Alberta & Florida Battles Underway  -  Canes Epic Comeback - The Jewish Voice
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Alberta & Florida Battles Underway  –  Canes Epic Comeback

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Alberta & Florida Battles Underway  –  Canes Epic Comeback

 

By:  Marvin A. Azrak

Game one of round two of the Stanley cup playoffs have come and gone, with the Lightning being the lone road winners, while the Avalanche and Hurricanes needed overtime to begin their series, and the Flames scored a whopping nine goals in their victory to start the battle of Alberta.

Takeaways from game 1(East)

BOLT UP:

This is why the Lightning are the two time reigning Stanley Cup champions. On the strength of three power play goals, Corey Perry, Nikita Kucherov, and Ross Colton, and the go-ahead goal by Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, as well as 33 saves by Andrew Vasilevsky took the series opener 4-1 in sunrise. This follows the same script as last years playoff meeting between the two Floridians, meaning the Bolts are slated to take game two as well. As for Florida, they fell to Washington in game one before winning 5 of 6, and have to take solace in the fact this game was 1-1 5V5.

 

RALEIGHWOOD:

There wasn’t much to cheer about through 40 minutes for the Caniacs, as they trailed the Rangers 1-0, were being outshot 23-14, and weren’t doing much on the forecheck.

But as they’re expected to do throughout this series, the Canes turned the heat on in the third, and manhandled the Rangers, churning up the pressure and outshooting them 11-1, while also seeing a fortunate bounce when Kappo Kako missed a wide open net to keep it a 1-0 game. Then with 2:23 left, Sebastian Aho slipped behind the defense, and walked in on Igor who made a brilliant initial stop, but Aho stayed with it and roofed it up top to awaken PNC arena and send the contest to overtime. Luck proved to be on the Carolina side in the extra session, as Ian Cole got one to redirect off of Ryan Lindgren’s stick and into his own goal to win game one 2-1 for the Hurricanes. To illustrate the extravagant development that transpired in the third period, the Canes were at an 0.28 expected goals rate through 40 minutes, but at the climax were at 3.68, meaning Igor did indeed keep the Blueshirts in the contest stopping “1.68” goals above expected, and you can’t really blame the two that got by him on #31.

There’s no doubt here that Anti Raanta(25 saves, 1.78 goals saved above expected) helped Carolina steal this one. If I’m the Rangers, this is particularly devastating considering who knows if we’re going to see the Hurricanes sleepwalk through two periods like that once more. Granted, New York were stifling defensively and proactive in the neutral zone. However, the Rangers sat back a bit late in regulation, allowing high-danger Canes chances such as Nido Nierderreiter hitting the crossbar on a breakaway, prior to the game-tying tally by Aho.

As Jack Adam’s finalist Gerard Gallant of the New York rangers quipped, “I thought this was our best game of the year”, and it looked that way from a defensive standpoint for 57:37, before it unraveled.

 

Takeaways from Game 1(West) 5/5: The Avalanche peppered Jordan Binnington with 41 shots through 60 minutes, but the 2019 Stanley cup champ kept the Blues in the ballgame enough to get the contest to overtime. In the extra session, Colorado bludgeoned the Blues 12-0 in SOG, before Josh Manson wristed home the OT winner for a 3-2 Avalanche win on their 54th shot of the night. As for how this series will play out, I got Avs in 6.

 

FLAME UP, OIL OUT: Mike Smith had a start to forget and so did the Edmonton defense. If you want to take some Mussar/Hizuk from this 9-6 barnburner… it’s the importance of being punctual to things, which the Oilers have had issues with this year while Calgary typically hasn’t. It was 2-0 Flames within the series first 51 seconds and 3-0 moments later prompting a goaltending change. Mikko Koskinen didn’t fare better, as Calgary found the back of the net three more times to take a commanding 6-2 lead. However, Edmonton has astonishingly been able to outscore their mistakes, and did so with two quick Zach Hyman goals, cutting into the deficit.

As the second period came to a close, Leon Draisatiel capitalized on a nifty feed from Conner McDavid to pul the Oilers within 6-5 headed into the third period. Early in the final stanza, Kyle Yamamoto completed the comeback, and tied this goalfest at 6 apiece, but it took all of 29 seconds for Rasmus Anderson to break the tie, as he pounced on poor net-front coverage to give Calgary the lead again. Rattled, the Oilers became uncharacteristic in the defensive zone down the stretch, and Matthew Tkachuk took advantage with two unanswered goals, as his empty netter with 2:11 left sealed his hat trick, the difference in the Flames 9-6 game one win. But the best part of it is, the feisty and high-octane battle of Alberta is just getting started!

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