Thursday, May 05, 2016

Noon Player Notes in the Playoffs (May 5)

It's been a busy last couple of days and nights, so the pool has suffered because of that.  Here we are, on Thursday... and we're ready to rock and roll again.

Tuesday night in Brooklyn, Game 3 in the series between the Lightning and the Islanders and this series is far from disappointing anyone.  The two sides traded goals, back-and-forth, all night long and just when the Islanders thought they would come away with a slight 1-goal win, the Lightning come back to tie it late, force extra time and then got the job done, less than three minutes into the extra frame.  Oh, the drama!

Victor Hedman was the big pool player for the Lightning in the win, notching 3 points, while Ben Bishop, Alex Killorn, Ryan Callahan and Valtteri Filppula all chipped in with a pair of points each.  On the losing side, it wasn't great for the pool, despite the Islanders potting four goals... Josh Bailey was the only one with 2 points on the sheet.

As expected, Ryan Strome was a healthy scratch, a move that paid off, as Bailey had the good night.

Now the Islanders have some work to do with their second home game of this series, as they need a big effort to come back and tie up this series before heading back to Florida.

Indeed, a return to home-cooking really helped the Nashville Predators in Game 3 against the San Jose Sharks, as they rallied in the 2nd and 3rd periods, scoring four unanswered goals and beating the Sharks, 4-1, and getting back into this series, down 2-1 now.

Despite being down in this series, Shea Weber has been such a huge player for the Preds in these playoffs, picking up another goal and an assist, including the winner, his second bonus point.  Another 3-point night went a long ways, while Pekka Rinne made 27 saves for his 2 points on the night.

Predators' Box 2 forward Mike Ribeiro was a healthy scratch on Tuesday night, as his numbers have been quite disappointing, thus far.  He has only posted 1 assist in these playoffs, but it doesn't matter too much to the pool, he wasn't taken at all.

Will Nashville be able to keep that momentum at home tonight?

Unlike Nashville, the St. Louis Blues left Dallas with a 1-1 split against the Stars, so they had the chance to take a bit of a lead in this one... and boy howdy, they really took advantage!  An early Dallas goal did not sway this Blues team, as they responded a less than a minute after and they just kept on pumping goals, as they drubbed their opponent, 6-1 in the end, taking a 2-1 series lead.

David Backes has been a complete stud for the Blues, picking up his third game-winner of these playoffs already and finishing with a 3-point night in the pool.  Vladimir Tarasenko woke up a bit, also posting 3 points on the night.  Alexander Steen was the only other notable pool player, as he also potted a pair of goals in the win.

Antti Niemi got the start in this one, but was lifted midway through and it has already been confirmed for tonight's game, Kari Lehtonen will be the Stars' starter, as they try to even up the series.  Valeri Nichushkin, who was a scratch for the Stars in Game 3, appears to also be returning to the lineup in Game 4.  He's been a healthy scratch, off and on, in these playoffs.

For all intents and purposes, this was supposed to be the Washington Capitals year, was it not?  But here we are, after a Game 4 overtime loss to the Penguins and the Capitals find themselves behind the 8-ball in the second round of the playoffs.

Patric Hornqvist picked up another winning goal in these playoffs, capping off a 3-point night in the pool, while defenseman Brian Dumoulin added a couple of assists in the win.

The rookie sensation, Matt Murray, continues to stymie the Capitals, as Marc-Andre Fleury now watches from the bench, as they can't move away from the hot hand now.  Murray's 34 saves were huge on Wednesday night and now they are one more win away from moving on to the Conference Finals.

With Kristopher Letang out to his suspension, Justin Schultz did draw back in for the Penguins, playing near 18 minutes, but no points on the night.

The Capitals do get the benefit of going home for Game 5, but do they have anything in the tank to at least get one more win?

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