If you are a fan of hockey you had to be rooting for this series to go the full seven games. This has been a great series to watch and it has not lacked entertainment value one bit. In fact, this has been one of the more exciting series in hockey I have seen in some time.
What more could you want?
This series pits the games two best players, Ovechkin and Crosby, up against each other. And those two have lived up to the hype that has been given to them. Ovechkin has lit up the score board with 7 goals and 6 assists through the first 6 games. Crosby has been almost as good as he has gotten 6 of his shots past Varlamov and assisted on 4 more. Those two were the headliners of this series and they have been worth watching all alone.
The series does not stop with Ovechkin and Crosby. It is a lot deeper than that. There have been times when each of the goaltenders, Varlamov and Fleury, has dominated portions of the games. Countless times in this series we have seen both of these gifted players come up with huge saves that kept their team in the game. Varlamov has certainly been the bigger story as he has faced far more shots in this series, 226 versus 159. He has also had the more spectacular saves, such as in game one when he pulled Crosby’s shot out of the net. The action has been fast paced but Varlamov has been up to the challenge more times than not.
Not only have the two stars and their goalies played well but the complementary pieces have come up with big plays as well. The story has gone beyond the goals of Crosby and Ovechkin. They each have gotten the support they have needed. We have seen guys like Steckel, who came into the Penguins series with 8 goals throughout the whole season, step up with 3 goals – none bigger then game 6’s overtime winner. The complementary pieces have been a big reason why this series has been so good.
Really the only aspect of each team that has struggled is the play of the defense. They have not played great and this has been a far more offensive series than that of a hard hitting defensive one. For this reason, we were able to watch six games filled with back and forth action as the puck flew from one end of the ice to the other with both teams getting quick odd man breaks and great scoring opportunities. The Penguins have definitely been the better team but the action has been great and fairly balanced. Both teams have great speed and transition games and have been able to take advantage of opportunities when the puck has bounced their way and the opposing defenders were caught out of position or cheating up in the offensive zone.
It has also not been a chippy series. Often times in the playoffs you start to see teams take cheap shots at each other and the games become more about retaliation as opposed to good, skilled hockey. This series has mainly been about the skill of the players and which players will shine the most on any given night. I think that is what has made this series so much fun to watch.
Clearly I am a fan of the Caps, so of course I wanted to see a game seven. But with all the excitement this series has had, if you simply enjoy the sport of hockey you can’t help but hope to extend this display of talent throughout a full 7 game count.
A series this good should end no other way. Through six games the goal differential is 1, in favor of the Penguins. Three of the games have ended in overtime and each game winner was scored in the last period of play.
I have confidence that the Capitals will take advantage of home ice to win game 7 tomorrow, but one thing is for sure:
This will be an exciting, entertaining game that will come down to the last period. I look forward to watching the culmination of what has been one of the best series in hockey I have had the pleasure of watching.