Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Wild first games of the Stanley Cup playoffs

Stanley Cup Playoff games started last night as 6 Western Conference Clubs battled for the win. Chicago Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild, LA Kings vs. St Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks vs. Detroit Red Wings.  The Stanley Cup playoff games are truly the best Hockey in the World.
Before these fast and furious games even started last night Goaltender Niklas Backstrom for the Wilds suffered a lower body injury during warm-ups which gave backup goalie Josh Harding the opportunity to play. Never excepting to get ice time so early in this first playoff game, Harding, who hasn’t played much this season, played a strong Hockey game against the Blackhawks. Last night was the first time these two teams, Blackhawks and Wild, have ever played each other in the Stanley Cup Finals.  The Blackhawks brought a lot of physicality from all angles last night but during the first period were not on top of their game with a lot of turn overs, it was a disappointing start for such a strong hockey team.  At the end of the first period the Blackhawks were down by one point and early in the second period they struggled to bring the game back, finally able to tie the game during a power play.  The Blackhawks began to turn their game around as they were generating more scoring chances.  The Wilds, who had only clinch a play off spot a little over 72 hours prior to this game, were putting up a solid hockey game. As the teams enter a very intense and physical third period the score was still tied 1-1. The Blackhawks were outshooting the Wild at 28 shots on goal for the Blackhawks and 20 shots on goal for the Wild. At the end of the 3rd period with the game still tied, 1-1, they headed into over time.  There are no shot outs in the playoffs, instead they will continue to play period until someone scores. Finally, the Blackhawks score and they have won their first game of this series.
The St. Louis Blues hosted the Stanley Cup defending champs, the LA Kings last night as they faced off in their first of seven meetings during round one of playoffs.  These two teams got off to a very exciting start.  During the first period the Blues out shot the Kings 14-2, and Blue came out of the first period with the lead, 1-0. Both sides of the ice got very physical as they pushed into the second period.  The Blues still out shooting the Kings 24-13 but still a 1-0 game. The Kings tied up the game in the third period as the physicality of the game continued and took these teams into over time. The winning goal for the Blues came during a line change and for the first time since the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs the Kings are the team that will have to rebound from a game 1 loss.
Last night the Anaheim Ducks faced off against the Detroit Red Wings, who exchanged 1st period power play goals for a tied game early on.  Both team brought the intensity to this game and came out hitting in the first period with the Ducks out shooting the Red Wings 7-6.  This will be the last time that the Red Wings travel three time zones away to compete in a first round series as the NHL realignment is scheduled for next season. The game remained tied in the 2nd period as they experienced a close call as a player got kicked in the head, no injury thankfully. During the third period the tie was broken by the Ducks veteran player, Teemu Selanne age 42 scores during a power play.  The Red Wings coach calls a timeout shortly there after a fan throws an octopus onto the ice. The Ducks win the next faceoff and are able to make the 180-foot shot into an empty Red Wings net.  The Anaheim Ducks win 3-1 in game 1.
Wondering why an octopus was thrown onto the ice in the Detroit Red Wings game.. History Lesson: The octopus first made its appearance on April 15, 1952, during the Red Wings' Stanley Cup playoff run.

Two Detroit brothers, Pete and Jerry Cusimano - storeowner's in Detroit's Eastern Market - threw the eight-legged cephalopod on the ice at Olympia Stadium. Each tentacle of the octopus was symbolic of a win in the playoffs. Back then, the NHL boasted only six teams, and eight wins (two best-of-seven series) were needed to win the Stanley Cup. The Red Wings swept the series that year, and the Octopus has come to be the good luck charm ever since.
The tradition carried over to Joe Louis Arena on opening night in 1979 when several found their way onto the ice.
During the 1995 playoffs, Bob Dubisky and Larry Shotwell, co-workers at a meat and seafood retail company near Detroit, tossed a 38-pound octopus onto the ice during the National Anthem prior to Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. The year after, the duo struck again with a 50-pounder in the Conference Finals. Although the feat received no airtime on the nationally broadcast game, the octopus was proudly displayed on the hood of the Zamboni between periods.
A very good start to the Stanley Cup playoffs last night, in their respective match-ups my predictions are for the Blackhawks, Kings and Red Wings to win the first round. Ladies and Gentlemen there is still more hockey to be played. Tonight we will see Toronto Maples Leafs vs the Boston Bruins, NY Islanders vs. Pittsburgh Penguins minus Crosby who will miss game one but the Penguins should still be able to manage a win. And, San Jose Sharks vs. Vancouver Canucks.

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