Carolina just beat their opposition into submission, and in the end Buffalo lost the war of attrition. Four starting defensemen sidelined, Veteran Jay McKee (staff infection), Teppo Numminen (hip flexor), Henrik Tallinder (broken left arm), and Dmitri Kalinin (ankle) were not dressed for this all important game.
Not to take away from the fact that Carolina played a perfect game 7, but Buffalo seemed satisfied after taking the lead to keep it and were just outplayed in the third period. I had said before that it was Buffalo’s series to lose, and that is how it played out for the most part.
Rod Brind’Amour willed this win for his team. He along with the rest of his veteran players for the ‘Canes vowed they wouldn’t be beat on a late second period banked shot from Jochen Hecht as they sat in the locker room between periods. And a tying goal by Doug Weight, and later a seemingly innocent dump that was shot over the glass by the Sabres that resulted in a penalty led Brind’Amour to score the game winner with eight minutes left in the third.
Carolina’s play was consistent, a virtue that is sometimes over looked in playoff hockey. And Buffalo just couldn’t stay healthy enough in the end. These two teams battled hard, but to hear nothing but respect for each other after this hard battled series speaks of class and sportsmanship of both.
And then there were two…
Even though I had correctly predicted how the east would shake out, Edmonton crashed every prediction I had made for the Western Conference. I will expect that this series will be tentative at first, but then will step up a few levels after the first two games.
Predictions for said Stanley Cup final will come soon, as soon as I figure out what the hell is going on in the west.
And now for something completely different…
Local news NBC4 (WRC) made no mention in their sports minute this morning that there is even a Stanley Cup final. No mention of Carolina’s win, or which teams would be playing for the Cup. After having to get up ridiculously early, they reported most of their time on the Yankee/Tigers game. Wha? And they wonder why DC isn’t a hockey city?
I am getting more and more frustrated with the local media here in DC about the lack of hockey coverage. I expect that if the Capitals ever make it to the playoffs let alone the finals, the most coverage they will have is a 2 sec. sound bite at the end of the broadcast. I am almost embarrassed for them if after one of the most thrilling game sevens in the NHL, NBC4 would rather talk about the Yankee/Detroit game (neither team by the way resides in DC).