Rough start

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It was Stanley Cup Final time on “The Americans” tonight, and those 1981 Islanders scored one more goal on TV than these Islanders did tonight. Marc-Andre Fleury got the playoff-opening shutout, but except for maybe a Casey Cizikas flurry early, the difference seemed to be the Penguins’ play at the other end. The Big Club gets a chance to get into it Friday.

Justin DiBenedetto signs with Orebro in Sweden, erstwhile home of a few former Sound Tigers. ObFWB (Google Translate version)*: “There is a young guy who chops like a cobra in front of the opponents goal.” Awesome. Via EliteProspects, Tony Romano also goes to Sweden.

Pat Mullane of Wallingford, late of Boston College, signed with Rockford.

Nick Tarnasky tied it with 4:03 to go to prolong Rochester’s season, but Will Acton’s deflection 5:14 into overtime won it for Toronto at four-on-four and knocked the Amerks out. The defending Western Conference champs move on. The other three series could end Friday or otherwise will end Saturday. Cristopher Nilstorp shut out Milwaukee as Texas scored its only two goals in the third. In Michigan, Adam Almquist’s goal with 3:38 left broke a tie, and Grand Rapids beat Houston, minus the recalled Darcy Kuemper, 4-2 to take a 2-1 series lead. Charlotte beat Oklahoma City soundly (two points for Tim Wallace). They all took 2-1 leads in their series.

Three Eastern Conference teams facing elimination Thursday.

NBC will air United States games in the World Championship.

Joe Posnanski writes about the English Premier League and its lack of playoffs. (Or at least postseason. Admittedly my soccer knowledge comes mostly from Championship Manager, but the League Cup and the FA Cup seem to me to be analogues that just happen to go on during the season, and that involve everyone under the sun rather than “division winners and wild cards.”) The idea that the regular-season champion doesn’t get the credit it should — that kind of seems to be the way it used to be. Jeez, it’s five years ago now, but I linked back here to a Time Magazine story from 1947 that called the Stanley Cup playoffs “anticlimactic.” #BecauseItsTheCup indeed. Think I read somewhere else about teams worried about the Prince of Wales Trophy, not the Cup. I have no idea when this attitude changed, or if indeed it was as prevalent as a small sample of old and semi-remembered pieces lead me to believe**.

*-Admittedly, that has become less than obligatory, and I’m sure even this is less “ha ha, funny computer” than a literal translation of an idiom. Cursed improved computer translation.
**-Can’t find the blog post, so maybe it’s even more semi-remembered than I remember, but didn’t I do something once about how weird the old NHL and AHL playoff formats look to young eyes? When they used to have division winners face each other in the first round, with the other teams facing off in a mini-tournament? Odd stuff.

Michael Fornabaio