Postseason hockey is back

Published 9:14 pm Thursday, April 12, 2018

The most wonderful time of the year has arrived. No, it’s not Christmas.

The Stanley Cup playoffs started on Wednesday, and there has been no shortage of good game play so far.

The Pittsburgh Penguins decimated the Philadelphia Flyers in the first game of their series, and people are already calling for a Penguins three-peat. I’ll bite my tongue, but I think the entire hockey world is hoping they’ll lose (somewhat) gracefully in the Eastern Conference Finals.

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The Minnesota Wild and the Winnipeg Jets had one of the better games from the first night of game play, because both teams were fighting hard. My only complaint was how often Winnipeg missed an empty net. Thankfully, Winnipeg won, and I’m happy because it was their first playoff win in franchise history.

The West Coast teams kept the energy going with the rookie Vegas Golden Knights stealing the show. Not only did Vegas grab their first postseason win, but they gave the best pregame ice show I’ve ever seen. An actual golden knight stormed the ice and defeated the man with the Los Angeles Kings flag. It was over the top and it was spectacular. It was, without a doubt, Vegas.

After the incredible showmanship, the Golden Knights showed they came to fight by scoring a goal at 3:23 in the first period and not taking their skates off the gas. Marc-Andre Fleury held down the fort for the remaining two periods and got his first postseason shutout as a Golden Knight.

I was only slightly disappointed that none of the games went into overtime, but on the other hand I was happy that I didn’t have to attempt to stay up too late. If we are being honest, I didn’t make it past the second period of the Golden Knights game, because I was tucked away in bed.

I’m happy to have the Boston Bruins back in the playoff mix, because the past few years have not been kind to them. That comes from a young and inexperienced roster not meshing well with the older guys and defensemen that were more concerned with shots on goal and not protecting their goalie.

Thankfully, Boston has had a coaching change and a new roster to give them new life on the ice. There is a healthy mix of veterans and rookies that make the Bruins the team they used to be. For once, I believe they have a real shot at making it to the Stanley Cup finals, but we have a long road ahead of us before that happens.

Boston starts off their series against the ever-improving Toronto Maple Leafs, but I’m not too worried. The Leafs are notorious at self-sabotaging, and the Bruins have Tuukka Rask defending the goal, so I’m betting on Boston.