Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Last Day of the First Round 2009

flamesLet's start at the beginning of the night, where the West was decided. In Calgary, Game 6, the Flames needed to win this one to send it back to Chicago for Game 7. Unfortunately, the wind came out of the sails rather quickly and the Flames could not burn bright enough to shine through to Game 7.

The loss for the Flames did a number to quite a few pool teams that had Flames, eliminating 64 total selections from the list. Chicago was the favourite of the two teams before the series had started, but this series did have some potential for the upset. The most popular Flames to go were Jarome Iginla (11 selections), Mike Cammalleri (11) and Miikka Kiprusoff (10), which tells you that a lot of people put all their eggs into the Flames' basket, if they were going to pick them.

The leading point-getter for the Flames was Olli Jokinen, who finished off the series with 5 points. The Flames won two games in the series, but neither GWG was actually registered by a pool player on the team, so no bonus points were awarded from the Flames.

flamesIn the second elimination game of the night, there was pretty much no escaping for the Sharks. The Ducks were ready to play and they were going to take full advantage of having that elimination game at home on Monday night.

With the 4-1 win for the Ducks, the elimination party was huge in the Playoff Pool. Almost everyone was affected and those who were not, have been in other ways or likely will be. After the eliminations were made, only one team in the pool had 23 of 24 selections and another had 22. That's it. Two teams had more than 21 selections left on their sheet. The final count of eliminations were 162, 88.5% of the total possible number of selections in the sheet. A massive blow to the point totals. The most popular Sharks on the sheet were Evgeni Nabokov (22), Dan Boyle (20) and Joe Thornton (18). That was a lot of top-end picks downed with the loss.

The top scoring players from San Jose in the pool were Joe Thornton (5 points) and Patrick Marleau (5), but Marleau had the only two GWG for the Sharks, which padded his points a little bit. In the overall scheme of things, Thornton did outscore everyone on the team, but you have to love those bonus points if you had Marleau.

The top player of the night honours go to Dustin Byfuglien of the Blackhawks, as he registered a goal and two assists in the 4-1 win over Calgary on Monday night. Byfuglien's line was instrumental in both shutting down the Flames' offense and using a transition game to create some offense of their own, usually in the same shift. Byfuglien was taken 16 times on the sheet, making him a fairly popular Blackhawks player. There were quite a few players who registered a pair of points between the two games, but we'll just stick with the only one to have 3 points.

Game-Winning Goals
PhotobucketThe eventual game-winner scored by the Blackhawks to eliminate the Flames was scored by Adam Burish, a non-pool player. Burish had himself a pretty good series against the Flames, getting under the skin of their better players, but it was his only goal of the series that counted the most at the end of the six games. In Anaheim, it was Teemu Selanne's second period power play marker that ended up being the winner to eliminate the Sharks. Selanne, taken zero times in the pool, made sure his only goal of the series counted for something as well. With the Ducks being such a less popular option than the Sharks, it should come as no surprise when no one had picked him.

Tonight's Games

5pm MT on TSN, you can tune in to see the first Game 7 of the night get started in Washington, as the Capitals play host to the Rangers. The Capitals are working their way back from a 3-1 series deficit and if they win tonight, they will be the first team ever to do that to the Rangers. The Capitals were clear favourites to win, according to the selections on the sheet, so it would be a huge upset if the Rangers were to make it through.

5:30pm MT on TSN2, will see the start of the second Game 7 of the night, were the Hurricanes and Devils will meet up to decide who is the better of these two evenly matched teams. Hell, the best team may not even win the series, it could just be who gets the luckier goal behind the stellar keepers. In the pool, the match-up was not overly swayed to the favourite, who was the Devils, but a Carolina win could put a pretty big dent in the number of selections remaining, going into round 2.

No comments: