Monday 22 April 2024

Nine Seconds

The Metropolitan Division might be the weakest division in hockey this season. Yes, I'm aware the New York Rangers and the Carolina Hurricanes are legitimate Stanley Cup contenders, but the gap between the second-place Hurricanes and third-place New York Islanders was a 17-point chasm between the two teams. Only the Washington Capitals made the playoffs with less points than the Islanders, yet a few pundits went on record stating that the Islanders had a shot at upsetting the Hurricanes despite that 17-point difference. Clearly, I disagree with these pundits, but tonight may have been the perfect example of why the Metropolitan Division's third-place team had zero chance in winning this series.

Trailing 1-0 in the series, the New York Islanders jumped out to a 3-0 lead in Game Two this evening before the Hurricanes broke out of their slumber in the second period. In what looked like an all-out commitment to defence, the Islanders seemed to wilt under intense pressure from the Hurricanes as Carolina outshot New York 29-5 through the final two periods. That shot advantage pulled the Hurricanes within one goal at 10:43 of the third period as Teuvo Teravainen and Seth Jarvis cut into the deficit, but the final three minutes were bonkers.

I'm not setting this one up. I'll let the video do all the talking.
Holy chaos, Batman. Sebastian Aho whacked home the puck at 17:45 to make it a 3-3 game off the Andrei Svechnikov partial fan on his one-timer, and Jordan Martinook would capitalize on a mistake by the Islanders' Noah Dobson nine seconds later to put the Hurricanes up 4-3 when he banked the puck in off Semyon Varlamov. Add in an empty-net goal by Jake Guentzel, and the Hurricanes hold a 2-0 series lead after their 5-3 win tonight over the stunned New York Islanders.

According to the NHL statisticians, Carolina sent 110 shot attempts towards Varlamov while the Islanders sent just 28 pucks towards Freddie Andersen. The final tally was a 39-12 shot count in favour of the Hurricanes, but this is the kind of disparity between these two teams that should have been obvious. How anyone believed that the Islanders were going to win four of seven games against the Hurricanes is a mystery, but it was clear tonight that the Islanders are going to have to do a lot more to simply win one game.

Despite it only being Game Two, tonight's game may be the one that broke the Islanders for the remainder of this series. All it took was nine seconds of play and two Hurricanes goals in that span, but the Islanders held a lead for 57:45 of tonight's game before losing by two goals. I'm not sure there's a lot that Patrick Roy can say to his team that will change its fortunes, but the Hurricanes showed everyone tonight that they'll make a team pay if it makes mistakes and takes its foot off the gas pedal.

Usain Bolt ran the 100-metre race in a world record time of 9.63 seconds at the 2012 London Olympic Games. The Carolina Hurricanes may have crushed the New York Islanders' hopes of an upset in about the same span of time this evening.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 21 April 2024

An Airstrike Of Goals

Is everyone alright after the explosion we saw in downtown Winnipeg? The video to the left was taken by John Sitarek who was at the game tonight, and the explosion I referenced above was in response to the 13 combined goals that the Jets and Avalanche scored tonight. Only two other Game Ones in the history of the NHL have seen that many goals scored, and you can find which games those were down below. Tonight, though, everyone needs to breathe, smile, and enjoy the moment as the Jets hold a 1-0 lead over the Avalanche after tonight's 7-6 victory. Game Two is just 48 hours away!

Only eight times this season has Winnipeg's opponent scored five-or-more goals on the Jets including tonight, and the Jets had lost each of the previous seven games. Despite finding themselves down 1-0 early, the Jets rode the power of the Whiteout to seven tallies tonight in their victory despite the last couple of minutes being a little tense. Nevertheless, the Jets prevailed, and are 15 wins after from the promised land and three wins from the second round.

Shockingly, defensive hockey was tossed out the window early by both teams as the track meet began in the first period thanks to a few giveaways, some questionable passes, and solid team play. Valeri Nichuskin put the Avalanche up 1-0 just past the six-minute mark, but the roof nearly came off the Canada Life Centre at 8:02 when the Whiteout exploded on Josh Morrissey's marker. Watch and listen to this crowd reaction in Winnipeg as the Jets tie the game!
I'm not saying that the Avalanche need a goalie, but Alexandar Georgiev needed to make a couple of key saves in this game to give his team a chance. Instead, Georgiev's struggles in the last two-and-a-half weeks continued, and his .696 save percentage in this game certainly isn't good enough at any point in the season, but specifically in the postseason. Take nothing away from the Jets, but Georgiev has to be much, much better if the Avalanche are going to have a chance.

