I'm at PNC arena. Hurricanes and the Islanders game five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Series. Carolina with an opportunity to close this one out tonight. The other series in the east, Boston at home, with a chance to close that series out as well. And Boston is home for our next guest, Pete Blackburn.
Bally Sports covers the sport, covers hockey, and he joins us on the Adam Gold Show. Probably spend less time on the Bruins and the Panthers than any other series, but Boston, to me, the two games at Florida kind of looked like they got back to doing what they need to do. Just kind of, they're about to put their foot on the necks of the Panthers, no? Yeah, I think the series is over and even in game two when, you know, you got to give the Panthers some credit for playing better, but I thought that game too, it looked like the Bruins had played the worst game of their entire season. They looked like a team that had just come off of an illness that was sweeping the locker room. They looked gassed. They just looked sloppy. And so, you know, I would chalk up that game to more to the Bruins not playing their game than Florida playing theirs. So I think outside of that, this series has been pretty one-sided to an expected degree. Pete Blackburn, Bally Sports is joining us here. All right, now let's start with, I don't know how to look at this, is Toronto really this good or is Tampa setting the Maple Leafs up for the all-time fall?
I mean, part of me wants to believe that both things can be true, right? Because the Leafs have been a very good team all year long and nobody cares. Nobody cares because it does not matter until you get to the playoffs because they're still the Maple Leafs and they still are the Maple Leafs. They're in a great position right now up 3-1, but you will not hear me congratulating them or celebrating them until they get that fourth win because I know that they're still the Toronto Maple Leafs. They blew a 3-1 lead to the Montreal Canadiens a few years ago and that's a worse team than the Tampa Bay Lightning. So they still have their work cut out for them, but I will say that that game four win was massive, not only to avoid, you know, evening up the series 2-2 and taking a 3-1 lead because that's a massive difference, but just in the way that they did it to expel some sort of demons and to give themselves a bit of confidence that, hey, this year might be a little bit different because typically that's a game that goes the opposite way and the Leafs are on the other end of it and everybody's making fun of them. So now they have a little bit of confidence in themselves.
Maybe they feel like there's some magic in their room. I hope that they are sticking to the vision and going for that fourth win because if they blow this one it is going to be all-time. It's really the second time that Toronto has done that to Tampa. This was way more egregious when the Lightning have a 4-1 lead at home and arguably the best goalie in the world in their own net and you give up three goals and it wasn't even like an empty, it wasn't like an extra attacker goal, they just gave up three goals in like the next six minutes and then you lose it in overtime.
That can be a demoralizing loss. Tampa's got so much championship pedigree but the way they ended the season, which I think they lost eight of their last 12 games, the way they ended the season, you just wonder if that's kind of in the back of their minds that maybe they don't have it this year. Yeah, I mean I was waiting, waiting to kind of, I was reserving judgment there just because the Lightning had that play locked up for quite some time and we've seen in the past that they don't always care about the regular season but they're one of the teams that can flip the switch when the postseason comes around. So I was waiting but man they haven't looked sharp in this series for the most part and you know I still believe in their talent. I still think that Andrei Vasilevskiy is an unbelievable goaltender.
He hasn't looked at in this series. I just wonder you know if they're kind of fatigued from three really deep Stanley Cup runs, an aging roster, Victor Hedman was banged up. Like I just wonder, they lost like a lot of their depth which was what carried them through and put them over the top.
So I wonder if they're just kind of coming to the end here. It does look like they've lost some steam and they're kind of running out of gas here. They haven't looked good or sharp in the past few games.
No they haven't. Victor hasn't played 29 minutes by the way in game number four. Do you think you could pull a pin out of Toronto's rear end if they lose game five on home ice?
I mean no because that's how you get that. Getting a 3-1 lead gives you a little bit of runway right? Like if they lose two and they have to have to do it in a game seven I would be concerned because the last five times that they've been eliminated in the first round the series has gone the distance. So they are not a team that you want going to a winner-take-all because they've shown time and time again that they will fall flat. Oh my gosh they lost game six and seven last year. Game seven on home ice to the lightning. They have not won a first round not won a playoff series since 2004.
Pete Blackburn, Valley Sports. All right the battle of the Hudson River between the Rangers and the Devils. Home teams don't want to win so we like the Rangers tonight or rather tomorrow in New Jersey?
I do not. Even when the Devils were down 2-0 in the series I said I still believe in that team's talent. I still think that they're a better team than New York overall and as long as Lindy Ruff did not drive the ship straight into the Hudson River I thought that they were going to have a chance and I was really really really impressed by the Devils in game four. They really played they really played their game and the Rangers laid an egg. They looked terrible. They looked completely flat and I have concerns about that carrying over especially when you look at the fact that hey the Rangers won two games the first two games of their series against the lightning and then lost four straight.
So it could be consecutive times that we've seen that happen. I just think that maybe that team we could be talking about that being the new lease in terms of just falling apart when it matters most. You know I think the Rangers will be better than they looked in game four but I still believe in the Devils being a better team. Yeah also like I'm not trying to hang anything on Igor Shostakin but it's kind of hard to believe that Shostakin allowed Jonas Seigenthaler to score from where he scored and it looked like it went right through him. So that I just I didn't see that as a as a good goal for Shostakin to allow. Yeah I mean it was a it was a good play like Nico Heescher with a great shot size pass and a great shot from Seigenthaler and you know it's maybe it's one that you want to have but like that's that's where the Devils are going to find their money right. It's a defenseman being active joining the rush like they they're an incredible rush team. They skate really well they move the puck up the ice really well and the Rangers I think the biggest weakness is that they don't defend the rush super well. Igor Shostakin faced more rush opportunities than any goalie in the entire NHL this season. So you know the Devils are going to find their money by moving the pocket and going east to west and and and creating offense off the rush. So it was great to see Seigenthaler by the way get on the board get his first playoff goal after being scratched in game two because that's what I mean when I say if Lindy Ruff doesn't drive the ship into the Hudson River. For no reason for Brendan Smith in game two is the kind of decision that like gets a coach fired just based off of it like one playoff series because Seigenthaler is one of their better defenseman and taking him out of the lineup after one game with a massive overcorrection and it concerned me about the Devils outlook at that point. I agree Seigenthaler is a key part of that team. Look I've the Devils are are super fun to watch but real quick about the Rangers do you think they're not good in transition defensively because of their forwards because I think they've got a good active D. I think their D skates pretty well I don't think that the IQ is is always there like I don't think that they they necessarily make the right decisions in transition all the time their forwards do leave quite a bit to be desired in terms of you know back checking and being responsible defensively so I don't think they're they're like overall a great defensive team in transition but I do like what they have on the back end in terms of you know two-way play not always what you want defensively in transition. Hey Blackburn Valley Sports I appreciate your time I hope we see you down here for the Eastern Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Finals. Who's being optimistic here? Me too.
I hope that the Bruins are there because that would mean that the Bruins then run through the Maple Leafs in round two which would be the most would be the funniest possible solution if Toronto finally gets through round one and still meets Boston and gets destroyed in round two. You and I are sharing a brain. Pete thank you very much man I appreciate your time we'll talk again. Of course thanks for having me.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-25 18:15:36 / 2023-04-25 18:19:55 / 4