First Round Highlight Reel: Best Hits

With every inch of ice contested to the max, there’s always big hits in the playoffs. Throw in the fact that these teams get 4-7 games to develop a healthy dislike for each other and you get some serious collisions. Boston-Buffalo and Vancouver-LA were both very physical series from start to finish, but every series had at least one hit that you had to see again.  So, here’s the best hit from every series.

Washington-Montreal:
Something the Caps didn’t do enough in this series, despite the fact that they had a serious size advantage over the midget forwards on Montreal, was punish them physically. Ovechkin did get this monster open-ice hit on Tomas Plekanec in Game 4, though.

New Jersey-Philadelphia
Daniel Carcillo played a huge role in the Flyers’ upset over the Devils, scoring a clutch OT winner and actually contributing with more than his fists and his mouth. (no dirty pun intended, get your minds outta the gutter) Just ‘cuz he scored goals doesn’t mean he forgot how to hit though, and it’s no secret they love his style of play in Philly.

Buffalo-Boston
Didn’t even have to think twice about what hit I was gonna put in here. Johnny Boychuk is a big, intimidating individual, and he absolutely destroyed Matt Ellis in Game 3.

Pittsburgh-Ottawa
Give the Sens credit, they made things a lot more interesting than anyone expected them to. Pitt came out a bit soft in the first two games, but this hit from Andy Sutton on Jordan Leopold woke everyone up right away.

San Jose-Colorado
This was a very physical series, as the Avs did a real good job of disrupting the Sharks’ offense with tough forechecking and team defense, but the Sharks showed they were more than up to the challenge. Scott Nichol had a great series, creating plenty of energy with his own hits like this one on TJ Galiardi.

Chicago-Nashville
Part of the reason I think this could be the year the Blackhawks finally end their Cup drought is the fact that they love to play the body as much as they love to score goals, and they dished out plenty of punishing hits in their series with the Preds. I’m a big fan of old-time hockey, though, and you just don’t see good hip checks like this one Dan Hamhuis laid out the other night. He also went down and created a goal off this play.

Vancouver-Los Angeles
In what turned out to be one of the most entertaining series of the first round, Alex Edler set an early tone for the Canucks with a couple big hits in Game 1, none bigger than this one on Drew Doughty, who probably would have been knocked out if he hadn’t seen him coming at the last second.

Detroit-Phoenix
No stranger to contact, Niklas Kronwall is one of the hardest hitters around today, and Petteri Nokelainen is now well aware of that fact.

There’s my picks for the best hits of the quarterfinals, and I’m sure there will be plenty more in the next three rounds. Check out the best goals here and the top saves here.

Topics: Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Edler, Andy Sutton, Dan Hamhuis, Daniel Carcillo, Johnny Boychuk, Niklas Kronwall, Scott Nichol

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