Montreal’s last-place entrance into the Eastern Conference playoffs was followed by their eliminating the league’s first-place Washington Capitals, and then doing the same to the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins. Improbable? Inexplicable?
Then the hometown team, the Philadelphia Flyers caps a season of under-achieving by sneaking into the playoffs, defeating their old nemesis, the New Jersey Devils in the first series, and then… they come back to win another series, this one against the Boston Bruins in a Game Seven, after being three games down in the series and three goals down in the first period of the seventh game. It’s fun. It’s exciting, but it is also confounding. These things do not seem to happen in most other major league sports, or at least not as frequently as they do in hockey.
Now to add mystification to my confusion, the Eastern Conference Finals between the Flyers and Montreal open with the supposedly spent Flyers, playing on one day’s rest, zapping the supposedly rested and ascendant Canadians six-to-zero, and then three-to-zero in the second game. And then, they get to walloped five to one in the third game. And then… Fortunately, I’ve never been tempted to bet on an NHL game. At this writing the Flyers won Game Four beating the Habs three-zip, to take a series lead of three games to one.
This afternoon, the Blackhawks won the Western Conference Series and now await a Cup round against either the Flyers, or will it be the Canadians? I would not venture a dime on any predictions.