A 3-3 game after 20 minutes became a 4-3 game through 40 minutes of play, but the Jets seemingly turned on the afterburners in the third period when Adam Lowry scored his second goal of the game at 3:31 and Kyle Conner ripped a power-play goal home 2:20 later to make it a 6-3 game. Artturi Lehkonen's power-play goal made it 6-4 just 38 seconds after Connor had scored, but Connor would strike again at 8:54 to make it a 7-4 game. The Avs wouldn't go quietly, though, as Cale Makar scored just past the midway point of the period and Casey Mittelstadt made it a one-goal game with 30 seconds to play, but the Jets would lock down the final half-minute to secure the win in front of 15,225 fans.

As I mentioned, NHL.com's game notes stated that "[o]nly two other Game 1s in an opening-round series have combined for at least 13 goals" which is pretty crazy when one thinks of all the Game Ones that have taken place in the NHL's history. According to the history posted, "[t]he Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings combined for 18 in 1982, and the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings scored 14 in 1985," so the Jets and Avalanche still needed a few more goals to reach those lofty scores, but having the third-highest scoring Game One in NHL history is pretty incredible.

I'm sure both coaches will want to tighten things up heading into Game Two, so we'll have to see how the teams respond. Will Jared Bednar go back to Alexandar Georgiev after a rought night, or will Justus Annunen be ready after missing tonight's contest with an illness? Does Rick Bowness look to upgrade his blue line defensively with veterans Colin Miller and/or Nate Schmidt ready to go? Decisions will be made, practices will be skated, and we'll see how things look on Tuesday. I'm almost certain, though, that neither coach wants a second track meet like tonight's contest!

The Whiteout will fill the Canada Life Centre and cover the streets surrounding the arena on Tuesday night, and the Jets will look put the Avalanche in a 2-0 hole in their series. 15,225 people inside the building will be loud as they push the Jets to repeat their seven-goal performance tonight while 20 players in white will try to quiet the crowd. Playoff hockey is alive in Winnipeg once more, and Jets fans are putting the league on notice when it comes to the decibel level inside the barn!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 20 April 2024

Did The Leafs Win?

One thing you'll find on this blog more than anything as the playoffs roll on is the always-present ABT sentiment that I bring. ABT is, of course, "Anybody But Toronto", but it's something that has lived on this blog for a long time with the heavy influence that the Maple Leafs have on the Toronto-based sports media. I assure you that it has nothing to do with 1967, but that just adds a little fuel to the ABT fire when it comes to playoff hockey.

Jake DeBrusk scored twice in Boston's 5-1 victory over Toronto, so Toronto now trails in the series 1-0. It's far from over, but the Leafs looked dejected after mistakes led to goals while their own frustration in only beating Jeremy Swayman once will likely lead to a complete examination of the team's game in Game One. High-priced Leafs forward William Nylander sat out with an undisclosed injury, but I'm not sure his presence would have helped.

Boston can put Toronto in a serious hole on Monday if they can win Game Two at home, setting up what becomes an unofficial must-win for the Leafs in Game Three. If the Bruins can play as well as they did tonight in capitalizing on Toronto's gaffes along with their solid special teams play, this series may be shorter than what a number of people had predicted. We'll know more after Monday night, but the initial game between these two Original Six foes was decidedly in one team's favour just like the regular season series was.

Did the Leafs win? Let's go to Ryan Reynolds for the answer.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 19 April 2024

Sixteen Are Registered

We already knew there were sixteen teams preparing for the opening round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs tomorrow, but The Hockey Show was busy last night getting sixteen people registered for Survivor: NHL Playoffs! If you called in, both Jason and I want to thank for registering for the contest. We filled all sixteen spots in approximately 40 minutes, so we had an incredible response to the contest being run this year. If you missed out on the opportunity, you'll unfortunately have to wait until next season for the contest to return, but that's what fourteen NHL teams are doing right now as they watch their peers compete for the hardest trophy to win in all of sports! Who got which team? Who is against whom in the opening round tomorrow? Let's find out!

