How the West Is Won: Blues, Sharks Advance via Tense Games 7
NHL Commish Gary Bettman still isn't the most popular dude when he makes on-ice appearances.
Strikes and lockouts will cause that.
Gotta say, though, dude believed a hard salary cap would create parity, and that's definitely happened this season.
- All four division winners didn't make it past the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and
- Two of them fell to each division's wild-card entries.
So far this spring, there have been 15 playoff games that have gone into overtime.
Nine of them have been in the West, with two going to double-overtime and another that coulda if the most minor of details had not happened.
There's no margin for error out there.
Gabriel Landeskog, of all skaters, lapsed for a mere moment, and it cost the Colorado Avalanche a goal in their Game 7 showdown in San José
Chaos Theory suggests that it may have only been one of a thousand random events and thus not directly affecting the outcome, but given that the Sharks won, 3-2, the Av's captain's mistake did kinda stand out:
Yes, it's a BS call. Dude had absolutely nothing to do with the action in a sport where player changes on the fly is a routine part of the game. However, with the Big Brother application of replay in sports, players have gotta be aware of the consequences.
And yes, San José had a goal disallowed, too, but Colin Wilson's was vanilla.
Waiting for them will be the St Louis Blues, who put together two of the hardest-skating periods -- the second and third -- that the NHL's seen all season.
For example, the Blues' dominance in shots on goal in the third period was 12-2.
After each surrendered a goal in the first period, dudes stood on their respective next three periods before Patrick Maroon knocked in a rebound in the second overtime for a 2-1 triumph and a continuance of the dream to claim their first-ever Stanley Cup:
Of course, there's no guarantee either's ambition will be realized this season. Boston or Carolina will figure into the equation before that.
The battle to win the West, though, looks to be anything but a shootout. It's shaping up to be the sorta clash grinder and goalie fans are gonna love.