It is a little strange that the NHL has opted to go straight into the Playoffs upon its return, but at the same time, it’s just good to see players back on the ice. Emanating totally from Canada on Saturday, the league returned with a slate of five games. The one that stands out on paper is the Chicago Blackhawks’ 6-4 win over the Edmonton Oilers.
Chicago was the #12 ranked team out West, so they barely got into this series, but they certainly have a chance to progress further if they keep playing like this. The Montreal Canadians managed a surprise 3-2 win over Pittsburgh thanks in large part to brilliant goaltending by Carey Price. He made 39 saves, while defenseman Jeff Petry scored the winner in OT. In the other three match ups, Calgary downed Winnipeg, the New York Islanders defeated Florida, and Carolina triumphed over the New York Rangers. Remember, these are technically five-game “play-in” series, so each team is looking to make their way into the ‘proper’ 16-team playoff field which is set to begin on August 10th.