Sunday, April 15, 2018

Morning Playoff Notes (Apr 15)

A bit of a written off writing day on Saturday, just wasn't feeling it. So, I'll do a quick recap of the seven games we saw between Friday and Saturday, nothing too crazy, just enough to tide us over until this afternoon, when play resumes

As pointed out by Don Cherry earlier in the week, it may not have been the best idea for the Penguins to run up the score on the Flyers in Game 2, since that was going to provide lots of motivation for the Flyers to come out and play harder in the next go around. They did just that, popping off a 5-1 in Pittsburgh and sending this series back to Philadelphia tied at 1-1.

Sean Couturier did well in this one, scoring the winner and adding a couple of assists as well for a 4-point night.  It's a shame that he wasn't picked at all.  Ivan Provorov was the only other notable pool player in this game, picking up a couple of assists as well.

The Winnipeg Jets continued to roll on the Minnesota Wild, as they took full advantage of their home-ice advantage on Friday night, dominating the flow of play and really keeping the Wild out of their end for half of the game.  The Jets cruised to a 4-1 victory, now with a 2-0 series lead heading into Game 3 and with some rough and tumble goodness at the end of Game 2, we might see a good push-back from the Wild, before this is all said and done.

Paul Stastny was credited with the winner in this game, giving him 2 points on the night, while Patrik Laine, Tyler Myers and Connor Hellebuyck were also notable pool players in the win.

The Vegas Golden Knights are now up 2-0 in the series, thanks to a 2-1 double overtime win on Friday night, but this series anything but a blowout.  1-0 in Game 1, 2-1 in Game 2... sure, the Golden Knights have been on the right side of each result, so far, but now the series starts to head back to Los Angeles for the next two games, the Kings get Drew Doughty back from suspension and as easily as the Golden Knights could sweep this series, the Kings can send it back to Vegas tied up.  Very interesting hockey to watch.

The Golden Knights got their overtime winner from Erik Haula and Marc-Andre Fleury had his 2nd win of the playoffs, both the notable players from Game 2 in Vegas on Friday night.

The Predators have yet to look overly dominant in their series against the Avalanche, but a Saturday afternoon win against their Central Division rivals did give them a 2-0 series lead.  The Preds have yet to get off to good starts in each of their first two games, but their recovery skills have been second-to-none.  On Saturday, they also had to display some resiliency, trying to hold onto a lead late, which they did, but it was close.  A 5-4 win on Saturday and now they head back to Denver.

Nashville had a non-pool goal scorer for the winner, so their notable players were all straight points: Kevin Fiala, P.K. Subban, Mattias Ekholm and Pekka Rinne were notable for the home side.  The Avalanche were no slouches either, Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Tyson Barrie were all 2-point players as well.

The Tampa Bay Lightning were able to chase Keith Kinkaid out of the New Jersey Devils' net on Saturday afternoon, scoring 5 goals on 15 shots, just over halfway through the 2nd period and the Bolts never really looked back from there.  The young Devils did try and put up some kind of fight, scoring a couple of goals afterwards, but it was a 5-3 final for Tampa and they also head out on the road with a 2-0 series lead after this weekend.

Nikita Kucherov exploded in Game 2, scoring the winner and adding 2 assists for a 4-point game in the pool, while Alex Killorn, Brayden Point, Ryan McDonagh and Andrei Vasilevskiy were all key to the victory, all of them getting 2 points each as well.  The Devils just haven't had an answer for all this offense yet.

The Toronto Maple Leafs may have won the season series against the Boston Bruins in the regular season, but these bears are different beasts in the tournament.  The Bruins absolutely dominated the Leafs on Saturday, dropping a 4-0 lead on them before the end of the 1st period and then going tit-for-tat for the rest of the game, finishing with a 7-3 victory and a 2-0 series lead.

The best performance of these playoffs came in this one, as David Pastrnak, taken six times in the pool, finished with 3 goals and 3 assists for 6 points in Game 2 and he is now the far-and-away leader in pool scoring right now, with 9 points.  Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand each had 4-point nights, Torey Krug had a 3-point night, Rick Nash scored the winner and Tuukka Rask is now 2-0.  Who can stop these Bruins?

Oh yes, let's not forget Mitch Marner, he did post a goal and an assist in the loss, for those who are counting.

Nazem Kadri missed this game, the first of his 3-game suspension, that was handed out to him on Friday night for his ill-advised hit from behind on Boston's Tommy Wingels.  Obviously, that bit of news wasn't going to get its own post by now.

Finally, the pool might really be onto something here, as the San Jose Sharks took both games away at the Duck Pond in Anaheim, as they came away with a 3-2 win on Saturday night and a 2-0 series lead.  The Sharks have been able to push around the Ducks in their own building, which normally doesn't bode very well for the favourites, especially since they are now headed to the the Shark Tank for the next two games and they'll need to find their playoff prowess soon, if they want to survive.

Logan Couture had a goal and an assist, Tomas Hertl scored the eventual winner and Martin Jones made 28 saves for the win, as the most notable Sharks in the pool in this game.  Hampus Lindholm had a goal and an assist for the Ducks in the loss, pretty good for being taken three times.

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