Almost forgot that the second round starts tonight.
We can’t do another contest with only four series in play … too much bookkeeping, especially since ya boys are going to have me running around.
I’m still interested to see your picks.
Here are mine:
Bruins over Rangers in 7.
Senators over Penguins in 7.
Sharks over Kings in 6.
Blackhawks over Red Wings in 6.
Also, here’s my Game 7 story from The Journal News and LoHud.com today:
By Rick Carpiniello
WASHINGTON — The reference point for these Rangers is always going to be last season, when they won games like this, when they won almost all the important games, it seemed, in the most impressive ways.
How they blocked shots and made life difficult for opponents in all three zones. And — the most endearing quality — how when games got nasty, when opponents took liberties, how the Rangers played better, dialed it up.
That’s how the Rangers played in Game 7 of their first-round series against Washington Monday night — a full-bore 5-0 victory that sends them into a playoff series with Boston for the first time since Bobby Orr played against Brad Park 40 years ago. That series starts Thursday and Sunday in Boston.
The Rangers (A) won a Game 7 on the road for the first time in franchise history; (B) came back from an 0-2 series deficit to win for just the second time; and (C) came back from 2-3 down to win for the third time.
They now have to be considered dangerous.
Henrik Lundqvist was hands-down the most valuable player in this series, throwing the shutout to keep the Rangers alive in Game 6, allowing a single goal in regulation in Games 3 and 5 combined, then tossing this beaut in Game 7 — his third seventh-game victory in the Rangers’ last four playoff series. He didn’t allow a goal after Mike Ribeiro’s overtime score ended Game 5.
“I think we felt we were playing so well that we could turn this around,” Lundqvist said.
“Just a fun way to turn around. It’s a lot of hard work and it paid off. A lot of guys paid the price, blocking shots and taking hits, and did all the right things to get it done.”
Ryan McDonagh wore the Broadway Hat afterward, awarded by Lundqvist. In the first period, he got blasted into the boards from behind by Alex Ovechkin, on a predatory shift in which he took three runs at Rangers. McDonagh suffered gashes on his forehead and his cheek, got stitched up, and came right back. He continued, along with Dan Girardi, to shut down Ovechkin.
“It’s a big part of playoff hockey,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said about McDonagh in particular and his team in general. “Ovechkin was trying to get his team going. I think it’s a penalty — it is a penalty. But it’s part of the game. We’ve talked about it right on through, because their power play is so good, a big part of being a tough team is taking hits to make a play. All our guys did.
“Danny and him got banged around a little bit, but they made the plays. That’s how it’s going to be. (Milan) Lucic is going to be coming after them in Boston; a number of people are going to be coming after them. That’s the way you have to play.”
The Rangers won this game with their plumbers. Their third- and fourth-liners frustrated the Capitals at both ends.
When Chris Kreider missed Capitals defenseman Mike Green, who walked in on a break, Lundqvist made the save. The Rangers countered. Kreider dropped a pass to Arron Asham, and Asham ripped a shot off Braden Holtby’s glove and in for a 1-0 lead in the first period.
In the second, Derek Dorsett hit a goalpost, then redirected a Steve Eminger shot, and Taylor Pyatt knocked in the rebound. You getting these names? Michael Del Zotto added a third goal minutes later. Ryan Callahan sealed it 13 seconds into the third, and Mats Zuccarello added another goal.