To borrow a phrase from Logan Couture: That’s one.
Off to a good start, the San Jose Sharks are up in their second round series against the Colorado Avalanche. Along with the Carolina Hurricanes strangely entertaining 1-0 overtime win over the New York Islanders last night, the second round seems pretty chalky compared to the rank anarchy of round one. As yet, though, it has only been one game, and everything can still go horribly awry any minute.
The second round of the NHL playoffs is undoubtedly my favorite; two games every day? Sign me up. Four is too many, and one is not enough. There are a few hiccups in the regular schedule this round, which are probably due to arena commitments, so we won’t only be talking about the same teams every off day, but today we’ll get another dose of these four.
What’s on tap
Dallas Stars at St. Louis Blues Game 2 (STL leads 1-0)
12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET on NBC, SN, TVAS
The Blues took Game 1 in a predictably tight checking affair, with the suffocating Stars holding their hosts to just 20 shots on goal. Even the Stars’ 27 shots on goal look more active than they are, as 16 of them came in the third period, forcing Blues goalie Jordan Binnington to stand tall (all goalies are tall, I know) to keep his compatriots in the contest. Anything short of another win at home will be seen as disappointing to the Blues, who ended the season as the hottest team in the NHL.
Columbus Blue Jackets at Boston Bruins (BOS leads 1-0)
5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET on NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS
While the Bruins walked away with the win, the Blue Jackets showed glimpses of the team that knocked off the Presidents’ Trophy winners in four games in round one. Columbus scored two goals just 13 seconds apart in the third period to tie the game at one and then take the lead in a display of how dangerous they can really be. While Boston eventually triumphed in overtime, Game 2 should be a little wilder now that the teams have gotten a sense of each other’s styles.
Vladimir Tarasenko: With two goals in Game 1, including the game winner, Tarasenko is putting his disappointing season behind him. It was his seventh multi-goal game in an NHL playoff contest. 68 points in 76 games would be impressive for most players, but for Tarasenko this season was a definitive step back, and a return to form during the postseason would be welcome.
Charlie Coyle: The former Sharks prospect scored the heroic game tying goal for the Bruins with just 4:35 remaining in the third, and the even more heroic game winning goal 5:15 into the overtime period. The Bruins are getting depth scoring and, if that can persist in addition to the dominance of their top trio, they may be the best team on paper left standing. We all know what’s happening to teams that are good on paper, though.
Stars-Blues Game 1 was more exciting than it had any right to be, considering how few shots on goal there were. As long as the Tarasenk-show is on television, it’s a hard one to miss, and if Ben Bishop can return to his round one form, this could be a clash of NHL titans in the making.
What are you watching?