After an opening night with two overtime games, Wednesday night was expected to be a little less exciting. But we didn't expect two huge blowouts.
As great of a playoff story as Toronto and the Islanders are, they have the misfortune of facing two playoff veterans in the first round. Pittsburgh and Boston made them look foolish, outscoring them by a combined 9-1 margin. Yikes.
Luckily the Western Conference match-up was able to make up for the lack of excitement in the East. The Sharks and Canucks gutted out a physical battle typical of the two squads. Who came out on top? Read on and enjoy the GIFs to find out.
We started out in Pittsburgh, where the Islanders were doomed just minutes into the game.
Not harmless. Meet "Dazed Nabby." He's just...not all there.
Sometimes he likes to wander off aimlessly.
Unfortunately, that means giving up four goals on 15 shots. That won't cut it in the playoffs. So the Isles pulled Nabokov and let Kevin Poulin face the swarming cloud of bees that was the Penguins attack. Pittsburgh ended up winning 5-0, but they might've lost James Neal along the way.
Meanwhile, in Boston, Johnny Boychuk was scoring from the blue line. Powerfully.
James van Riemsdyk was stick-tapping Brad Marchand in the balls.
You read that right. Wade Redden.
That pretty much summed up the night for the Leafs. For a team that made the playoffs for the first time in nine years, it was a forgettable return. Toronto lost 4-1, but it felt so much worse than that for Leafs fans.
Luongo's early brilliance was overshadowed by the grinding physicality of the game. The Canucks had 40 (!!) hits on the Sharks. Like this one:
As everyone not named Randy Carlyle knows, hitting does not equal winning. Ultimately, the Sharks battled to tie the game and then went absolutely nuts as the game started winding down.
Just like that, San Jose had a 3-1 win and a 1-0 series lead over Vancouver.
And that, kids, is the GIF story of how the Western Conference is more exciting during the playoffs than the East. Until next time.