The Carolina Hurricanes miracle comeback in the last 90 seconds against the New Jersey Devils Tuesday night set up a dream matchup for the NHL. The ‘Canes upset win now means that the Capitals will face the Penguins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, setting up arguably the most compelling series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs so far with Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby meeting again.
“It must be unbelieveably exciting for the NHL,” said Howard Bloom, publisher of the Ottawa-based Sports Business News. “That’s the dream series…Ovechkin and Crosby…good for the NHL.”
This series should draw very good ratings on NBC and Versus and will probably have the look and feel of a conference final. Without Carolina’s win, it would have been Caps-Devils and Bruins-Penguins. Not bad, but this is the matchup the NHL wants most. (I guess you could argue the NHL might have preferred the Rangers against Boston and the Devils against Pittsburgh, given the market sizes. But I have no doubt Gary Bettman is thrilled that the Ovechkin/Crosby storyline will be out there.)
The only downside now is that the Caps and Penguins would have otherwise been lined up to face each other in the Conference Finals. But that’s ok, because you can’t assume the Caps would have beaten the Devils and the Penguins would have gotten by Boston.