Sunday, May 28, 2017



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(Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire - USA Today Sports)

It's been a long hiatus, but Adam is married, JC is back from China, and we're ready to talk hockey again, just in time for the Stanley Cup Final! We'll give a comprehensive breakdown of the Penguins and Predators up to this point and how they'll match-up against each other starting Monday night. There's also farewells to the Senators and Ducks, Ben Bishop heading to the Lone Star State and plenty more in Short Shifts. It's all a part of the fourth postseason edition of Pucking Thoughts Radio!

Friday, May 12, 2017


by Adam Bernard

*Apologies for the lack of Pucking Thoughts Radio. JC has been in China, and next week I will be gone for my wedding. 

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(Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasqyez - USA Today Sports)

It's a 2 vs 8 match-up and a rematch of last year's first round series (which the Predators won in 7) for the Western Conference Finals. Nashville was expected to be out in the first round against Chicago, but after making quick work of the Blackhawks and taking care of the Blues in 6, they find themselves in the Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. Pekka Rinne (8-2, 1.37 GAA, .951 save%, 2 SO) has been fantastic so far in the playoffs, and will need to continue his performance for the Predators to advance. Nashville's offensive contributions are balanced throughout the lineup, and their top notch blueline is right on par with Anaheim's blue ribbon blueliners. The Ducks made quick work of Calgary and then needed a tight seventh game to advance past Edmonton. John Gibson will need to be a little better (7-3, 2.80 GAA, .908 save%, 0 SO) considering how great Rinne has played. Ryan Getzlaf (15 points), Jakob Silfverberg (11 points) and Rickard Rakell (10 points) have been shouldering the load offensively for Anaheim. I like Anaheim to win the series in seven games, but they'll need more out of their special teams. If there is one area where Nashville has a big advantage in the playoffs, it's on the power play and the penalty kill. 

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(Photo Credit:


The #2 seeds from both the Atlantic and Metropolitan Divisions face off in this year's Eastern Conference Finals. Pittsburgh made quick work of Columbus in the first round and took care of the Presidents Trophy winning Capitals (again) in the 2nd round. What's more important is that they dodged two separate Sidney Crosby head injuries that could have been a lot worse. Marc Andre Fleury (8-4, 2.55 GAA, .927 save%, 1 SO) is doing to Matt Murray what Murray did to The Flower in last year's playoffs. Offensively it's been Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel being three of their top four producers. Jake Guentzel is the missing Penguin from that mix and is having a breakout playoff campaign (9G, 5A). Ottawa comes in to the series after two straight rounds of victories in six over Boston and the NY Rangers. Like Nashville, Ottawa is getting offense from all over their line-up, but Erik Karlsson leads the way with 13 points and is the top Conn Smythe candidate at the moment. Craig Anderson (8-4, 2.19GAA, .914 save%, 1 SO) has been consistent and has made the big save when the Senators needed it. I like Pittsburgh to win this series in six, but I wouldn't be surprised if Guy Boucher and his team frustrate Pittsburgh in to a lot of tight games in a long series. 


-New York Rangers: You can't blow leads late twice in a series, lose in overtime, and expect to advance. Ottawa wasn't that much better of a team than the Rangers, but the Senators showed up when it mattered and the Blueshirts disappeared at crucial times. After a bit of a shaky season, Henrik Lundqvist stepped up in the playoffs yet again, but that recipe continues to fall short. Hank isn't getting any younger. 

-Washington Capitals: What can be said that hasn't already been said about this franchise routinely coming up short, especially when they have to go through Pittsburgh. The rumors are that there will be major roster shake-up's in DC, and why not. You can't really point the finger at Barry Trotz considering Bruce Boudreau, Dale Hunter and Adam Oates have all had similar results running the Caps. 

-St. Louis Blues: It was an interesting season for the Blues. After getting off to a terrible start, the team improved when Ken Hitchcock was fired and Mike Yeo took over. St. Louis didn't play a bad series against the Predators, they just had the misfortune of running in to the Cinderella team of the playoffs. With Yeo behind the bench to start the 2017-18 season, St. Louis should be a playoff team again next season but with a few more points in the standings. 

-Edmonton Oilers: They are kind of like the polar opposite of the Capitals in the "what else can be said" department on the positive side. Making the playoffs this year was good progress. But to eliminate the defending conference champions in the first round and taking the divison champs to seven is a leap in the right direction. The one thing people held against the Oilers coming in to the playoffs is a lack of postseason experience. That is no longer a demerit against McDavid & co.