The mainstream sports media might have questioned how the NHL playoffs would be after several large markets were eliminated in the first round. The remaining teams might not be in the biggest markets, but they are supplying enough offence to draw a crowd.
The first round of the 2012 NHL playoffs was mostly a low-scoring affair. The majority of the winning goaltenders ended the first round with a goals against average under two.
The end of the first round also marked the end of the season for the Red Wings, Canucks, Senators, Blackhawks, Bruins, Sharks, Panthers and Penguins.
Almost every team eliminated in the first round was a major-market team with a large fanbase. While the people in Canada will never stop watching hockey, every Canadian team was also eliminated from the playoffs.
With the big names gone, the remaining teams needed to find a way to draw the fans in and give them a reason to watch.
With the start of the second round, the remaining teams have really opened up the offence and started to have some high-scoring games.
The increase in scoring is not something that teams have done on purpose. Regardless of the situation, teams will always try to allow as few goals as possible; scoring more than your opponent is how a hockey game is won.
Second-round goaltending has still been strong, and teams are still blocking shots, but offences have found ways to be more productive.
Casual NHL fans never want to watch a low-scoring defensive game. The casual fan wants to see lots of shots and lots of goals.
It does affect the ratings to some extent with the elimination of large market teams. Without the large markets, the diehard NHL fans will still watch the playoffs because they love the sport.
The remaining teams have given casual fans plenty of reasons to keep watching. There has been plenty of offense to keep people entertained.
Fans need to keep watching because the playoffs are exciting. The desire to win and the intense rivalries that are created are must watch TV.
The most important reason to keep watching is very simple.
Because it’s the cup.