Sunday, May 08, 2016

Morning Player Notes in the Playoffs (May 8)

One might have thought that the St. Louis Blues would have been behind the 8-ball before Game 5, as their record in Game 5's in recent years have not been great and they get to play this one in Dallas, of all places.  But this is why they play the game, as the puck luck for the Blues, appeared to be going their way and they capitalized on their chances for a 4-1 win away from home.

Robby Fabbri and Paul Stastny were the only two relevant players for the hockey pool in this one, each scoring a goal and an assist in the win and helping the one team each that had picked them.

With the win, the Blues, who are 111-61 underdogs in this series, according to the pool, can wrap this one up at home on Monday night.

In the first elimination game of the second round, very few would have thought it would have been the Washington Capitals trying to fight their way from behind the 8-ball, but here they are.  Already down 3-1 in the series, at home for Game 5, the President's Trophy winner had a lot of work to do and it started with their goalie and went out from there.

The Capitals did a really good job in their own end to give Braden Holtby a better hand in Game 5, but their goalie still had to make 30 saves for the victory, holding that powerful Penguins offense at bay.

Fortunately, his offense gave him a little bit more help as well, with T.J. Oshie leading the way, scoring the eventual winner and adding an assist in this one for a 3-point game.

The Penguins did welcome Kristopher Letang back to their lineup on Saturday evening, he was back from his 1-game suspension and Justin Schultz actually stayed in the lineup, as the coaching staff opted to scratch non-pool defender Derrick Pouliot to make room for Letang.

Things don't get any easier for the Capitals, as this series goes back to Pittsburgh for Game 6, which will be played on Tuesday night.

The Nashville Predators have already played in a series that was dominated by the road team, so playing in a series that is dominated by the home side shouldn't really come as that big of a surprise.  The Predators would have really liked to have put on one of their road performances of the opening round in Game 5 against the Sharks, but the tank was too good for the home team and the Sharks feasted on Pekka Rinne and the Preds.

Game 5 in San Jose was all Sharks and even when it wasn't, it still kind of was, because the Predators had nothing going offensively.  Final score, 5-1 for San Jose and they will now head back to Nashville, where the Predators can respond with a home game of their own.

Game 5's big performers for the Sharks were Joe Pavelski (2 goals, including the winner), Patrick Marleau (goal & assist) and then Joe Thornton, Joonas Donskoi and Justin Braun all had a pair of assists.  Martin Jones had to make 24 saves for the win.

Game 6 of this series will also go on Tuesday night.

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