By Arnie Leshin
As is the NBA, the National Hockey League’s shortened restarted season is under way, and like the NBA,
The NBA is playing at the ESPN World Wide of Sports Complex in Lake Buena VIsta, Fla., nearby to Disney World. And the NHL is playing north of our border, at Toronto, at Edmonton, and at Vancouver Alberta, also with a ‘bubble.”
And, as usual, there are surprises on the ice rink, namely the 6th-seeded Long Island Islanders holding a 3-0 lead in the best of seven over the 3rd-seeded Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference. This is the only series that has this margin, but the top-seeded Philadelphia Flyers are only up 2-1 in the series versus the 8th-seeded Montreal Canadiens in the East, and the 2nd-seeded Tampa Bay Lightening are also up 2-1 over the 7th-seeded Columbus Blue Jackets, also in the East.
And with the Boston Bruins the 4th-seed in the East, it figured to be a close series against the 5th-seeded Carolina Hurricanes, and it is. Boston won the first game, 3-1, Carolina evened it with a 3-2 win in game two, and the Bruins’ 4-3 triumph brought them a 2-1 series lead. Tampa Bay won in five overtimes over the Flames, who answers with a 3-1 victory, but the Lightening eased by, 3-2, in game three of the series.
In the West, it’s a close one matching the 2nd-seeded Colorado Avalanche with the 7th-seeded Arizona Coyotes. Colorado shut out Arizona, 3-0, in the first game, and back came Arizona to earn a 4-2 victory, but Colorado won game three, 3-2, to hold a 2-1 series advantage.
The 3rd-seeded Dallas Stars lost the first two games against the 6th-seeded Calgary Flames, 3-2 and 2-0, but bounced back to win the next two, 5-4 in regulation and 5-4 in overtime to deadlock the series at 2-2. A meeting between the 4th-seeded St. Louis Blues and the 5th-seeded Vancouver Canucks figured to be a tight one, but Vancouver went up 2-0 with a 4-3 win in overtime and a 4-3 game two triumph.
Then there’s the West’s top-seeded Las Vegas getting away to three-straight wins over the 8th-seeded Chicago BlackHawks, 4-3 in overtime, and 3-2 and 2-0 before Chicago stayed alive by winning game four 3-1 of the series.