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THN.com Playoff Blog: Please Pens, reverse the trend

Ryan Dixon
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Jarkko Ruutu, Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy will try and get the Pens back in the series with a Game 3 victory. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) Author: The Hockey News

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THN.com Playoff Blog: Please Pens, reverse the trend

Ryan Dixon
By:

A win by Detroit and you can make it an even dozen.

Should the Red Wings grab a 3-0 lead tonight with their 15th win of the playoffs, it will mark the 12th series of 15 this spring in which one team held either a 3-0 or 3-1 lead.

Talk about drama suckage.

The 2007 playoffs saw teams take a 3-0 or 3-1 advantage 10 times out of 15 total series and there were nine such cases in ’06. So this year’s spike isn’t hugely out of whack, but an unwanted bump nonetheless.

Now, I’m not saying a short series is necessarily a dud. Five stellar games are better than seven yawners; much the same way a chance-filled 2-1 game trumps a trap-happy 5-4 contest with bad goaltending.

Accentuating the problem this year is the fact teams that get down tend to stay there.

Oh sure, Washington and Boston both pushed for seventh games after falling down 3-1, but both ultimately came up short. San Jose was an OT goal away from forcing a Game 7 on Dallas after falling behind 3-0, while the Stars also closed a 3-0 gap to 3-2 before bowing out in six to Detroit in the West final.

But with the exception of the Caps’ almost-comeback in Round 1 versus Philly, all those death rattles did, really, was prolong the inevitable.

Six of 14 series so far – or nearly half for those of you with math skills like mine – have seen one team win the first three contests this post-season, including both conference finals.

Unfortunately, the old quip about picking a team in three has been more of a reality than punch line this spring.

Either way, here’s hoping the Pens turn the exclamation mark Detroit put on its first two wins into a question about whether we might get a championship series after all.

Otherwise, we’re all staring an unlucky seventh 3-0 deficit in the face.

EVEN STEVEN

OK, so Red Wings public address announcer Budd Lynch dropped the ball by calling the league’s shiniest skater ‘Steven’ Crosby before Game 1.

I can look past the 88-year-old’s mistake simply because I enjoy the fact he doesn’t sound like his hair is on fire while introducing the Red Wings starting lineup.

I don’t know if this is an age gauge or what, but I don’t need fabricated, over-the-top, sometimes scary enthusiasm when hearing the home side’s starters. Give me a guy like Lynch who can say, “In goal, 30, Chris Osgood” without exhaling each syllable like the Big Bad Wolf.

The little organ tickle after each player’s name is the Original Six cherry on top.

POISONOUS LEAFS?
San Jose, Detroit and Florida have all denied requests by the Leafs to speak to certain front office members belonging to those clubs about the GM vacancy in Toronto.

Two things could be at play here.

It could be those teams are concerned with protecting their personnel from the Leafs’ overtures.

But don’t dismiss the possibility they’re simply trying to quarantine members of their organization from people with low hockey IQ in case it’s infectious.

Ryan Dixon is a writer and copy editor for The Hockey News magazine, the co-author of the book Hockey's Young Guns and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Wednesdays and his column, Top Shelf, appears every second Friday.


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THN.com Playoff Blog: Please Pens, reverse the trend