It was a mixed bag yesterday as one good team won and two others lost. The Canucks are far too well drilled in their defence-first system for the Blues right now. I don't think I can remember watching a team that was so efficient in getting the puck out of their own zone. Then all they had to do was wait for the Blues to take some penalties and let their powerplay do the heavy lifting:
Bernier scored the winning goal on the powerplay 1:41 into the 3rd. Who was in the box for the Blues? Crombeen. "It's my own stupidity that put us down and ended up costing us the game," Crombeen said. "I didn't control my emotions enough."
What does that sound like? A young Blues team that is still LEARNING what it takes to win in the playoffs. Remember Crombeen's antics at the end of Game 2. Now he's in the penalty box when the Canucks score the winner.
That being said, the Blues are not very far off from being a dominant team, down 3-0 or not.
Funny, I thought the antics at the end of game 2 were caused by Kevin "The Rat" Bieksa's cheap play. The Blues, unfortunately, have run into a well disciplined team and the best goalie in the world. If they were playing almost anyone else they'd probably be up 2-1 at least. Not that Blues fans are giving up or too disappointed.
The Philadelphia game was pretty straightforward:
Pittsburgh lost on Sunday because a) the Flyers beat them to loose pucks, b) Philadelphia was absolutely suffocating on defense, c) the Flyers depth players put pucks in the net and the Penguin equivalents didn't come close, and d) the Flyers played a better hockey game.
While the game was certainly more physical the Flyers won because they just played better. The Penguins fought back valiantly but they always managed to give up a back-breaking goal. Even Hooks Orpik agrees:
A lot will probably be made of the increased physicality and uptempo style of hockey that the Flyers played. And for good reason, they were a lot better than they had been. But the Penguins didn't shy away, and I don't think lost because they shied away or because they got too pre-occupied.
In the late game the Ducks looked like a much more skilled version of their 2003 team. So much so that the Sharks seem just as perplexed as the Red Wings did 6 years ago:
This this is a tough pill to swallow, and I'm sick of making excuses. I'd love to be able to say that the Sharks are going to bounce back, but there are no guarantees. I'm not counting them out, not at all. But what the hell is wrong with this team?
Even when the Sharks get a good break, like a shot going off the post, the Ducks are there to take advantage. Of course, Earl celebrates as only he could.