As important as they are in basketball, rebounding is equally as valuable when it comes to NHL playoff hockey. From big rebounds off your goalie in the dying minutes of the game, to rebounding from a double overtime defeat in your own arena - Rebounds are often unpredictable and can mean the difference between giving up a goal and giving up a series.
Other than the Panthers and Devils who open their series tonight in Florida, every other team has dealt with first game jitters, whether it turned out great or simply exhausting. Some probably have headaches like Henrik Zetterberg or Dennis Seidenberg, but with less than 48 hours from one game to the next, where do you go from here?
At this point in time, regular season standings are out the window. Anyone can be the hero and protecting your goalie is essential. Take a look at last night's dominating performance by the Bruins on the Caps; despite only 2 shots on goal for Alex Ovechkin, who decided to toss around hits instead, his 3rd period shot was Washington's best chance and could have been the game winner in the 1-0 OT result.
The Canucks, Blues and Pens know what they did wrong to get them the loss, and the upset. The Red Wings know where the Predators messed up and will probably have a tank full revenge ready to go. The Sens and Flyers won't start Game 2 the way they opened Game 1, and the Chicago Blackhawks have been 'shot block challenged' by the Coyotes, who want desperately to get out alive of the first round.
Give strength to your goalie, however qualified he may or may not be. He is your riding hope and will make mistakes in spite of your heightened expectations. Be supportive because as of right now there is still tomorrow, and should he lose his fighting spirit somewhere in between, there might not be next week.
Posted by jen at Friday, April 13, 2012