Thursday night's action was good for the pool, 18 goals and 3 of 4 wins counted in the pool. The fourth one being from Jonas Hiller of the Ducks, who snuck into the starting role in Anaheim, snaking it away from J-S Giguere. Hiller actually picked up a shutout in the game, which would have counted for 4 points, but that wasn't to be. Giguere has yet to be picked in the pool, likely expecting to be out after the first round.
The star of the night, picking up 3 points against Montreal, was Phil Kessel of the Bruins. Currently, Kessel has been picked 17 out of a possible 55 times in the pool, which makes him a pretty hot commodity at the moment. The Bruins are now the overwhelming favourite among poolies in the playoffs, having 93.3% of their possible picks being taken. Stay tuned for the final numbers, which will be published on Sunday.
Four games, four possible spots for game-winners... but only three were scored by players in the pool, which does count for something. In Boston, Zdeno Chara registered the winner on a booming one-timer; Jonathan Ericsson was the non-counting goal in Detroit; Martin Havlat scored the overtime winner against Calgary in Chicago; and Scott Niedermayer had the winner for Anaheim against the Sharks. The most popular player of the the trio is Chara, who was taken 15 times in the pool, while Niedermayer has been taken twice and Havlat once.
Seven of the active teams in the pool now have 2 game winners on their side, which do count as the third tie-breaker, not to mention a point towards their total.
The Canadiens are the next team to not have players playing on Thursday night. The team was already without Box 20 defenseman, Andrei Markov, due to a knee injury, but Bob Gainey decided to scratch Box 18 forward, Sergei Kostitsyn for Game 1 as well. Markov will likely miss the entire series against the Bruins, but if they can make it past the first round, you can likely look forward to the defender's return in the second round. Kostitsyn may not be as lucky, however, as he remains in the doghouse with the coaching staff.
Only three games on the schedule on Friday night, likely to make the Saturday schedule a little more meaty. The only series not going, which went on Wednesday night, is the Rangers/Capitals series, which the American networks are probably drooling over for their afternoon line-up. Not that I can blame them or anything. First up tonight, the Battle of Pennsylvania. The Penguins hold a 1-0 series lead on the Flyers, which is somewhat expected, as they own a substantial margin of selections as well. Next up, the Hurricanes look to avenge their own poor play in Game 1 in New Jersey, as the Devils play host to Game 2. The Devils are not overwhelming favourites on the Sheet, only picking up 56.4% of their possible picks, while the Hurricanes sit with a mere 39.4%. Finally, the late game on CBC will see the Canucks try to push for a 2-0 series lead on the Blues, to make good use of home-ice advantage. The Canucks hold a large difference in selections on the Sheet, leading the Blues, 72.7% to 21.8%.
Should be another good night of hockey... I believe I will be home tonight, updating the pool live!