! Then there's: Beer ingrained in hockey culture. Man, I can't wait for happy hour today.
Of course, there's also this quote: "Brett Hull scored at 14:51 of the third overtime, putting a rebound past weary Dominik Hasek on the edge of the crease as the Dallas Stars won hockey's biggest prize as much by exhaustion as execution, outlasting the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 Saturday night." See, Kris? The EDGE of the crease. Not IN the crease. So it's okay.
Here it is, my final playoff blognostication™: Sharks over Sabres in 7 games.
(Sorry, The Biggest Sabres Fan in France.)