We’re about halfway through Round 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and already, there have been a few surprises.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have not been as formidable as they appeared to be. Many people thought the Pens would blow through the Eastern Conference, only facing a challenge from Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.
Instead, the New York Islanders are giving Pittsburgh a scare in the first round.
The Montreal Canadiens slowed down toward the end of the season, but nobody thought they were going to collapse in the playoffs. Right now, a grittier Ottawa Senators team is showing them up.
Out West, the San Jose Sharks have a 3-0 lead on the Vancouver Canucks, who eliminated them in the Western Conference Finals two years ago.
This looked like the “window closing” matchup: Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton vs. the Sedin twins. Instead, it is Logan Couture’s Sharks against, um, an underwhelming Canucks team.
Finally, the St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings series has proven to be the best matchup so far. Both teams are talented and physical.
One caveat before I go on with the power rankings: Keep in mind that the Rangers/Capitals and Bruins/Maple Leafs series have only had two games so far. That may unfairly affect them in the standings, but that’s just the nature of the beast right now.