Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Unmissable Monday Night

It wasn't the biggest upset, nor is it the smallest, but the Buffalo Sabres have now been eliminated from the post-season by the Boston Bruins and we have a lot of picks down the toilet tonight.

The Sabres couldn't manage a tying goal in the 3rd period, coming back from 2-down twice in the final frame to cut the deficit to one, but that wasn't going to be enough in the end, as they dropped Game Six, 4-3.  David Krejci was the big gun for the Bruins on Monday night, scoring a pair of goals and adding an assist for a huge 3-point contribution, leading the pool bound-Bruins in that department.  It was another points steal from the pool from both Tuukka Rask and Miroslav Satan, as they take points away from our beloved pool players, Rask the win and Satan the game-winner.

The Sabres were definitely one of the favourites in the 1st round, as they had 69.8% of their possible selections in this match-up, while the Bruins only had 27.4%.  The most popular player eliminated with the Sabres is Thomas Vanek, who was taken 24, making him the 2nd-most popular player eliminated in the Eastern Conference in these playoffs. Drew Stafford had 20 picks and Ryan Miller had 15 picks, coming in 2nd and 3rd in popularity on the team, respectively.  After the elimination of the Sabres players, which was done right after the game, only one team in the pool has 24 players remaining.

Jason Pominville led all Sabres in the hockey pool with 5 points, thanks to 2 goals (1 game-winner) and 2 assists in the series.  There was a pretty bad power outage when it came to the Buffalo scoring attack, which couldn't help their goaltender at many turns in the series.

Good-bye Buffalo!

In what should be considered to be much less of a surprise, the Blackhawks downed the Predators in six games after a 5-3 victory.  The Predators were not going to be favourites after the season that the Blackhawks had, but you would have to think that the Hawks had more than they were expecting, going six games.

It was a pretty big night for the Blackhawks captain, Jonathan Toews, who scored the winning goal and added a pair of assists for a 4-point night in the clinching game. That's definitely a good sign for the Hawks, if their captain is going to step up with a big performance in a series clincher, the team should be in good shape.  Antti Niemi made 25 saves in the win, but no one was going to capitalize on those 2 points, since Cristobel Huet was the goaltender of choice for the Blackhawks when the Sheet was done up.

Yes, this was not much of a loss to the pool, seeing the Predators get eliminated, as there were nine selections for the Predators in the pool, period.  That's an awfully low number, but amazingly not the lowest.  No one had the Predators to actually completely upset the Blackhawks, but there were a number of teams that hedged their bets with a couple Predators, along with a couple players from some of the other underdog teams.  Defensemen Denis Grebeshkov and Dan Hamhuis were the most popular Predators players in the pool, taken three times each.  They just happened to be the nicer complimenting players to a team, without as much stock when they are lost to a pool team.

In this series, it was David Legwand who led Nashville in scoring, picking up 2 goals (including 1 game-winner) and 5 assists for 8 points in the six games played.  He and Joel Ward were the only two Predators forwards taken in the pool, each of them taken once.

Normally, I would want to reserve the picture for the highest point-getter in their respective game, but Jaroslav Halak earned the picture from Monday night, making 53 stops, allowing 1 goal, in the Canadiens Game Six win over the Capitals, forcing Game Seven to go in Washington on Wednesday night.  Since the win was not a shutout, Halak only picked up a pair of points in the game.  The biggest point-getter in the game was Mike Cammalleri, who scored a pair of goals, including the winner, and added an assist for a 4-point night.

After Monday night's game, you can only imagine what the atmosphere will be like back in Washington when they face-off on Wednesday night.  If you thought the Habs had their hands full on Monday, that'll be nothing compared to Game Seven.

Game-Winning Goals
New Playoffs Game Winner ButtonOkay, a quick recap of our favourite bonus points, the game-winning goals.  Miroslav Satan stole his second bonus point of these playoffs by scoring the goal that eliminated the Buffalo Sabres.  I can't say I'm terribly happy about that.  Mike Cammalleri was the scoring hero for the Canadiens, forcing that series to go to a seventh game on Wednesday.  Finally, Jonathan Toews' late 1st period marker held up to be the game-winner that eliminated the Predators. 

Carl D. and Russ D. didn't manage to pick up any new bonus points in those games on Monday night, but neither did their closest competition, in order to tie them.  Five teams in the pool now have 8 game-winners to their name, but they still sit one back of both Carl and Russ for the lead in the category.

There were a couple of scratches to talk about, but since one of those teams was eliminated, I won't be worrying about that today.  Brendan Morrison was a scratch for the Capitals on Monday night and was held out of the loss to Montreal that forced Game Seven.  There was no immediate thought as to whether or not there will be any line-up changes for that game on Wednesday, but if there are, you would have to think that Morrison will draw back in.

Tonight's Games

Only one game on the slate on Tuesday night and it's the first Game Seven of these 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs... the Red Wings are stranded in the desert looking for a way past these Coyotes on the road to a long run to the Finals.  This is going to be the biggest game of these playoffs, thus far, and we should all be expecting a fantastic game.  The Red Wings don't like playing Game Sevens on the road in their history, but what does history have to do with the present... not much.  The Coyotes will need to make the most of their 4th place finish in the West, giving them home-ice advantage for situations like this.

Henrik Zetterberg has been clutch for the Red Wings in this series, scoring 6 goals (2 of which are winners) and also has 2 assists for 10 points.  For the home team, it's been more of a team effort, as they have three players leading the team with 6 points each.  Derek Morris, Matthew Lombardi and Ilya Bryzgalov all lead the Coyotes and will all have to do a bit of the same to finish the job on Tuesday night.

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