Saturday, May 17, 2014

Duck, Duck, Kings!

The Los Angeles/Anaheim series was such a great back-and-forth battle between two solid teams, leading up to Game Seven on Friday night, which had the makings of an entertaining climax. But like other momentous occasions with high expectations surrounding it, it fell flat on its face, as the Los Angeles Kings grabbed the game by the throat and dominated the game from start to finish.

The Kings chased rookie goaltender, John Gibson, after two minutes in the 2nd period, as they went up 4-0, which was a favourable score for the Ducks, as they could have been down more goals by that point.  The Ducks showed a little bit of life, as they faced elimination, scoring late in the 2nd, but by that time, they were then down 5-1 and even with another period to go, the game was pretty well over.

Each team scored a goal in the 3rd, making it a 6-2 final score, thus seeing the Kings go through to face the Blackhawks in the Western Conference Finals and sending the Anaheim Ducks packing for another Summer.

In the pool, Mike Richards led the way for the Kings, scoring the winning goal and adding an assist for a 3-point night, good for the five teams that picked him in Box 3.  Jonathan Quick made 25 saves for his 2 points, while Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams and Jeff Carter also added a couple points each.

Now, to the elimination of the Ducks.  This works out to be another upset in the second round, as the Kings didn't have the selections that the Ducks did, being out-selected 109-87.  It was close, but an upset nonetheless.  Ryan Getzlaf was the most popular Ducks player, taken 17 times in Box 1, while Corey Perry, Mathieu Perreault, Saku Koivu and Sami Vatanen rounded out the number of players with double-digit selections in the pool.

In terms of scoring for the Ducks, Getzlaf was good for 15 points in the playoffs, which didn't include a single bonus point.  Perry was also good for 11 points, but he too, didn't have a bonus point from a game-winning goal.  Those two players may have been the biggest contributor to why the Ducks didn't make it out of round two.  Despite going through three goaltenders in two rounds, the Ducks, arguably had some goaltending issues, but that wasn't really the leading factor to their loss.

ImplicationsWhat does it all mean for the pool, you ask?  The Kings win vaulted Dale B. back into the lead, as he now holds a 2-point cushion on Don D.'s second team, with 194 and 192 points, respectively.  Corey M. and Tom H. round out the top four for money spots, not too far out of the mix, in terms of points.

The maximum number of players any pool team can have going into the Conference Finals is 12 and eight teams have the maximum, ranking from 3rd place down to 27th.  One team, our 1st place team, has 11 players on his roster remaining, which doesn't bode well fro the rest of the pool.  Don D.'s second team, which ranks 2nd, only has 8 players left, which could mean he'll fall out for just barely hang on for dear life in a money position, if the Conference Finals are a low-scoring affair.

13 teams in the pool have six players or less on their team going forward, with Sean L. at the bottom of the list, with only three players left.  Sean has three Blackhawks left on his team and if they get bounced by the Kings in the Conference Finals, that would do it for his playoffs, a round too early.

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