Widespread playoff upsets so shocking

In professional sports playoffs are
generally unpredictable. This year’s NHL playoffs are wrecking havoc with most
predictions.

The chaos starts out East where two
of the top teams in the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins were
eliminated in the first two rounds. Both fell at the hands of the Montreal Canadians,
the eighth seed in the conference and a side that never looked strong during
the season.

In addition the sport’s two best
players at the moment (in Washington’s
Alexander Ovechkin and Pittsburgh’s
Sidney Crosby) were upstaged by arguably the hottest goalie in the playoffs now
in Jaroslav Halak.

From there the third seed New
Jersey Devils were knocked out in the opening round along with fourth seed the
Buffalo Sabres. Their successors, the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins
respectively, slugged it out and went to a game seven last week. 

Out West the San Jose Sharks are
finally the threat they had been acclaimed to be for so many years. Thanks to a
magical post-season from Joe Pavelski, the Sharks ripped up Colorado
and Detroit (a
perennial Stanley Cup threat). Goal-scoring phenom Pavelski sums up the
excitement around San Jose
right now.

“It’s good to see pucks go in the
net,” Pavelski said. “It’s good to work hard and get rewarded. It always feels
good to chip in. There’s a lot more to go though. We’ve just been prepared to
work. We have more than enough skill on the line, so when we give the effort,
the skill usually comes out and takes over.”

Their opponents in the conference
finals are the Chicago Blackhawks, not quite a surprise. The side took down a
game Nashville team before repeating last year’s
history and beating Vancouver
in the semi-finals. Patrick Kane has been solid up front but the team has
really shined with Antti Niemi in net.

With defending champions Pittsburgh out, the door is open for a team to break the
stranglehold Pittsburgh and Detroit have had on the Cup the last few
years. Montreal has the best goalie at present and are clearly the favourites
now out East. Meanwhile, though it should be a tough six game series, Chicago has the inside
track. 

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