This article contains opinion. Stats current as of May 1.
This is the playoffs of the underdog.
The teams that few thought would make it out of the first round brought giddier competition and entertaining playoffs.
The most startling team has to be the Carolina Hurricanes.
After winning the first two in New York, the Canes were headed back home. But an injury late in game two to goaltender Petr Mrazek brought some concern to the fans. But Curtis McElhinney proved to be a fitting replacement for the time being.
Is Carolina experiencing a little playoff fatigue? Well, the answer is no, considering it’s up 3-0 in the series, but it does have a large number of injured bodies coming out of the first round due to a grueling seven game series with Washington.
The St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars have been competitive enough to create an exciting round two matchup. Both have been giving it their all in playoff spotlights.
The Blues came from being last place in the NHL at the start of the new year, to clinching a playoff spot months later and beating the Winnipeg Jets in round one.
The boys in blue and yellow are looking confident, including goaltender Jake Binnington after winning 30 for 39 to begin his season late start in St. Louis.
But Dallas fought just as hard. The Nashville Predators were looking to smash their way to the finals, but the Stars showed up for Dallas.
Ben Bishop, Tyler Seguin and Blake Comeau brought their game faces against the Preds and have done the same for the rising fame of St. Louis. The Stars and Blues sit tied with two wins even.
In the other Western Conference series, it didn’t take long for the Sharks to swarm and take an early lead in game three.
They scored two in the first but remained at ease during the second period, allowing the Avalanche to make it a one-goal deficit.
The Sharks were determined to keep their fins moving. San Jose has plenty of veteran talent to keep up a good matchup, and they are creating a rising surge around themselves. But with the lack of success before, maybe the young talent of Colorado can uprise and defeat the Sharks.
Back in the East, the Blue Jackets stunned hockey fans throughout by sweeping the President’s Trophy winners in Tampa Bay in the first round, but it seems the talent and skill on pace to continue to succeed.
The Boston Bruins had a secure face of hockey as a team to always contend with in playoffs, unless you’re Toronto. The skill of Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand, with the support of Tuukka Rask in the net, have developed to bring themselves into the second round and to face off against the (other) underdog of the Metro.
But the Blue Jackets have won back to back against the Bruins, taking a 2-1 series lead. Boston isn’t desperate to win game four, considering they’ll be back home for game five, but its an intimidating place to be when the other team just needs one more win to advance.
Maybe it takes that last ditched effort to bring a team to rise to the occasion.