Day One of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs is in the books, and there was definitely plenty to talk about. From Detroit to Pittsburgh to Anaheim to Vancouver to Washington, lets go around the block to find out who were the winners and losers from the first night of playoff hockey.
The Goalies: Marc-Andre Fleury (32 saves) shut out Tampa Bay, Roberto Luongo (32 saves) blanked Chicago and underrated Pekka Rinne proved that he should be part of the Vezina Trophy consideration with 27 saves against Anaheim.
I would include Washington's Michal Neuvirth (24 saves) on this list, but the night belonged to Alexander Semin instead.
Fleury, Luongo and Rinne definitely came through with clutch performances on Wednesday, especially Rinne. The 6'5" Finn made a point-blank, right-pad stop on the ageless Teemu Selanne midway through the first period.
The Iron: Four shots hit the posts in Vancouver, while three found metal in Washington. The Anvil Chorus definitely rang loud on Day One and NHL.com even created a video to highlight the net frame, awesome.
Alexander Semin: Speaking of Semin, he finally got his first playoff goal in 15 games on Wednesday, and it turned out to be the overtime winner.
It's been a long road back for the 27-year-old, especially after being saddled with a lot of the blame for Washington's first-round upset at the hands of Montreal last season. Dogged by trade rumors on and off for much of the season, a better postseason run in 2011 would do wonders for his confidence.
Old-Time Hockey: There was some rough stuff in Vancouver, a crunching of Teemu Selanne in Anaheim and it was nice to enjoy watching some physical play outside of the ever-present concussion debate.
Speaking of concussions, Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby watched Wednesday's game from the CONSOL Energy Center press box with an earpiece strapped to his ear. While it seems less and less likely we'll see No. 87 on the ice again this season, it is strangely foreign to see him in a suit and tie at this time of the year.
Home Teams: Home teams were 4-1 on Wednesday and according to whowins.com, teams that win Game 1 at home have a 67.6 percent chance of winning the best-of-7 series across the three major sports with that format (NBA, NHL, MLB).
Teams leading 2-nil? Well, then it jumps to 88.9 percent.
The Top 10: Of the top 10 players who finished the regular season as league leaders in scoring, only two—Washington's Alexander Ovechkin and Anaheim's Teemu Selanne—found the back of the net on Wednesday. Ouch.
It has to be tough for the Phoenix players to focus on hockey when speculation is flying like snowflakes in a blizzard. We'll get our answer on the situation - one way or the other—whenever Phoenix's season ends.