The playoffs are just over one week old, and already some major stories have developed.
From Marty Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils being ousted in five games by Brian Boucher and the Philadelphia Flyers, to the strong play of several veterans, the 2010 playoffs are slowly turning into one of the best postseasons in recent memory.
So let’s start with Mr. Brodeur and the Devils, who will be heading home in the first round for the third consecutive season.
While Brodeur did make some amazing saves early on in the series and helped keep the Devils in several of the games, he was still weaker than normal and looked nothing like the Vezina contender from the regular season.
Brodeur’s .881 save percentage and 3.00 goals-against average are some of the worst postseason stats of his entire career.
Ilya Kovalchuk, thought to be the “missing link” in New Jersey, provided six points in five games. His skating was strong, but six points was not enough to pull the Devils out of a 3-1 hole.
Just 10 Devils registered a point in their five games.
Another great story so far has been the incredible production from Sidney Crosby. “The Kid” has transformed into a different beast in the playoffs.
Crosby has given his defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins a 3-2 series lead over the Ottawa Senators with a ridiculous 13 points in just five games.
His point totals put Crosby on pace to take out Wayne Gretzky’s record for most points in a single postseason. The Great One put up 47 points in 18 games in the 1985 playoffs—that’s an average of 2.61 points per game.
Crosby is currently averaging 2.60 points per game this postseason.
The veterans have come to life in the playoffs.
Mark Recchi’s best playing days are behind him, or so we all thought. The 42-year-old has three points in four games, including an amazing assist in the closing minutes of Game Three which gave his Boston Bruins a 2-1 game and series lead.
Recchi hit Buffalo Sabre Tim Kennedy off of the puck in the corner and found Patrice Bergeron in front of the net for the game-winner.
The Bruins are one game away from upsetting the Sabres and advancing to the conference semifinals thanks to the tenacious effort of Recchi.
Another veteran who has proven his worth with just one play is Ian Laperriere.
That’s right, the long-time tough guy has said many times this season that he knows why the Flyers picked him up and he knows what his role on the team is. Laperriere does not average that much ice time, but he skates as hard as he can every minute he’s out there.
On Thursday night in Game Five, Laperriere blocked a shot with his face for the second time this season. While he did return after the first one, he did not return on Thursday.
Regardless, Laperriere’s dedication to his team and willingness to do what it takes proves why he is the grittiest of the gritty in the NHL.
While these are just a few of the great stories so far in this year’s playoffs, there are many more. What are some of yours?