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In this edition of the hotstove, we share our biggest takeaways from what we've seen in the playoffs thus far.
What's really stood out to me is how well Vegas has played. I thought that series was going to go seven games and that there would be little to separate the two sides regardless of which team prevailed. That hasn't been the case at all.
Though the series has been close on the scoreboard, it hasn't been in terms of the run of play. At 5v5, Vegas has out-chanced Los Angeles 92-57 (61.7 SCF%) and won the high-danger battle 34-17 (66.67 HDCF%). They've skated LA into the ground and been downright dominant in stretches of each game.
After a somewhat underwhelming finish to the season, they have looked as good as at any point all season long. They're full marks for their 3-0 series lead.
The thing that has struck me the most about the Playoffs so far is the Bruins top line. I've often sided with Mike Babcock on the idea that there should be a Hyman-like grinder on each line, since there are only so many shots to go around.
The dominance of the Bruins top line makes me completely re-think this philosophy. I thought if you load up with three star players on one line, that you'd be getting diminishing returns, but the Pasta-Bergeron-Marchand line proves that wrong.
Another take-away is that Marc Andre Fleury is playing great. Often thought of as a passenger on the great Pens teams, then kind of dumped for salary reasons, it's awesome to see one of the best guys to cheer for in the NHL land on his feet.
What Vegas is doing seems ridiculous and shouldn't be happening, but it's impossible to not cheer for Fleury.
I could take something from the Jets/Wild series as an easy answer to this but I think the biggest takeaway is a tie between underestimating the Golden Knights and how strongly many Leafs fans felt Boston was a better match-up than Tampa.
Every time I think the Golden Knights are going to tap out they simply find a way to win. There are going to be case studies done on this expansion team for years. As for the Leafs and Bruins it seems to me that many fans really didn't understand what the match-ups would look like and how the Leafs would adjust or not. In this case I think not only is the team being outplayed by Boston Babcock is getting out-coached.
Which 1st round series are you most looking forward to?
Predicting 1st round upsets