“Let’s avoid hasty conclusions”. That was the headline of this column, April 20, following the loss of the Maple Leafs, Oilers and Avalanche in Game 1 of their series.
Half of the clubs having lost the first match of a series last year had passed the first round, it was recalled. Not only did Toronto and Edmonton reach the second round, but Dallas, Vegas, New Jersey. Five out of eight teams!
What comfort the Maple Leafs and the Stars, who lost their first game again, in the second round, Tuesday, against Florida and Seattle respectively…
Losing two games in a row mortgages your chances of success, but does not eliminate you from the start either. In history, 53 out of 393 clubs have overcome a 2-0 deficit in a series.
It is suggested to bet on the club in advance, but with a 13.5% probability rate of reversing the tide, avoid writing the post mortem after two meetings. How many did the New Jersey Devils obituary after their first two home games? There they are in the second round against the Hurricanes, with a Wednesday night opener, and the New York Rangers on vacation despite acquiring Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko by the trade deadline.
Overcoming a 3-1 deficit is an even rarer feat. Only seven clubs in ten years have managed to achieve this, including the same Rangers against the Penguins last year and the Canadian against the Maple Leafs a year earlier.
The Panthers did it, and not halfway: against the mighty Bruins, the team with the most regular season wins in NHL history this winter, and after trailing by one minute to do in the seventh and final meeting… after a season of only 92 points, to boot!
Should we rule out a club from our early playoff predictions because their goaltender is not a Vezina Trophy finalist, we wondered a fortnight ago?
Darcy Kuemper, supported by Pavel Francouz, and Mike Smith met in the Western Conference Finals last year, and the logic was respected in the East with a series between Andrei Vasilevskiy and Igor Shesterkin.
In 2019, Jordan Binnington, out of nowhere, Matin Jones and Petr Mrazek had the honor of playing the matches in the semi-finals. Only Tuukka Rask of the Bruins saved the honor.
This year ? Connor Hellebuyck, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Igor Shesterkin, Linus Ullmark and Ilya Sorokin, five of the NHL’s top nine goaltenders in wins, including four of the top six, are on vacation after one round.
Philipp Grubauer, Laurent Brossoit, Ilya Samsonov, Antti Rantta (now replaced by Frederik Andersen) and Akira Schmid will wear the pads for a few more weeks minimum.
Samsonov, of the Maple Leafs, tipped as an auxiliary to Matt Murray in Toronto in the first half of the season, is the only one to have won at least 25 games in the regular season. Bobrovsky didn’t even start the series against the Bruins. Grubauer has played 39 games this year in Seattle, partner Martin Jones 48.
Brossoit is considered the third goaltender in Vegas. He spent most of the winter in the American League. Ditto for young Schmid, the big sensation in New Jersey. Jake Oettinger of the Stars is the only elite goaltender among the eight.
Many have predicted the Stanley Cup for the Boston Bruins after their 65 wins. But only two of the 17 President’s Trophy winners have won the Cup since 2005. The Chicago Blackhawks last achieved the feat… in 2013.
Since the Hawks’ victory, the best team in the regular season has never reached the final, been eliminated seven times in the second round, once in the first round (Tampa against Columbus in 2019) and made the conference final once. time. The Bruins were unable to reverse the trend.
Taking notes for next year?
New York Post columnist Larry Brooks never goes too far. He suggested major changes to Rangers following their elimination at the hands of the New Jersey Devils.
Young veterans Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Jacob Trouba and Vincent Trocheck will be difficult to trade due to their full no-trade clause and contract, he says. But if we really want to make valid changes, we will have to touch the young trio, made up of Alexis Lafrenière, Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko, even if they are progressing well.
“We may be witnessing the end of ‘youth,'” Brooks wrote in his Tuesday column. If GM Chris Drury wants to restructure his roster, he needs to start with them. Young people are here today. They may have left tomorrow. »
Brooks panics easily. Rangers reached the semi-finals just a year ago. They are coming off a second straight season of over 100 points.
The Maple Leafs have been suggested a thousand times to bust their core after the spring’s many disappointments. They did not do it. And everything is allowed to them today.
Let’s see if the idea came from Brooks or if one of his sources entrusted him with inside information.
1- The Panthers were without complex against the Leafs on Tuesday, for this first game of the second round. Simon-Olivier Lorange’s analysis.
2- The Alouettes took a risk on Tuesday by drafting two players so the first objective remains a position in the NFL. Justin Vézina has the details.
3- Who is this new Devils sensation, goaltender Akira Schmid? Guillaume Lefrançois looks into the question.