The Vancouver Canucks head into Game 4 in Los Angeles down 3-0 to the Kings. Here are a few keys to the series and reasons why the top-seeded Canucks find themselves with their backs against the wall.
- The Canucks have to be better with the man advantage! Their powerplay was tops in the league clicking at 19.8% during the regular season. So far through three playoff games they have nothing, going 0-for-14.
- Not only has their PP produced a goose egg, its hurt them too. Dustin Brown got them twice, short-handed in Game 2 – against a ‘Nucks team that only allowed four SHG’s all season. Read more…
(3) Florida Panthers vs. (6) New Jersey Devils
Even though the Panthers will have home ice advantage, many people will consider New Jersey the favourites going into this series. The Devils finished the season with ten more wins and eight more points than the Panthers. In fact the only reason the Panthers weren’t scrapping their way into the playoffs is because of the NHL’s division rule. (Division winners get ranked 1st through 3rd).
Out of the 16 teams that made the playoffs the Panthers finished with the most losses (44), yet still managed to get home ice advantage. (Ridiculous, isn’t it?) This is because 18 of those losses were in extra time. So basically, the Panthers won their division and were awarded the third seed because they were better at losing. (Doesn’t make much sense, but we will save that rant for another day). Read more…
(3) Phoenix Coyotes vs. (6) Chicago Blackhawks
Much like any team coached by recent Jack Adams award winner Dave Tippett, the Coyotes were known as one of the best defensive teams in the league this season. They finished 5th in goals against only allowing 194 goals or 2.37 goals against per game.
Phoenix had 24 games where they held their opponent to one goal or less this season. The number includes a seven-game stretch in early February where they went 6-0-1 allowing a total of five goals. What makes it more impressive is the wins were all against great teams – Detroit, Dallas, Calgary, Chicago, Vancouver and Los Angeles. Read more…
I tweeted my predictions before Game 1. I back it up in this post.
(4) Nashville Predators vs. (5) Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings were the best team in the NHL on home ice this season. They went 31-7-3 and set a record with 23 straight wins at the Joe in the process.
There home record was so dominate that it makes their road record (17-21-3) look terrible. The difference in records – they won 14 more games at home then on the road and lost 14 more games on the road compared to at home. The Wings scored 142 goals in Detroit and only managed 97 on the road. Their goal for versus goals against differential was an amazing +61 at home and a measly -22 on the road.
That fact that the Wings were unable to secure home ice advantage in the first round could come back to hurt them. The Predators were one of the better teams at home this season going 26-10-5. They were even able to steal a game in Detroit on March 30th the last time these teams met. Read more…