Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Morning Player Notes in the Playoffs (May 11)

The President's Trophy winners are out!  The Washington Capitals went into the playoffs as the top-seeded team and the pool favourite to win it all, but like a lot of expected things for these playoffs, it just wasn't to be.

The Pittsburgh Penguins didn't exactly make it easy on themselves, despite going up 3-0 before the midway point of the 2nd period.  The Washington Capitals took advantage of a power play at the end of the middle frame and completed the comeback with another power play goal with seven minutes remaining in regulation, forcing the game into overtime.

In the extra frame, a scrambled play led to a rebound in front and it was non-pool forward, Nick Bonino, who clinched it for the Penguins, eliminating the Capitals in heartbreaking fashion.

In the game, Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin each had big games for the pool, picking up 3 points a piece, the two notable Penguins in the series-clinching win.  On the losing side, Alex Ovechkin, Justin Williams and Nicklas Backstrom all had 2 points before they were eliminated from active duty.

Defenseman Justin Schultz was also a healthy scratch once again in Game 6.  He has played in three games in these playoffs, yet to register a point for his 10 teams that took him.

The Capitals had 145 of a possible 150 selections in the hockey pool this season, one of the best ratios of players taken to their possible amounts, almost a clean sweep across the board.  This isn't nearly as devastating as if they were to have lost in the opening round, but it's close.  Braden Holtby had 36 selections, as the most popular player in the pool, all gone.  Alex Ovechkin wasn't too far behind at 27 picks and Evgeny Kuznetsov was very disappointing to the 23 teams that picked him.

Holtby still finished with 17 points after two rounds, registering a couple of shutouts with his wins and also an assist.  As of Wednesday morning, Holtby is second in points to Ben Bishop of the Lightning, who wasn't taken at all in the pool.  Oh my.  Both Ovechkin and John Carlson each had decent playoff runs, each finishing with 13 points in 12 games, but even that wasn't enough at this time of year.

Now, the Penguins will get the daunting task of managing the playoff-tested offense of the Tampa Bay Lightning and we'll have more on that series soon.

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