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Real NHL 2014 Playoffs Biggest First Round Surprises thus far

Marleau looks on as Quick shuts the door in Game 4 of Sharks Kings Series
H. How/Getty Images

The biggest surprise maybe the Montreal Canadiens sweeping the Lightning in four but the Kings going down 3-0 is right up there. Last night the Kings did stave off elimination in impressive fashion exploding for six goals and cruising to the win suggesting that series may not be as over as it appeared to be prior to game four.

Then there are the upstart Blue Jackets that came back on Pittsburgh at home in game four, tying it in the last minute then winning the game early in the first overtime period. That series is now a best of three but if the goalless pair of Crosby and Malkin don’t assert themselves and fast, the Blue Jackets just might be headed for the second round.

Did anyone think the Ducks would be tied with the Stars after four games? That was another series going in that looked like a lock for a very strong Anaheim team but it is also a best of three. It’s the same story with Colorado and Minnesota now also a best of three series. While both Colorado and Anaheim hold home ice if it goes seven games, neither Colorado nor Anaheim can be happy they're tied given their respective apparent edges at the outset.

The only series that aren't surprising are the Blues Blackhawks at 2-2 which looked to be a toss up going in and the Bruins Wings where Boston was expected to cruise in five and can do just that back on home ice Saturday afternoon. Then there’s this weird scheduling anomaly with the Habs finishing up round one last Tuesday

while the Rangers and Flyers have yet to play four games in the only other series that has unfolded pretty much as expected with the Rangers up 2-1 heading into game four tonight.

In terms of play-off surprises maybe the biggest change from just a few years ago is just how many teams have been able to come back after being down two or more goals. In the past, the team that scored first went on to win the vast majority of the time. In game 3, the Kings blew a two goal lead, last night, the Wings did the same, and Columbus was down by 3 early in their game 4 and looked like it might be a blow out yet hung in and evened the series at two. Exciting and unpredictable hockey leaving one wondering if this same come back propensity will carry over to series results.

Can the Kings win four in a row? Given the Sharks just beat the Kings four straight going back to the final game of the regular season perhaps it's their turn for some puck luck. If Quick regains his regular season form
would it be that much of a shocker? Gaborik had two last night and with the Kings suddenly firing on all cylinders maybe a 3-0 series lead isn't what it used to be. The Kings Sharks series resumes Saturday in San Jose.

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