Thursday, April 23, 2015

Jets Grounded, Sens Live, Rangers Push & Blues Level

We have our first elimination from the playoffs, as the Anaheim Ducks have knocked off the Winnipeg Jets in a 4-game sweep, Game 4 being a convincing 5-2 win for Anaheim.  It was a tough series for the Jets, who were in three out of the four games, holding leads for the better part of most games.  Unfortunately, the Jets had no answer for the Ducks' overall skill and power, which could strike at any time and did just that.

In the final game, Ryan Kesler earned his off-season acquisition praise, as he led the team with a 3-point night in the pool, scoring a pair of goals, including the winner.  Corey Perry, Sami Vatanen and goalie Frederik Andersen all get props as well, each coming away with 2 points a piece in the game.

So, now that the Jets are eliminated, 32 selections between the 36 teams have now been taken off the books, which translates into 15 teams in the pool losing players through the first elimination of the playoffs.  21 teams remain with 24 players on their team, but the eliminations are now scheduled to come much faster and the dynamic of the pool will quickly change.

Both Perry and Andersen led the Ducks through the Jets, finishing the series with 8 points a piece and both players were pretty popular in the pool, Perry taken 10 times and Andersen taken 12 times.

There was another possible elimination on the books for Wednesday night, as the Senators were pushed to the brink, put behind the 8-ball, but unlike the Jets, they were able to translate a lot of the good things they've done in the first three games of the series and turned it into a 1-0 win in Game 4, forcing a fifth game, back in Montreal.

Upon the late arrival of the Hamburglar, nobody wanted to take a chance on Craig Anderson in the pool, so the 4 points he earned for the shutout win went off into the nothingness of ignorance.  The only player in the pool that was notable was forward Mike Hoffman, who scored the eventual winning goal, midway through the 3rd period.  Hoffman was taken once in the pool, by the last place team in the standings, belonging to Mike S..

Game 5 is now slated to go on Friday night, a 5pm MT start from the Bell Centre.

The New York Rangers flexed some of their playoff muscle when they needed to, tying up the game at 1-1 in the 2nd period after an early deficit and then scoring the winning goal in overtime, winning the game 2-1 over the Pittsburgh Penguins and moving towards a 3-1 series lead with the chance to eliminate the Penguins at home on Friday night.

Henrik Lundqvist was the only pool player of note in this one, making 22 saves in the victory and winning his third game of these playoffs.  Rookie forward Kevin Hayes was really close to making the selection sheet, but was bounced out by a thin margin and he scored the overtime goal to propel his team to the victory.

Madison Square Garden will be the scene for Game 5, another 5pm MT start on Friday night.

Through four games of this series, it truly appears that the result of the next game will depend on which St. Louis Blues team shows up against the Minnesota Wild.  The Blues have been beaten pretty good and then steamrolled the Wild the next game.  Game 4 was a steamrolling, as they totaled the Wild, 6-1, and evened up the series at 2-2.

Vladimir Tarasenko returned to the forefront of the hockey world, scoring a couple of goals, including another highlight reel gem, and one of those goals turned into the winner, so it was a banner 3-point night for the young Russian.  Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk also had a 3-assist game, as he has lit the pool on fire a bit as well.  David Backes picked up his first points of the playoffs with a 2-point effort, rounding out the pool notables.

This series, as back-and-forth as it has been, will continue with plenty of question marks, facing off again on Friday night, a 7:30pm MT start from St. Louis.

Game-Winning Goals
New Playoffs Game Winner ButtonVladimir Tarasenko becomes the first player in the pool to pick up his second GWG of these playoffs, now leading the way for his 11 teams that selected him in Box 1.  Ryan Kesler, taken six times, and Mike Hoffman, taken once, rounded out the bonus points that landed in the pool in the evening.

Sean L. continues to lead the pool in bonus points, as his team has now picked up 8 points from the winning goals.  Nic L. and Tony C. are not very far behind with 7 bonus markers.

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