Sunday, April 29, 2018
Morning Playoff Notes (Apr 29)
There's a lot to be said about a team that goes to seven games, plays hard and then right into their next series. I think the Boston Bruins got the benefit of not taking their feet off the pedal, opening up their series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, who had a few extra days rest, since they finished their opening round series in five games. The Bruins were harder on the puck, along the boards and in front of the nets and that was certainly the difference between the two sides, as the visiting Bruins opened up with a 6-2 victory on Saturday afternoon.
The Bruins' top line was again dominating, combining for 11 points in this game: Brad Marchand (1 goal, 3 assists), David Pastrnak (4 assists) and Patrice Bergeron (2 goals and 1 assist) were unstoppable again. Rick Nash ended up with the winner among his pair of his goals for a 3-point night and Charlie McAvoy finally chimed in with a pair of assists. Tuukka Rask needed to make 34 saves for the win, so it was an all-around impressive afternoon at the rink for the Bruins.
Ryan Donato and Nick Holden remained as healthy scratches to start this series, it seems unlikely that they'll draw into the Bruins lineup now without injuries, while the Lightning pool contingency is running strong... just a little bit rusty.
26 seconds into the 2nd period, the Golden Knights scored to make it 2-0 and here we all were, thinking "here we go again!" Thankfully, that bearded beauty that is Brent Burns came to the rescue and finally got the Sharks on the board in Game 2 and all of a sudden, San Jose had a little bit of life in their game. So much so, that the Sharks fought back to take a 3-2 lead before the end of the middle frame and lo and behold, this wasn't going to be a cake walk for the Golden Knights. Nate Schmidt scored midway through the 3rd, breaking through a strong performance by Martin Jones, forcing overtime... and then a second overtime... and the Sharks were not going to be denied, especially on a power play, when Logan Couture finished the game off. The Golden Knights are no longer undefeated... we finally have a series in the Pacific Division! All is not lost.
Both Couture and Burns finished with 3 points in the pool, while Joe Pavelski had a pair of assists and Jones finished up with the win, making only 26 saves. William Karlsson scored a pair of goals for Vegas, while Schmidt also added an assist to his totals for Vegas, rounding out the scoring.
Now these two teams head back to the Shark Tank, where we'll see Evander Kane return from his 1-game suspension.
So, at what point do I get to call this pool complete? I am now resorting to calling both twins, Antonio and Tony, evil, so there's that. They're just the evil twins, dominating the pool standings. Antonio is now at 156 points, Tony is at 153 and 3rd place, Neil, is a ways back at 144. Kudos to finding the right combo of players, but these blog posts are going to get really boring in a hurry, at this rate.