Almost all the second round NHL playoff matchups are set. In the West, the Anaheim Ducks will host the Calgary Flames, and the Chicago Blackhawks will host the Minnesota Wild. In the East, the New York Rangers will host the Washington Capitals, and the Montreal Canadians will face the winner of tonight’s game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Tampa Bay Lightning. In the grand scheme of things I don’t think tonight’s outcome will have too much effect on the Stanley Cup. Detroit has remained a consistent hockey team throughout the years, but they are a far cry away from those championship teams with Lidstrom and the Swedish Connection Era.
Since their last championship in 2008, they have made the playoffs each year. Their last five years they have lost in the semi-finals three times and the quarter-finals twice. So even if they win tonight, I don’t see them getting to the finals. Tampa is the heavy favorite at -183, but the Lightning did lose at home in games 1 and 5, so tonight won’t be a walk in the park for them. The last time Detroit played a game 7, they lost in OT to Chicago after being up 3 games to 1 in the 2013 semis. That was also when they were in the Western Conference. The Lightning last played a game 7 against Boston in the 2011 Eastern finals where they lost. Both Chicago and Boston went on to win the Cup in those years. This should be a real close game, I see the under coming in on this one with the eventual winner winning by one goal. My hunch is that Tampa will move on to face the Habs.