Saturday, April 21, 2018
Morning Playoff Notes (Apr 21)
Well, if you saw the goalie announcements post yesterday, you probably thought that I wasn't giving the Flyers much of a chance in Game 5 against the Penguins... and I wasn't. The Flyers did turn around and start Michal Neuvirth, contrary to what was indicated by our good friends, the beat writers watching practice suggested, but that was probably a smoke screen by the Flyers coaching staff anyways. Sean Couturier also returned from a 1-game absence, due to a lower-body injury, so that was a huge boost for the team too.
Yes, the Flyers were a motivated bunch and they had to be, going into the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh and hoping to come out with a win. After giving up a 1-0 lead and going down a goal in the 2nd period, the Flyers were able to pull up their socks and find that extra gear they needed to stay alive in these playoffs. They tied it up, shortly after going down by a goal and they scratched and clawed their way to a Couturier winner, late in the 3rd, adding an empty-netter to seal it. The Flyers now get to head home and try to force Game 7 now. That game will go on Sunday afternoon, a 1pm MT start.
Box 18 forward Valtteri Filippula had a good game, finishing with 3 points, while Couturier got the bonus point, those were your two notable players from the game. Neither player was taken in the pool, rendering those points moot.
Dust off the boot! We have ourselves an elimination!
The Minnesota Wild went into the whiteout, probably with a little bit of hope, that they could make it out alive. The Winnipeg Jets, however, had other ideas and got to them in a big hurry. The Jets scored 31 seconds into the game, they had a 4-0 lead before the 12-minute mark and they never really had to look back. The Jets poured it on early, leaving little doubt and then coasted to the finish. The Jets made it through on the shoulders of a 5-0 victory in the end and they will now await the result of the Colorado/Nashville series, which could have ended in the late game last night... but more on that in a bit.
Mark Scheifele, Paul Stastny and Dustin Byfuglien all had 2-point nights in various fashions, Jacob Trouba scored the opening goal of the game to capture the bonus point and Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves to post back-to-back shutouts to finish the series. It was a good night for Jets supporters in the hockey pool and there are many of them.
As for roster notes, Tyler Myers returned to the lineup after missing a game with his lower-body injury, while Nikolaj Ehlers was a late scratch for the Jets and we're still unsure about the official reason why.
As for the Wild, they really didn't get too far off the ground in this series, thanks in large part to injuries, but they were one of the least favoured teams in the hockey pool anyways, only having six selections to their side, going into this series. Zach Parise was taken three times in Box 7 and he was hurt in Game 3 and wasn't able to return. It's a tough one for the Wild, but the chips didn't fall into place for them this year.
The Avalanche were pushed right to the edge of elimination at the start of the 3rd period in Game 5 on Friday night, but managed to recover. A hard fought game went into the final frame of regulation with no score, but the Predators were the first to draw blood, midway through the period, but the desperation gear seemed to kick in for those pesky Avalanche, as they found both the tying goal and Sven Andrighetto's winner, before the buzzer sounded to end regulation. The 2-1 victory ensured that the Avalanche would live to see another game.
This wasn't a great game for the hockey pool, as the bonus point was assumed by a non-pool player, the Avalanche were down to their third goalie and there were a few singles through the box score, but nothing special.
The Avalanche did get some good news before this game, as defenseman Samuel Girard was cleared to play and did so, but that also didn't have any play in the hockey pool, as he wasn't taken either.
Game 6 for this series will go on Sunday night, back in Denver.