2020-21 NHL Season Recap – Part 2 – Best of the Year
Colorado Avalanche vs. Vegas Golden Knights
This was a highly anticipated series that everyone knew was coming. Even though it went six games and half were lopsided, the three that weren’t were glorious. You could feel the intensity, and two went to overtime. Several stretches reminded me of when the Chicago Blackhawks played the Los Angeles Kings in the playoffs in their heydays. It’s a shame neither team made it to the finals. After the series, Nathan MacKinnon said, “I’m going into my ninth year next year, and I haven’t won shit.” Truer words have never been spoken.
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Nashville Predators
There’s no way I can’t mention a series that featured four overtimes in a row. Each game was thrilling, and both teams won two. The fans in the area were electric, and the overtime winners dazzled. The Predators found their groove in Game 3, and if they played four more games, I bet there would be four more overtimes, and each would win two.
Best Game 7
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Islanders
You could feel the tensions in this one. The game was tight, goals would be scarce, and it would come down to a mistake. That mistake occurred in the second period when the Islanders were on a power play and turned the puck over. Not a big deal, but after the Lightning went for a change, all three Islander defenders gravitated to Anthony Cirelli, leaving Yanni Gourde wide open. Gourde scored the game-winning goal.
Team on the Rise
The Panthers have very slowly been trending up the last few seasons. They have a core many would be envious of in Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, and Aaron Ekblad. Unfortunately, this core isn’t getting any younger. Enter coach Joel Quenneville who knows a little something about winning. Since arriving, the Panthers are 72-40. Not too shabby. They have yet to get out of the first round. However, they seemed poised to do that this year but ran into the Stanley Cup champions. I feel good about their chances of making the playoffs this season but not on advancing. They’ll probably end up drawing Toronto, Boston, or Tampa Bay in the first round. That won’t be easy. The larger issue is goaltending. With Chris Driedger now on the Seattle Kraken, Sergei Bobrovsky is their only current option. Unless he plays better, this team may end up sinking instead.
There’s no way this team wasn’t surprising. Although, with the way they started and ended the season, maybe it was the middle that was surprising. Either way, I didn’t, nor did many have them making the playoffs or going as far as they did. You can see the difference a healthy Carey Price and Cole Caufield being in the lineup makes. They are a way more dangerous team when both play. Their defense, anchored by large defensemen, is smothering. Expectations will be high next year, which might be a problem with things returning to normal. I can see them not making the playoffs.
Hall seemingly finds himself on here every year. Only for once, it’s for best trade. After the debacle in Buffalo, I wrote it would be a disaster. Hall finally went to a good team for once in his career. The Bruins didn’t give up much to get him, and Hall scored almost a point per game in his final 16 regular-season games. He scored five points in 11 playoff games but was always a constant force on the ice. He added the secondary scoring depth the Bruins always coveted. They both agreed it was a great fit as Hall signed a four-year deal to remain there. Next season should be even better.
The best thing that happened
Seattle finally got a hockey team! I’m super happy for them and wanted a team there so badly when I lived there for a few months and almost moved permanently. I moved back to California, but I’m still elated they got a team. They were one of the biggest markets with a lot of hockey fans but no team. Sure, Vancouver has a team, but those tickets are expensive, and crossing the border isn’t fun. Considering season tickets are already sold out, the first few seasons should be fun even if the team isn’t any good.
Jack Campbell of the Toronto Maple Leafs set an NHL record with his 11th consecutive win to start a season. Not bad for a guy who played only 64 games on three teams before this season. Campbell played pretty well in the playoffs too.
Patrick Marleau played in his 1,768th NHL game, becoming the all-time leader in games played by surpassing Gordie Howe’s mark. Marleau will be 42 next season and is a free agent. I’m surprised he didn’t stay in Toronto, especially with Joe Thornton ending up there.http://hockeyrecaps.us/2021/08/08/2020-21-nhl-season-recap-part-2-best-of-the-year/http://hockeyrecaps.us/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/taylor-hall-bruins-1024x576.jpghttp://hockeyrecaps.us/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/taylor-hall-bruins-300x300.jpgSeason RecapsAleksander Barkov,Carey Price,Carolina Hurricanes,Chicago Blackhawks,Cole Caufield,Colorado Avalanche,Florida Panthers,Gordie Howe,Joe Thornton,Joel Quenneville,Jonathan Huberdeau,Los Angeles Kings,Montreal Canadiens,Nashville Predators,Nathan MacKinnon,New York Islanders,Patrick Marleau,Seattle Kraken,Sergei Bobrovsky,Stanley Cup,Tampa Bay Lightning,Taylor Hall,Toronto Maple Leafs,Vegas Golden Knights