Everybody looking forward to the weekend?
Partying partying, yeah?
Well I'll tell you who isn't partying. The Los Angeles Kings, that's who. LA finally lost on home ice again and now they have a 3-1 series deficit. They'll have to win a road playoff game in Chicago on Saturday if they're going to keep their playoff run alive.
The game last night was close, but the right team won, as far as the right team being the one I think did a better job at hockeying. Both teams got a goal their netminder probably should have stopped, but either LA ran out of gas in the third or Chicago simply wore them down. Either way, Marian Hossa's one timer from the top of the faceoff circle on a cross-ice pass was your game winner and the Kings only put two shots on net in the third period.
Chicago might tell you they didn't miss Duncan Keith, but that's a damned lie. Sheldon Brookbank was absolutely awful, going -2 in a 3-2 win. Chicago survived because he only got 6:50 of ice time. You might be able to pull that for one game (which thankfully for them is all Keith earned in suspensions), but that's an anchor they escaped.
Also not partying: the Pittsburgh Penguins. Tonight (at 8:00pm on the usual channels), the Penguins look to avoid being swept by a Bruins squad that's been taking them to the woodshed. Game 3 was the closest of the series and there's reason to believe Pittsburgh pulls this one off, but they've got to win four straight now.
There are people who think Bylsma's job is in jeopardy if the Penguins don't make a showing out of this series at least. I don't know if it's necessarily that dire, but Bylsma has taken a talented roster and made them into a goon squad whose sole tactic is to waste time until Crosby or Malkin can take over a game. When you run into a good defensive team, they run out of steam.
Both of the Penguins opponents in the first two rounds were able to intermittently expose what's either a bad game plan or a roster that simply isn't as good on the back end as people thought (it could be goaltending and I'm not looking into the numbers, but the eyeball test says Vokoun has been doing as well as he can under the circumstances he faces). Since the difference between a decent team and a contender is how consistently they're able to follow a game plan, Boston has been able to more-consistently expose these problems with the Penguins.
Prediction: Pittsburgh gets the bounces in this one and Malkin breaks through. Boston shows cracks in their composure as the Penguins win 4-1 and the MSM finds somebody on the Bruins they think should be suspended for his actions tonight.