I wanted to write a quick blog regarding the (awesome) playoffs thus far - especially since our hopes are high that the Panthers can get things moving in the right direction and be in the post-season next year.
Are you watching?
As Panthers fans, what are your thoughts and who are you pulling for?
I love this time of year and this post-season has proven that it doesn't matter what record/ability you come in with...if you can make it into the playoffs, anything can happen.
So many fun upsets, starting with the sweeps of Tampa and Pittsburgh. SWEEPS! I'd guess 95% of the hockey community had CBJ getting eliminated by the Lightning and probably a pretty large percentage had the Penguins knocking out the Islanders.
I can't forget about the Stars knocking out the Preds, too!
And how about the Hurricanes forcing a game seven tonight against the Capitals? I did not see that coming. HockeyBuzz member and resident Canes expert, BINGO!, must be super pumped. Truth be told, I think it's sweet, too. Imagine if they knock out the defending champs?
I was pulling for Toronto, but didn't really care all that much for that series to be honest.
And, of course, there was last night's game seven between the Sharks and Knights...
Never in a million years did I think the Sharks were going to come back being down 3-0 as the clock ticked away in the third.
Then it happened...
A five-minute major penalty (now hotly debated amongst the hockey community) led to the doors being blown off the Tank last night with the Sharks taking full advantage and scoring four times in about four minutes.
The Knights tied it in the dying minute of the third, but the Sharks would ultimately get the W in OT.
As I mentioned above, the penalty
Cody Eakin took that led to the Sharks surge, has been the center of debate in the hockey community since last night. Fans seem split on whether it was the right call or not.
Regardless of how you feel about it, it was a scary moment seeing Joe Pavelski laying on the ice like that in obvious distress. Hopefully he has a speedy recovery and can come back this post-season.
Former Panther Sounds Off
After the game, former-Panther Jonathan Marchessault had some comments about the outcome.
"It's a f---ing joke. To call five minutes for that? It changed the whole outcome of the game."
"Like, seriously, what is that? It's so disappointing. The game's not even close. It's 3-0. Call a [two-minute minor]? OK. But a five? For something you don't even see? You just call the outcome. It's a f---ing joke. It's embarrassing. That's what it is."
Regarding ref Eric Furlatt and the officiating:
"Furlatt said, 'It looks pretty bad.' If it looks pretty bad, then clearly you did not see it. It's a faceoff. It's a push. Probably 50 percent of the faceoffs, players -- if they lose -- they probably give a small cross-check, right? If you want to call the cross-check, fine, call it. It's a cross-check. But seriously, he falls bad. It's unfortunate. Don't get me wrong: I'm a huge fan of Joe Pavelski. And he went down, and I really hope he's OK and he comes back. But that call changes the whole outcome. It changes the whole future of us and the outcome this year. It's a joke. I would be embarrassed if I was them."
When asked if he thought the game was stolen from them:
“If it was stolen? Yeah. It was 3-0, with 10 or 12 minutes left. They scored four goal(s) on the power play. They came clutch. They feed off the bad call, they come back, 4-3, and get the big goal in overtime. You have to give them credit at some point. They’re a great hockey team. But it’s embarrassing.”
What do you guys think of his comments?
Keep in mind that it's right after losing a game seven and being eliminated from the the playoffs. So I understand his frustration, and it was nice to hear him acknowledge that he hopes Pavelski will be OK, and to credit the Sharks for battling back. However, I disagree a bit about the game being "stolen."
The reason I don't really feel it was "stolen" is because the Knights were up in the series 3-1 at one point. They also controlled 95% of the game last night and had a 3-0 lead almost to the halfway point of the third. I think the Sharks were also something like 0-4 on the PP last night before getting the major one.
Maybe it's just a case of hindsight being 20-20 for me. No doubt that the penalty ignited the Sharks, but what happened to the Vegas defense? They had the Sharks on the ropes with about 10 minutes left. How come the Knights didn't close out the series back when they were up 3-1? Etc., etc...
I don't know, as someone really not invested in either team, it was just exciting to watch and one of those moments that might not come around again for some time - if ever.
Last week, NHL.com announced their finalists for the Lady Byng finalists
and out guy Aleksander Barkov is in the mix with Sean Monahan from Calgary and Ryan O'Reilly of the Blues.
I always thought the Lady Byng trophy was pretty cool. In a game that can be gritty and emotional, representing what the Lady Byng is all about can probably be a tough thing to do. Being able to consistently demonstrate sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct while performing at a high level in a physical game has to be tough.
This little blurb (below) from the article about Barkov is pretty awesome. What an incredible season!
"Barkov, a 23-year-old center, set a Panthers record with 96 points (35 goals, 61 assists), passing Pavel Bure (94 in 1999-00). He led Florida in multipoint games (eight), ranked second in the NHL in takeaways (100) and was tied for fifth in minor penalties drawn (34). Barkov is the fourth Finland-born player in NHL history with at least 90 points in a season, joining Olli Jokinen, Teemu Selanne and Jari Kurri.
He was fourth among forwards in average ice time (22:21) and was assessed four minor penalties and eight penalty minutes, tied for second-fewest in the NHL with teammate Evgenii Dadonov among those who played 82 games. He's a Lady Byng finalist for third time in four seasons and could become the second Panthers player to win the award. Defenseman Brian Campbell won in 2011-12."
Get it done, Barky!
Hope you guys have a good day and as always...