It’s amazing, isn’t it, how some so-called experts anoint a team as the winner even before the series has begun? Okay, I’ve been guilty of that many times. It’s human nature. We mortals use our brains to analyze the data and trends in front of us and then we make an informed NHL pick. It’s how things are done, right? Wrong. Not always. Sometimes intangibles have to be thrown into the mix.
2017 NHL Playoffs Picks
Game 2 of the Predators vs Ducks series is a prime example. Nashville has looked almost unbeatable. They had lost only two playoff games prior to this matchup on Sunday. Most pundits were saying that their big four on defense was simply too much for the older Ducks team. But then an intangible comes into play.
With the team tied at three in the second period, Nick Ritchie of the Ducks unleashes a high and hard wrist shot from inside the right face-off circle to Preds goalie Pekka Rinne. The result was Rinne actually ducking his head and the shot going above him for a goal. It turned out to be the game-winner.
Throughout social media, fans are making fun of Rinne, who has been outstanding in these playoffs. The prevailing thought is that he got out of the way of the puck. As far as intangibles go, this is a big one. It could haunt him and change the series.
As for the Ottawa vs Pittsburgh series, everyone and their mom believes that the Penguins will tie up the series tonight in Steeltown. I am not so sure. You just can’t adequately explain the aura and destiny feel around this Ottawa team. Intangibles, folks. I wrote an article last week on how the Sens could beat the Pens, and it could be coming to fruition!
The Senators are getting goals from their top end players like Bobby Ryan, who has elevated his game considerably, and from their lower end players like Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who is among the league leaders in playoff goals, stunningly. They’re also riding a wave of emotion with the return from concussions by Clarke MacArthur and the illness of Craig Anderson’s wife. Intangibles. Destiny. Underdog pick.
Matthew Ross is a sports commentator and a radio host on TSN 690 Radio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Follow him @MatthewWords.