Playoff Time: Your Rant Man is Ready to ROLL!!

I'm excited, disappointed, and shocked. Looking at the way the first game (and some two) finished up, I've had my ups and downs of emotions. Stats from the regular season are suddenly meaningless. This is truly why the playoffs are the "Second Season". Proof is in the pudding folks.

San Jose and Calgary: For starters, I want to talk about this match-up because it seems so night and day when you compare the two games that we all just witnessed. Can you say with a serious face that San Jose is going to have an easy time in the playoffs with all the pressure of them being predicted to go to the finals? I hope your answers are a huge and emphatic 'No'. Any team that has the pressure built upon them from the spectators and critics to go on and compete in the Stanley Cup finals (which are about a month and a half away in scheduled reality) will feel the grip of impending doom if they get wrapped up in it. Just look at what happened in game one of the series. Calgary jumps up and squeezes out the "boo birds" at HP Pavilion. Granted the excitement came just beforehand when a flurry of activity occurred in front of Kiprusoff as San Jose tried a last ditch effort to tie. Ryan Clowe was the only play aside from the Kipper who showed up that night. The following night, it was a different story. Nabokov in the opposite goal gave the crowd something to shout and cheer about. The glove save that shocked everyone. Tim Peel, referee aka the water wings, on top of the net full body, looking down on the scrambling Mikka Kiprusoff blocking a ton of shots and bodies in his crease. Torey Mitchell's spectacular goal and well-warranted celebration with the Sharks' second and final goal of the 2-0 victory, was simply phenomenal. This series is going to be the biggest scare for the Shark team expected to make a long and deserving cup run. Lord Stanley is waiting. Will Joe Thornton raise the chalice over his head? One is hoping, but can that cause more trouble for the Sharks who lost game one and resoundingly became a much better team in game two? I don't think so. The Sharks are a team that fights through adversity with no qualms about it. Ron Wilson has a track record of success, but getting past the second round has been the issue. This may be the year they do it, and it will be in a spectacle of awe in its fashion.

New Jersey and New York Rangers: Well, I'm not surprised. Just look at the season series. The Rangers have had the Devils' number. It showed in game one between the two clubs. I'm not going to sit here and take back what I said about the series going to seven games and the Devils pulling it off. Scott Gomez was on fire setting up three goals for the Rangers in their 4-1 win in game one. I'm looking to see if he'll stay consistent. Shanahan, Callahan, and Avery with some solid goals for the blue shirts, but I look to Martin Brodeur to react like Nabokov did for the Sharks. Tonight's game will reflect the reactionary approach these goaltenders put on, especially with the home ice advantage factor. No team can go down 0-2 with home ice advantage and expect to pull off the upset in the other team's barn. Parise and Elias need to step it up and get the job done. Lundqvist looked really good, but if you rattle him enough and riddle him with shots, then the Devils will toggle on success in that respect.

So, there's my summary on two of four teams that lost game one at home. Reacting to that type of adversity is paramount in today's NHL. But it could also be the reason why I see most of these series, regardless of one-sided strengths, going to seven games. Those are just some of my thoughts on how the playoffs are going thus far.

~The Rant Man~

The Rant Man's Predictions:
Montreal in 5 (or 6 if Koivu doesn't return and Bergeron does)
Pittsburgh in 7 (or 5 if Alfredsson and Kelly don't actually return)
Washington in 7
New Jersey in 7
Detroit in 6
San Jose in 5 (this is my pre-playoff prediction, but leaning toward 7 after game 1)
Colorado in 7 (overtime in game 1 says it all)
Anaheim in 6 (maybe J.S. Giguere will react like Nabokov did after San Jose's game 1)