We'll start in the Eastern Conference since they have the only games scheduled tomorrow as the New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes kick things off followed by the Original Six battle between Toronto and Boston. Here are the matchups for Round One!
It should be noted that last year's champion, Mike, and last year's finalist, Wayne, are both in the same conference this year. That means only one of them have a shot at one of the two grand prizes this year, so there's a little bit of a bonus for the other fourteen entrants! There should be some solid series in the East, and I'm already pumped for a few of them!

The Western Conference gets its side of the playoffs going on Sunday when the Winnipeg Jets host the Colorado Avalanche while Nashville Predators fans are going to have to stay up late to see them battle the Vancouver Canucks. Here are the matchups in the wild West!
Tom's a previous two-time winner of the contest, and he'll see his Kings having their hands full with Jared's Oilers. That dogfight in the Central Division featuring late entry Vegas will only see one of Dallas, Winnipeg, Colorado, or Vegas advance to the conference final as three of the heavyweights out west will be gone before the final. The West can literally be won by any of the eight teams, so get yourself settled in for what appears to be high drama in Western Conference!

As stated, sixteen people are now competing for the grand prizes in the Survivor: NHL Playoffs contest on UMFM, and we'll have updates on the show this week. The good news is that none of the series are scheduled to play Game Four before Thursday next week, so everyone has a week to relax before exit interviews start! Enjoy the hockey, folks, and good luck to the sixteen teams and the sixteen individuals looking for playoff success!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 18 April 2024

The Hockey Show - Episode 604

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, has one purpose today when it comes to hockey: getting you entered into the greatest hockey radio contest on the face of the planet! Tonight is all about getting sixteen people registered and entered into the 2024 edition of Survivor: NHL Playoffs, and that means you need your phone handy between 5:30 and 6:30pm CT so you can call the show at 204-269-8636 to enter! You can't win prizes if you're not entered, and we have some solid prizing that's on its way to the station. We'll discuss some of that tonight between calls as we kick off Survivor: NHL Playoffs tonight on The Hockey Show at 5:30pm CT!

For those of you who don't read the blog regularly, the rules for the Survivor: NHL Playoffs contest can be found here. Beginning slightly after 5:30pm CT, the phone lines will be opened, Teebz and Jason will begin taking calls, and we'll get sixteen people setup on Survivor: NHL Playoffs island where their teams will compete until only one is left standing. If you want to be that final survivor in the NHL Playoffs, you have to call us tonight at 204-269-8636 to get entered into the contest so you can potentially win some awesome prizes! Jason is already a little envious of those grand prizes, but we'll discuss that all tonight on The Hockey Show at 5:30pm CT on one of 101.5 FM, Channel 718 on MTS TV, or via UMFM.com!

I have had a few questions about Survivor: NHL Playoffs, and I want to stress that this contest is available to all listeners inside and outside of Winnipeg as we do use the mail to send prizes to winners, so make sure you're tuned in if you're listening outside of Winnipeg! You're more than welcome to participate in the contest! In saying that, I should note that we do have a few people who reached out via social media or email to inform us that they'll be travelling in places where cell phone usage in a car could cause legal problems, so we've granted them the option of texting us with the number they wish to choose. These texts will be added in the order they are received tonight, so don't think there's some advantage in that strategy.

If you live outside Winnipeg and want to listen, we have options! The new UMFM website's online streaming player works well if you want to listen online. We also recommend Radio Garden if you need an easy-to-use online stream. If you're more of an app person, we recommend you use the TuneIn app found on the App Store or Google Play Store. It's a solid app.

If you have questions, you can email all show queries and comments to hockeyshow@umfm.com! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter! I'm here to listen to you, so make your voice heard!

Tonight, Teebz and Jason find out who the sixteen people are for the 2024 edition of Survivor: NHL Playoffs, and we want to wish everyone the best of luck in choosing a number with a random team. May the odds be forever in your favour tonight exclusively on 101.5 UMFM and on the UMFM.com web stream!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!