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Four Biggest Takeaways From Round 1 Of The NHL Playoffs

Carly Fasciglione |
April 29, 2015 | 2:27 p.m. PDT

Staff Writer

The Blues are heading home early once again, is it time to head in a new direction? (Twitter/@StLouisBlues)
The Blues are heading home early once again, is it time to head in a new direction? (Twitter/@StLouisBlues)
Eight teams move on, eight teams go home. The first round of the NHL playoffs is coming to a close, and it certainly did not disappoint. With three favorites already knocked out of competition, the field is open for any team to make a run or for any of those eliminated early to evaluate what exactly went wrong. Here’s what we learned from the first round of play:

The Flames are Loving Their Underdog Title

Nearly every NHL fan, analyst or playoff bandwagon viewer chose the Flames as the worst team in the playoffs this year. Granted, they were ranked last in points, possession and shots per game amongst the 16 playoff contenders. On top of that, the Flames lack any sort of star player to lead their fiery, yet inexperienced roster of young players. Apparently, Calgary thrives off of criticism. The Flames were able to knock out a veteran Vancouver squad in six hard-fought games. It wasn’t a very pretty series, and the Canucks were by no means a favorite to win it all, but the Flames are proving that the numbers aren’t always everything. Now, as they head to Anaheim as heavy underdogs, they may be able to once again use their critics as motivation.

The Blues are Singing the Blues Yet Again

The Wild knocked out the top-seeded Blues in six, but is anyone really surprised? The Blues seemed to have the best roster on paper and were favorited by many to be championship contenders. Instead, and in typical hockey fashion, the numbers did not matter. The Wild may have headed into the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in the league, but being knocked out in the first round for the third year in a row is definitely not good news for the Blues. Expect some personnel change and a scramble to find a stable goaltender during this long offseason for this team. 

Be Weary of Corey Crawford

Joel Quenneville recently announced that Blackhawks Corey Crawford will start in goal in round two against the Wild. Crawford, who just so happened to recently sign a six-year extension for $6 million per year, struggled immensely in the first two games of the series against the Predators, but Scott Darling stole the show in game one with an NHL record 52 saves in relief. Crawford fell apart in game two as well and was once again replaced by Darling for the next three games. During that time, Darling had an unbelievable .936 save percentage and was key in the Blackhawks series win. Although Crawford came in for Darling in the series-clinching game six, Darling’s heroic play should not be forgotten. If the Blackhawks want to remain championship contenders, they may need to turn to their second line of defense instead. 

Keep Your Head Held High, Predators

The Predators may have been sent home early, but that does not mean this season was a total bust. Led behind Vezina Award nominee Pekka Rinne in net, Nashville had an admirable regular season. The only problem was that they ended up victims of the seeding process with a matchup against the Blackhawks in the first round. Throughout the series, the Predators lost their captain Shea Weber and star center Mike Fisher struggled through injuries as well. Regardless, Filip Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro stepped up to the plate and unexpectedly took the Blackhawks to six games. With the Predators tough mentality, they will take this elimination with pride and head into next season stronger than ever.

Reach Staff Writer Carly Fasciglione here or follow her on Twitter



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