I don't even know what's real anymore. With all the news from the past few days and assessments coming in on how the Red Wings performed this season and expectations for the offseason, a break from our own team's issues should be a welcomed thing. But...
LAST NIGHT'S RECAP
WHY DO THE BAD TEAMS KEEP WINNING? The Penguins dominated the Rangers yesterday to close out their series with a 6-3 win. The Rangers never had a chance in this one, and one of the players we hate the most gets to move on to the second round. The Blackhawks pulled the same score on the Blues, after St. Louis lead that game 3-1. I mean, I suppose you never really should expect good things from the Blues in the post-season, but... ugh, so much hatred for the entire Blackhawks franchise and fanbase... Additionally, the Ducks topped the Predators to take a 3-2 series lead in the "Why Won't You Both Just Go Away" series. Yesterday could not have been more infuriating.
Match-Up #1: Washington Capitals at Philadelphia Flyers (Game 6), 12:00PM EDT - NBC
Remember, you can't spell "collapse" without C-A-P-S. The entire Red Wings team must have gone to DC to see how a real powerplay is run, sneezed on Ovie, and now the Capitals have the same snakebit luck that we've had for years. Washington threw everything, including the kitchen sink, several stray cats, a frisbee, two pumpkins, and three members of Congress, at Neuvirth. They still came up empty handed, not even one goal to show for it. Philly has a hot goalie, and that's a frightening thing in the post-season. At this point, there's no counting anyone out of this series.
|Alex Ovechkin||Nicklas Backstrom||T.J. Oshie|
|Andre Burakovsky||Evgeny Kuznetsov||Justin Williams|
|Jason Chimera||Mike Richards||Marcus Johansson|
|Daniel Winnik||Jay Beagle||Tom Wilson|
|Karl Alzner||Matt Niskanen|
|Nate Schmidt||John Carlson|
|Dmitri Orlov||Taylor Chorney|
|Braden Holtby (starting)|
|Brayden Schenn||Claude Giroux||Wayne Simmonds|
|Jakub Voracek||Michael Raffl||Sam Gagner|
|Colin McDonald||Nick Cousins||Matt Read|
|Chris VandeVelde||Pierre-Edouard Bellemare||Ryan White|
|Nick Schultz||Mark Streit|
|Andrew MacDonald||Shayne Gostisbehere|
|Brandon Manning||Radko Gudas|
|Michal Neuvirth (starting)|
|Steve Mason (hot-dog water)|
Why You Care Enough To Watch: You're going to hate-watch this one. Washington should have closed this out in 4, but Philly keeps finding ways to hang on. If the Hockey Gods are just, they will deliver a painful death to the Flyers' season today. Then again, if they were just, they would have let Pavel lift one more Cup this offseason. If the Caps lose this one, I'm becoming a Hockey Athiest. And also laughing uncontrollably at how hard hockey fails in Washington.
Match-Up #2: Dallas Stars at Minnesota Wild (Game 6), 3:00PM EDT - NBC
We all knew that Dallas isn't the most complete team in the post-season, but WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE? Minnesota has managed to take 2 games in this series, and could take a third today if Dallas can't figure out how to score 7 goals per game again. The combination of Lehtonen and Niemi might be the worst goalie tandem in the league, so don't expect any help from the Dallas net to close this series out. I'm starting to think that if the Stars are going to let a team as bad as the Wild back into this series, maybe they don't deserve to make the 2nd round...
|Jamie Benn||Cody Eakin||Patrick Sharp|
|Mattias Janmark||Jason Spezza||Valeri Nichushkin|
|Antoine Roussel||Radek Faksa||Ales Hemsky|
|Colton Sceviour||Vernon Fiddler||Patrick Eaves|
|Alex Goligoski||John Klingberg|
|Johnny Oduya||Stephen Johns|
|Kris Russell||Jason Demers|
|Antti Niemi (starting maybe?)|
|Kari Lehtonen (honestly it doesn't really matter)|
|Mikael Granlund||Mikko Koivu||David Jones|
|Jason Zucker||Charlie Coyle||Jordan Schroeder|
|Nino Niederreiter||Erik Haula||Jason Pominville|
|Chris Porter||Jarret Stoll||Kurtis Gabriel|
|Ryan Suter||Jared Spurgeon|
|Marco Scandella||Nate Prosser|
|Jonas Brodin||Mathew Dumba|
|Devan Dubnyk (starting)|
Why You Care Enough To Watch: Yes, we got dominated in our series... and that hurts to admit. But you know what's even more painful? Being the top team in your division and getting rocked by a truly bad wild-card team. I can't advocate cheering for the Wild, because nobody should ever support something this terrible. BUT, drinking the tears of crushed Dallas fans seems to have a certain appeal to it.
Match-Up #3: Florida Panthers at New York Islanders (Game 6), 7:00PM EDT - NBCSN, MSG+, SUN
Unpredictability continues to be the norm in this series. The Islanders took the series lead in Game 5, but both teams have won both at home and away in this one, so Game 6 in New York is in no way a sure thing for the Islanders. Both teams have been playing at break-neck speeds in this series, which makes for really entertaining viewing.
|Jonathan Huberdeau||Aleksander Barkov||Jaromir Jagr|
|Jussi Jokinen||Nick Bjugstad||Reilly Smith|
|Jiri Hudler||Greg McKegg||Teddy Purcell|
|Garrett Wilson||Derek MacKenzie||Logan Shaw|
|Michael Matheson||Aaron Ekblad|
|Dmitry Kulikov||Erik Gudbranson|
|Brian Campbell||Alex Petrovic|
|Roberto Luongo (starting)|
New York Islanders
|Frans Nielsen||John Tavares||Kyle Okposo|
|Nikolay Kulemin||Brock Nelson||Josh Bailey|
|Shane Prince||Alan Quine||Ryan Strome|
|Matt Martin||Casey Cizikas||Cal Clutterbuck|
|Nick Leddy||Travis Hamonic|
|Thomas Hickey||Johnny Boychuk|
|Calvin de Haan||Marek Zidlicky|
|Thomas Greiss (starting)|
Why You Care Enough To Watch: This one has been fun to watch from the get-go. Both teams make enough mistakes to be in genuine trouble from better squads, but luckily they're facing each other and they can sometimes get away with some riskier stuff. It makes for a really exciting brand of hockey that hasn't been seen much lately. Without having a clear favorite on either side, watch this one from the edge of your seat.