Saturday, April 25, 2015

Player Notes in the Playoffs (Apr 25)

In the game where we saw the Rangers move past the Penguins and into the second round, they did suffer one loss in the game, as forward Mats Zuccarello left Friday night's contest with an apparent head injury. Zuccarello was battling in front of the net, when he was struck in the head by teammate Ryan McDonagh's shot on goal, blocking the attempt inadvertently. The shot seemed to rattle his cage quite well, as he left the ice and returned to the dressing room, not to play anymore.

The early suggestion is that it isn't a major injury concern and they pulled him off for precautionary reasons.  Now that the Rangers have some days off in between the finish of the Penguins and the start of their second round series, Zuccarello's return to action could be more probable than questionable, in a few days time.

Eight teams in the pool took the Norwegian forward and he has responded with 2 assists in five games so far.

Ottawa forward Clarke MacArthur left Friday night's Game 5 against the Canadiens with a lower-body injury and didn't return to the ice.  Being playoff time, we are not going to be privvied to the details of the injury or the severity, so we'll likely have to go with questionable for Game 6 on Sunday and if he doesn't make it into the lineup, he will be considered day-to-day.

The details were so vague on the injury, the team wouldn't even disclose when MacArthur suffered the injury, so we're really at a loss.

Also at a loss, five pool teams may not have MacArthur for Game 6, which isn't a huge hole in the pool, especially since he only has 1 goal in these playoffs to speak of, so he wasn't even really contributing a great deal to those five teams.

I didn't think this was going to happen again, but we have another 4-game schedule day in these playoffs and now three of them are elimination games.  We'll start with those games and then we'll move on to see the match-up of the game that sends one more team behind the 8-ball.

The Islanders will be the first up on Saturday, as they try and unhook themselves on the table, trying to force a Game 7 between themselves and the Capitals.  No surprises in net for either side, as the Islanders will go back to Jaroslav Halak for their home date, while Braden Holtby will indeed try to win the series away from the Verizon Center.

Maybe Halak will have the history of the Nassau Country Coliseum on his side, as this could potentially be the last time the Islanders take to the ice in the storied arena.  This game goes early, a 1pm MT start on Sportsnet.

The Nashville Predators will have to do work some more magic on Saturday evening, as they will now have to get through a game in Chicago, where they haven't posted a win yet in this series, to try and get back into it.  There's no question that Pekka Rinne was better in Game 5 for the Predators, but he was playing at home, so there was a little bit of an emotional boost there, for sure.  The Blackhawks are expected to go back to the well with Scott Darling tonight, as he has been the goalie of record for the three Chicago wins in these playoffs and he now appears to be the favourite going forward.

Of course, if Darling cannot get the win in Game 6 at home, what happens in Game 7?

The Vancouver Canucks are still behind the 8-ball, as they won their home date in Game 5 to stay alive in their series against the Calgary Flames and now they have the monsterous task of trying to force a Game 7 in the Flames' house on Saturday night.  The Canucks got a very good showing from Ryan Miller in Game 5, helping to keep them in a game, where they were down 1-0, before coming back and earning the 2-1 victory.  He should be back in for Game 6, undoubtedly.  On the Flames side, Jonas Hiller has done a remarkable job keeping the Flames in every game, despite dropping a couple.  The Flames can't take the start away from him now.

Game 6 has a 7pm MT start on CBC on Saturday, an hour earlier than all five games before it.

Finally, with the series between Detroit and Tampa Bay tied at 2-2, they head to Tampa to see who gets the advantage for Game 6.  This series has seen little in the way of momentum through four games and even less in the way of different starting goalies.  Detroit has already tipped Petr Mrazek for Game 5, while it should come as even less of a surprise that Ben Bishop goes for Tampa.

This game is an earlier one on CBC, a 4pm MT start.

An updated list of injuries can be found here.

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