Each game over a seven-game playoff series brings a different feeling, a unique flavor. In the middle, you have the ‘who can push the momentum?’ scenario – i.e. can a team take a 3-1 lead or will the other side tie up the series 2-2.
And while each contest is usually filled with pre-game excitement, nerves and anticipation that far surpasses a regular season contest, by far, the most exciting are game one and game seven.
For the Kings – or at least two of their prospects – tonight will feature both.
In the quirkiness of scheduling that often occurs in the playoffs, forward Maxim Kitsyn (2010 6th round draft pick) and the Mississauga St. Michael’s will open the OHL Championship series tonight vs. the Owen Sound Attack. Mississauga is riding high right now, having only lost one game total to their first three playoff opponents. Can they possibly pull off another sweep here and claim the OHL title?
The series opens tonight and then moves to Owen Sound for game two on Thursday. Due to proximity, the two teams will alternate home games throughout the series.
Over in the QMJHL, it’s a completely different story. Defenseman Nic Deslauriers (2009 3rd round draft pick) and the Gatineau Olympiques will be fighting for their playoff lives in a game seven that almost never was.
The series opened with a Gatineau win. However, they then lost three straight to Quebec. Gatineau clawed their way to a 5-3 victory in game six on Friday night and decisive 4-0 win on Sunday to force tonight’s game seven. In those two games, Deslauriers had a goal and four assists.
Tonight’s winner will face the Saint John Sea Dogs for the QMJHL Championship beginning Thursday night.
The Kings no longer have a representative in the WHL playoffs, as Linden Vey (the 2011 WHL scoring champion) and his Medicine Hat Tigers were swept in the semi-finals by Kootenay.
As mentioned in previous reports, the WHL, OHL and QMJHL champions will meet up in the Memorial Cup tournament to determine the overall CHL champion later this month.