Welcome to Night 1 of my 2011 NHL Playoff diary as the Canucks, Red Wings, Capitals, Predators, and Penguins all pick up wins on the opening night of the big show. I want to have my own Doogie Howser moment on my blog every night for the playoffs. Having predicted a Canucks-Capitals Stanley Cup finals, I am on my way to validation. Though, picking the top two seeds to win their Conference isn't exactly going out on a limb. The San Jose Sharks are my next favourite team, one of the NHL's best in the second half thanks to production from Marleau, Pavelski, and Setoguchi.
Here is my brief recap of Night 1.
Vancouver beats Chicago: The Canucks are going to win this series, and the difference between this year and last is clearly the lack of Dustin Byfuglien. Luongo played great, the Sedin twins did not, but goals from Chris Higgins and Janik Hansen powered Van to a 2-0 victory. (Van leads series 1-0)
Detroit beats Phoenix: No Zetterberg, no problem. Johan Franzen's 2 points helped the Wings secure a come from behind 4-2 victory. The Coyotes might have been doomed from day 1, as it was announced today that the franchise would move to Winnipeg after this season, but the NHL was quick to come out and deny the "allegation". (Det leads series 1-0)
Washington beats New York: The ref probably should have blown his whistle before the puck went into the net on the late game tying goal, but that doesn't change the fact that I gave the Rangers virtually no chance of winning the series and my opinion remains the same. (Wsh leads series 1-0)
Nashville beats Anaheim: As exciting as the Perry-Getzlaf-Ryan line has been, Dan Ellis is not going to beat Pekka Rhinne in a 7 game series. Nashville had a rare explosion of offense against the Ducks in a 4-1 win, led by Mr. Carrie Underwood's 2 goals. Mike Fischer provided very little production after arriving in Nashville, but if he helps him win a playoff series he was worth the 1st round pick. (Nsh leads series 1-0)
Pittsburgh beats Tampa Bay: It is astonishing to me how well Pittsburgh has continued to play without Crosby and Malkin. Thanks to Jordan Staal, Kris Letang, and Marc-Andre Fleury, this team wins hockey games, and blanked the offensive juggernaut in Tampa in a 3-0 victory. If Crosby returns, this could get interesting and make for a great story. (Pit leads series 1-0)