Last night the NHL was holding a pair of sevens. The Toronto Maple Leafs vs the Boston Bruins and the Vegas Golden Knights vs the San Jose Sharks. THis is what the NHL hopes for. Two game seven featuring four marquee franchises. The results were less than what they had hoped for.
The Leafs and B’s series has been physical, high scoring, and relatively exciting. Both teams have dominated games and both teams have looked like road kill. The game seven went something like this. Freddy Anderson was unable to make the basic stops against the Bruins, and the stars of the Leafs could not solve Tuukka Rask. The games one goal difference lasted most of the game creating a compelling story line. But it was obvious to anyone watching the Bruins had completely eliminated the Leafs. Auston Matthews was invisible. The only Leafs goal came from the second line when Mitch Marner made an incredible effort to find John Tavares alone in the slot. Infact had it not been for the efforts of Mitch Marner and Zach Hyman the Leafs would have been bounced from the first round unceremoniously.
The other game featured the last two cup favorites in the west duking it out one last time. The Sharks were in their second strait elimination game and for about two and a half periods looked disinterested in attempting to survive. When off a faceoff play Cody Eakin cross checked Joe Pavelski forcing a call that will go down as the biggest call in the first round.
For his infraction Cody Eakin was given a five minute penalty and a game misconduct. A cross check to the chest gifted the Sharks a five minute power play in which they scored four goals… In what way does this cross check warrant a five minute penalty. In a game the Knights had well in hand they were forced to do the unthinkable and kill off the Sharks power play. Obviously they faltered.
Luckily with about forty five seconds left on the clock The Knights tied the game when Max Pacioretty snuck one by Martin Jones. The Knights seemingly erased their unfortunate past however any goalie will tell you this. No matter how unfair a situation when you let up four goals in the span of five minutes your confidence is shot. To Marc Andre Fleury’s credit he made an incredible poke check in overtime to keep the game alive, but when he had to make one more incredible stop you could tell he was out of gas. Barclay Goodrow dragged the puck across the Flower’s crease he had no answer. Goodrow’s goal sent the Sharks through to the second round and sent the Knights to the golf course.
As a fan of hockey you want the excitement of a team coming back forcing overtime and winning the game from an unlikely hero. As a hockey fan you want to see a five to four score line. As a hockey fan you are cheering for Jumbo Joe to win a cup before he rides off into the sunset.
As a hockey fan you love the matchup in the eats of two teams playing each other three years in a row. You love the rough and tumble vs the finesse and skill. As a hockey fan this should have checked out. But it didn’t. Instead it feels like your holding a pair of sevens and all you need is one more to have three of a kind and take the hand. Instead the river was a six and you left the hand feeling hard done. Why is that? Why do we feel like we were robbed of those “playoff moments”.
First thing could be that the wrong teams won. Generally to get that “playoff moment” we want to see the likable teams win. Sure the Sharks have a likable factor to them. With all of the former big boys being knocked out it feels like the time for the Sharks has passed. Instead we want to see the Leafs youthful talent finally get over the hump and make it to the next round. We want to see MAF and his band of good guys dance to their second straight cup. Instead we got two teams that have been here for a while. Two teams that have had their chances and failed to capitalize.
Another reason could be the lack of defining moment. The Leafs game was out of reach for the majority of the game. And the Bruins iced it away with two empty net goals. The Sharks scored four unanswered goals but they did it all on an unwarranted power play. They had an OT game winner. But it was off a sloppy turn over and the goals itself looked like a goalie who was exhausted not a great goal from a player.
I don’t know that just how I feel. I feel like we were robbed of potential. We were robbed of the moment. We didn’t get everything hockey has to offer. Or maybe that’s just me. What do you all think? Let us know on our various social media platforms. Because I am feeling kinda down after what has for the most part been an incredible first round of the NHL Playoffs.