Friday, April 27, 2018

Morning Playoff Notes (Apr 27)

The second round of the playoffs kicked off with a huge rivalry match-up, between the Penguins and the Capitals, a series starting out at the Verizon Center in Washington.  The Capitals appeared ready to shake off the demons of past series with the Penguins and their inability to make it past the second round, scoring 17 seconds into the game, holding their opponents at bay for two periods and then scoring early in the 3rd period.  Things were so good... so, so good.

And then they weren't anymore.

Not long after the 2-0 goal, the Penguins' top line of Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Patric Hornqvist went to work and in less than five minutes, they had a 3-2 lead, Guentzel scoring the go-ahead goal, tipping a Crosby shot.  Then the Penguins showed the Capitals how to hold onto a lead and they did, winning the game 3-2.  The Penguins top line combined for 8 points in the pool, including the bonus point, while Matt Murray made 23 saves for the win.

Neither Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin or Washington's Andre Burakovsky were able to return to action from their opening round injuries.  Malkin suffered a lower-body injury, believed to be an ankle problem, while Burakovsky is dealing with an upper-body injury.

It's time we start asking ourselves some serious questions about these Vegas Golden Knights.  They opened their second round series against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night and their relentlessness is not some sort of regular season mirage, it's rather an excellent playoff formula that is truly making some waves.  The Golden Knights put up a 7-spot against the Sharks, winning their 5th straight game, Marc-Andre Fleury made 33 saves for his 3rd shutout of these playoffs... can these guys be stopped?  Seriously.

If you blinked in that 1st period, like I did, you may have missed three quick goals in a minute and a half, and already, by then, this game had the feeling of being over.  Four goals in the 1st, one in the 2nd and a pair early in the 3rd, it was just domination from start to finish.  Notable pool players include Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith and William Karlsson, each posting 3 points, while James Neal, Erik Haula and David Perron each had 2 points. 

Sharks forward Evander Kane may be getting a phone call today after getting tossed for a high cross check to Pierre-Edouard Bellemare in the 3rd period, we'll wait and see on that.  Tomas Tatar remained out as a healthy scratch for Game 1, he has only figured in a couple games in these playoffs, so far.

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