3 Things the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs have shown us so far

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The Stanley Cup Playoffs always seem to electrify the sports world every April through June, and the 2018 installment has been no different. Here are 3 things we’ve learned after just 1 week of playoff hockey.

1: Vegas is for real.

It’s fair to say the Vegas Golden Knights had proven all the doubters wrong in the regular season by winning the Pacific Division as an expansion team, (something never done in NHL history), but come playoff time many people took L.A. over Vegas. Well in classic Golden Knight fashion they did what they did all season, just kept winning, and swept the Kings.

Even more fitting was that the Knights’ pick from the Kings (Brayden McNab) was the one who scored the goal that ended L.A.’s season.

Oh and also Marc Andre-Fleury has looked almost unbeatable allowing just 3 goals in 4 games. Good luck to anyone who has to face these guys down the road.

 

2: The Jets are just too good for the Wild.

Currently the Jets hold a 3-1 lead over the Minnesota Wild, heading back to the Bell MTS Center for game 5. The Jets won both games 1 and 2 at home and have just looked to be too much for the Wild to handle.

While yes, the Wild won game 3 in pretty convincing fashion, they have been unable to get anything going since then. Connor Hellebuyck has looked unreal and earned the Jets/Thrashers organization not only their first ever playoff win but also the franchises first ever playoff shutout.

Dustin Byfuglien has also been an absolute machine, and has just been a force all series  for Winnipeg. Even with the loss of Myers, the Jets still looked dominant over Minnesota in game 4. With game five in Winnipeg it might be curtains for the Wild, and another early playoff exit for them.

 

3: Boston’s first line is one of the best in the NHL.

Patrice Bergeron centering David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand is arguably the best first line in the entire league right now, and they’re having fun. Pastrnak leads the entire league in terms of playoff scoring with 9 points after just three games, including 4 goals.

Brad Marchand has been the agitator he always is and is driving the Leafs crazy. Oh yeah, he also has 6 points. Not to bad for “the rat”.

Patrice Bergeron continues to solidify himself as one of the best shutdown centers in the league and has 5 points in three games, so I think it’s fair to say they’re playing alright.

Interestingly enough,¬† Boston’s first line was held pointless in Toronto in game 3, and with game 4 tomorrow night, we’ll have to wait and see if they bounce back.

Jordan Bay

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Flames lose another meaningless game

Flames logoThe Calgary Flames have continued to stumble their way towards the 82-game mark. As a team that started the season facing such high expectations, now they are left to wonder what could have been.

In their third-to-last contest of the season on Tuesday night, the Flames faced a Coyotes team who have had a strong month, despite having one of the worst point totals in the NHL. Their record as of late can be attributed to Antti Raanta, their Finnish number one goaltender. Raanta – who was acquired from the New York Rangers in the offseason – has had a strong second half for the Coyotes.

Like a lot of things this season, this one didn’t go the Flames’ way. Their trend of heavily out-shooting teams but not being able to score continued, with shots favouring Calgary 43-21 but the score ending up 4-1 for the Coyotes.

The lone bright spot in this one was deadline-acquisition Nick Shore, who got his first goal as a Flame.

— Danica Ferris

Significant injuries force Calgary Flames Sean Monahan to hang up his jersey prematurely

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Calgary Flames GM Brad Trevliving confirmed on Friday that Calgary Flames center, Sean Monahan is officially out for the rest of the NHL 2018-2019 season.

“He was willing to do whatever it takes to keep going so it certainly effected him. We knew that but we needed him here to try and push here in this last month. But it’s had an effect on him. I think even psychological too.”

Monahan has suffered back to back injuries in the last two months but the team hasn’t disclosed many details regarding the injuries.

Calgary Flames Head coach Glen Gulutzan said it was time for Monahan to focus on his recovery now that the Flames are no longer in a position to make it into post-season.

According to Gulutzan, Monahan was receiving injections in two different places for the last three weeks in order to get through his games.

Gulutzan explained why the team put off making the decision to shut down Monahan’s season until now.

“He was willing to do whatever it takes to keep going so it certainly effected him. We knew that but we needed him here to try and push here in this last month. But it’s had an effect on him. I think even psychological too. At the end of the day, we gotta do what’s best for our players.”

Monahan will undergo wrist surgery later this week.

Monahan ended the 2018-19 season with 31 goals, 33 assists, and a career best with 64 points in 74 games.

 

– Cindy Letic