As the play-offs for big boys begin, one has to wonder who will be the underdog that surprises this year. The first round of the NHL play-offs is one of the great carnivals of team sport. There’s always some team that shouldn’t, but does, which is often against a team that should have but doesn’t. Then again, sometimes it’s the team that should, that almost doesn’t but then somehow squeaks by, barely, in a first round scare. Often such a scare makes them better and harder to beat down the stretch.
Remember the year the Islanders played the Rangers after the miracle on ice in Lake Placid? Best of five and what a series. The Rangers could easily have won with another break or two, but they didn’t and the rest is history. Or how about the year the Flames won the cup way back when Vernon was in net for them in ’89. They survived a 7th game overtime in the first round, one in which Vernon stopped someone on a break-away to keep it alive. I’m not sure who missed on break-away, nor even who the other team was. As the Hip song says “no one’s interested in something you didn’t do.”