2011 NHL Playoffs: Road Wins Continue in Second Round

MJ Kasprzak@BayAreaCheezhedSenior Writer IIMay 4, 2011

Fans at the games have had less to cheer about with home teams 26-31 so far in these playoffs
Fans at the games have had less to cheer about with home teams 26-31 so far in these playoffsEzra Shaw/Getty Images

Road teams went 26-23 in the first round, and that trend is continuing into the conference semi-finals: Thus far, road teams have swept both games in both series in the Eastern Conference and gone 5-3 overall.

It used to be that taking two on the road signed the opponent's death knell, but Montreal was the only team to do that in the first round and they are sitting at home. Thus, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins had best not get too comfortable with their 2-0 leads heading home.

In fact, we should remember that even with all the road wins in the first round, one of the things we learned was that the higher seeds still advanced. The winners of this round will be more about who is the better teams on the ice than who gets the jump on the other.

The Washington Capitals are losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning because they are experiencing last year's defensive breakdowns. Two goals in under three minutes of the second period turned a lead into a deficit in Game One, which was sewn up when Alex Ovechkin was out-hustled for a loose puck with his net empty.

In Game Two, the Caps were on the power play and had all five players in the front half of the attacking zone, leaving Sean Bergenheim to a breakaway on a long rebound. While they stopped the score, they took a penalty that gave the Lightning their first goal, then gave up the overtime goal on a bad line change.

The Boston Bruins are up 2-0 because they have the likely Vezina Trophy winner in net and the Flyers have made goalie changes in four of their last five games. While goalies sometimes come out of nowhere to lead their teams, no team does well in the playoffs if they cannot rely on the most important position in sports.

The Vancouver Canucks and Nashville Predators are also relying on their own Vezina finalists, having scored a total of two goals each in two games. Goaltending always trumps home ice (or road ice in 2011), so the team that wins this series is the one who will figure out how to gets pucks in the net.

Thus, it appears that by holding serve at home, only the San Jose Sharks are in the driver's seat in their series. By taking two games and thoroughly out-playing the Wings thus far, it would be shocking to see them lose four of the next five.

This series is the only one to this point in the playoffs that matches two Cup-contending teams. Thus, for one to have this kind of edge indicates they are the best pick to win Lord Stanley's Cup.

Related

    NHL's Youth Taking Over All-Star Weekend

    NHL logo
    NHL

    NHL's Youth Taking Over All-Star Weekend

    NHL.com
    via NHL.com

    Quiz: Which NHL All-Star Are You?

    Tap to answer 5 easy questions and comment with who you get 🗣️

    San Jose Sharks logo
    San Jose Sharks

    Quiz: Which NHL All-Star Are You?

    Tryinteract
    via Tryinteract

    TV Info, Predictions for the 2020 NHL All-Star Game

    NHL logo
    NHL

    TV Info, Predictions for the 2020 NHL All-Star Game

    Jake Rill
    via Bleacher Report

    Sharks' Tomas Hertl brings the fun to NHL All-Star Skills Competition

    San Jose Sharks logo
    San Jose Sharks

    Sharks' Tomas Hertl brings the fun to NHL All-Star Skills Competition

    NBCS Bay Area
    via NBCS Bay Area