This has certainly been one of the more fun first rounds in recent playoff memory.
- The Flames lost in five games to the Avalanche. Not sure I saw that happening.
- The Islanders defeated the Penguins in four straight. Didn’t have that happening in four.
- The Blue Jackets handled the Lightning in four straight. See above.
You get the idea. Those three things probably weren’t slated to happen, and if they were to happen, they were probably going to be a seven game affair.
They weren’t. Everything went sideways for a handful of teams in the first round of the playoffs this year. And, it would behoove the Oilers to pay attention, because sometimes teams who have great expectations fall short. Sometimes, those fallen expectations turn into rash decisions. The Leafs just lost to the Bruins. Who knows what happens there.
Predicted by most to at least get through the first round, the Tampa Bay Lighting won an incredible 62 games out of an 82 game season en route to a President’s Trophy season. They got busted by the Blue Jackets in four games, who weren’t sure they were a playoff team like six days before the end of the season. Steve Yzerman is back in Detroit, which leaves Pat Verbeek and a whole lot of other people scratching their head.
I don’t think anyone would’ve thought it was nuts to see the Islanders emerge from this series. I don’t think anyone thought it would happen in four games, or that Pittsburgh would be held to just six goals on the series. Pittsburgh looks silly after finishing with a 100 point season, while Sidney Crosby is held to a single assist in four playoff games.
Nobody likes Calgary. The Flames are likely looking for answers after finishing the season atop the Western Conference in points, but flashed out of the first round in five games. After winning game one over the Avalanche by a 4-0 margin, the Flames scored just seven goals in their next four games.
What do all these teams have in common? They got smoked in round one. Now, will they do something to address that, or will they make a minor move or two over the next couple of months? There’s a significant chance that the Maple Leafs could fire Mike Babcock or trade Nazem Kadri or do some really wacky stuff if things don’t go their way this season. Maybe the Lightning decide they need some team toughness. Maybe the Flames need some extra jam on their fourth line.
The point is: the Oilers need to be ready to exploit any ridiculousness that shows up in the league. Maybe Vegas will want to move out something, anything for some team toughness if things go sideways tonight.
Be ready for the weird when things don’t go as planned.