Saturday, April 25, 2015

Pens Out, Sens In, Blues Behind 8-Ball

The New York Rangers are officially the second team to make into the second round of the playoffs, as they dispatched the Pittsburgh Penguins in five games after a 2-1 overtime game on Friday night.

The Rangers were the better side through 3+ periods in this one, they pushed early, was only beat by a scrambled play in the 2nd, was strong defensively in the 3rd and was clutch in overtime.  The blueshirts held their shape well all night long, making Henrik Lundqvist's night that much easier, as he made 37 saves for the win.

Carl Hagelin was the eventual goal scorer in overtime, giving him the other notable nod in this game, as he played very well and jumped on a loose puck down low and put one through Marc-Andre Fleury for the series win.

The Penguins were not favoured in this series, at all, down in the selection race, 88-26.  26 selections were eliminated from the pool last night, which is less selections lost than when Winnipeg was eliminated earlier in the week.  Still, this affected a few more teams in the pool, meaning now that only 16 teams now have a perfect 24-player side with six series left to be decided, down from the 21 teams that were left from the Jets elimination.

For the Rangers, the best players on the team in scoring were goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who scored his 4 wins and 8 points, while defenseman Ryan McDonagh led all skaters in the series with 5 points.

The Senators have been on the brink for a couple of starts, but they have played exceptionally well to stay alive, including a 5-1 win in Montreal, downing a Canadiens team, which has had troubles finding the back of the net behind Craig Anderson.

Anderson made a whopping 45 saves to keep his team in the series, only giving up an early 3rd period marker, when the team was already up 3-0.  He kept them their hopes and spirits alive for another game, at least.  Bobby Ryan, Mike Hoffman and Mika Zibanejad all picked up 2 points, but not all of those players were picked, so not all of the points made it into the pool.

Game 6 will go in Ottawa, as the Sens will give it another go, this time at home, Sunday evening, 4 pm MT start.  If they can force a Game 7, it will go on Tuesday night in Montreal.

The St. Louis Blues, tied 2-2, going into Game 5 against the Minnesota Wild, had the advantage of home ice to help take the lead in the series, but the Wild were undaunted by this task, even after giving up an early one to the Blues.

Devan Dubnyk stood tall again in the net for the Wild, making 36 saves for the win, which now brings his playoff total to 8 points, so far.  The Minnesota offense did well to give him a hand, scoring four unanswered goals afterwards, including a 2-goal 2nd period, salting it away in the 3rd for a 4-1 win.

Lots of single points for pool scoring in this one, but Nino Niederreiter got on the board with a bonus point and gets a nod in the notable players of the night.

The Wild will now serve on home ice, trying to see if they will go on to face the winner of the Chicago/Nashville series in the next round.  Game 6 is slated for Sunday afternoon, a 1pm MT start.

Game-Winning Goals
New Playoffs Game Winner Button
Two out of the three winners tonight were picked up in the pool, as Ottawa's winner was eventually credited to Patrick Wiercioch and if he wasn't a healthy scratch so many times in the regular season, he may have found himself on the selection sheet this year.

Carl Hagelin and Nino Niederreiter were your bonus point players, which only moved Clayton C. into a tie for 2nd place in the bonus point standings, as Hagelin gave him his 8th winner of the pool season.

Tony C. still holds the lead in bonus points, sitting with 9 winners.

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