There was a light load on Wednesday, with only one game, but it still counted. Tonight, there are two games. So, when you aren’t watching The Office’s farewell, you can tune into some NHL action. Here is a look back at Wednesday’s game and a look into the near future for a preview of Thursday’s action.
Detroit pulled the upset over Anaheim, but Chicago is a different animal, and beating them would be much harder. Although, I suppose the Blackhawks aren’t animals, they have some sort of tenuous connection to Native Americans that gets into racial insensitivity from time to time, but I digress. The United Center was raucous as always, and Chicago got on the board first as beloved former Red Wings Marian Hossa found the back of the net on the power-play. However, the Wings managed to tie things up as Damian Brunner put a rebound into the net.
There was no scoring in the second period, but the Blackhawks outshot the Wings 17-5, so it was clear which team was controlling the game. Jimmy Howard had to come up big, including making a great leg save on a breakaway. Then, about midway through the third, Chicago finally scored again, as Johnny Oduya lit the lamp. After Marcus Kruger scored, it was clear the Blackhawks would win, and a Patrick Sharp empty-netter made the game 4-1 in favor of Chicago.
Corey Crawford made 20 saves, while Howard made 38. Yeah, Chicago dominated this game. Detroit kept it close at first, but the more talented team eventually pulled away. Sharp had two assists to go with his goal. The disparity between these teams isn’t quite so stark, and I think the Wings can steal at least one game. However, I still see this as a pretty easy series win for the Blackhawks. They are just too strong.
Alright, time to move on to Thursday’s tussles. Oh, the tussling that will take place! First, at 7:30 Eastern on NBC Sports, the Rangers and Bruins kick off their series. Both of these teams just went through seven game series. How will they look in game one here? They did get some extra rest, after all. This is a close matchup on paper. How will Henrik Lundqvist look? Can he post a third straight shutout? Will Rick Nash do anything? With Boston and New York sports fans, two notoriously non-chalant fan bases, be able to get excited for this series? Then, at 10:00 on NBC Sports, it’s the one West Coast series we’ve got. The Kings won game one over the Sharks, dealing San Jose their first loss of the playoffs. Will the Sharks bounce back? They will need to actually get a puck past Jonathan Quick. That will happen eventually, I assume. If San Jose wins this game in LA, this will be a long series I think. If they fall behind 2-0, however, I will feel very good about the Kings’ chances of continuing their Cup defense.
You know who enjoyed hockey? Michael Scott. Honor him by watching the NHL tonight. Even if, you know, he hasn’t been on The Office in years.