It's still rather hard to believe that the Capitals will not be playing past the first round in these playoffs, but there ya have it. They are done. The Montreal Canadiens have upset the President's Trophy team this year and there is plenty to talk about going into the second round. First of all, we'll have to say goodbye to the Capitals and then we'll put together some posts to commemorate the first round and it's meanings.
It was another tight game, much tighter than a duck's rear end and the Habs hung on for dear life. Tonight was a night where just a win was good enough to be the best player in the game for points, as Jaroslav Halak made another 41 stops to earn the clinching victory and the biggest 2 points of the playoffs so far. It's truly too bad that there wasn't a Habs fan in the pool with the gumption enough to pick him. We would have had the possibility of a 2006 replay, when this pool had one Oilers' fan in and had Dwayne Roloson all the way. Easy money there, I tell you.
The Capitals were just shy of everyone in the pool having three each, but 165 of 168 possible selections will have to be enough... that's 98.2% of the possible amount of picks. Only one team had the cohones to not pick the Capitals three times. The 52nd place team, Derek B., was the only team not to have Capitals on his team, but that really won't matter going into the second round, it seems. The Canadiens did have 8 selections to their name, making them a ridiculous underdog, but it happened. For those people hedging their bets with some Montreal defense, you might be in for a treat. The most popular player in the pool, Alexander Ovechkin, has been taken away from contention, making Sidney Crosby the ultimate player in this pool, which will likely lift quite a few teams over the others that didn't take him.
Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom led the Capitals in scoring in the 1st round series, both having 10 points. The only player on the Sheet for the Capitals not to register a point was Jose Theodore, as he was dropped in favour of Semyon Varlamov earlier in the series. This is such a huge blow to the scope of the pool, as we all thought that Ovechkin and Crosby would have a good duel, hopefully to the Conference Finals.
Well, it was another game-winning goal stolen away from the pool again on Wednesday night, as Dominic Moore was the eventual hero for the Canadiens, scoring to actually make it 2-0 for Montreal in the 3rd period. It managed to hold up the Capitals onslaught, which only managed to score one goal late.
So, there we go... 9 game-winning goals was enough to have the lead after the 1st round. Russ and Carl are continuing to lead as the 2nd round starts on Thursday. In 2009, one team led the pool with 10 game-winners, so these two are not too far off.
So, that's it... that's the first round. No team has 24 players going into the 2nd round and only one team has 21. Myles D., who currently sits in 19th place, 23 points out of 1st, is the only team with 21 players and has to have a huge 2nd round by his extra players to be in the conversation for some money at the end.
Neil B. will start the 2nd round with a 3-point lead in the pool over Allan S. and 5 points better than 3rd place, Kalenab G.. All three are in the conversation for the GWG lead as well, so you know those have worked well for them in this pool as well.
I should have the Eastern Conference match-ups ready for everyone tomorrow afternoon! They get going on Friday.