2008 NHL Playoffs: Year of the Underachiever

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2008 NHL Playoffs: Year of the Underachiever

This spring has been filled with storylines in the NHL playoffs. 

Philadelphia's run went from worst in the league last year to advancing to the second round after a hard fought seven-game victory over Washington this year.

Crosby's Penguins became a force to reckon with and went unbeaten through the first seven games of the playoffs.

But the biggest storylines might be those of the underachievers.

Those underachievers? The East's No. 1 seeded Montreal Canadiens and the No. 2 seed in the West, the San Jose Sharks.

Entering the post-season, Montreal had been playing extremely well. The Canadiens are led by a speedy, balanced attack and the superb goaltending of 20-year-old Carey Price. 

They were huge favorites over worn down and less talented Boston in the first round.  Yet they were pushed to seven games after jumping out to a 3-1 series lead.

So far in their second-round matchup with Philadelphia, they have looked uninterested, unmotivated, and have been just plain outplayed.  They are invisible for two periods, often trailing as they head into the third, before flipping the switch and getting right back into games or, like Game 1, winning them. 

But Philly has managed to stave off the late rallies.  Carey Price's play in the second round hasn't been great, as evidence by the fact that Jan Halak got the nod for Game 4.  It might be too little too late now.

For the Sharks, they really put things together late in the regular season and became everyone's pick to win the Stanley Cup after acquiring All-Star defenseman Brian Campbell from the Sabres at the trade deadline.

The Sharks, too, had first-round troubles with their opponent.  The Flames pushed the Sharks to the brink, but San Jose forged on. 

But once the second round started, they had the same problem as Montreal: they didn't look interested, and they were outplayed for most of the series thus far.  They managed to slap together a 2-1 win last night in Game 4, but after dropping the first three to Big D, it seems as if this series is all but a mere formality.

As a huge Wings hater, this pains me to say it but both of these clubs should be taking notes on Detroit.  The Wings look motivated and are dominating their second-round foe in Colorado.

Sooner or later, people will stop trusting the sexy pick and start going with the proven commodity.

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