Well, it's hard to say that this was expected, but the San Jose Sharks managed to knock off the Detroit Red Wings in five games, especially since the Red Wings were rolling going into the playoffs and into the second round and against the Sharks, who don't have the most pleasant history in the playoffs as an organization. But there it is, a win at home and the Sharks are through to the Conference Finals, to face the winner of the Blackhawks/Canucks series.
In another tightly contested battle, the Sharks managed to come through with a 2-1 victory in Game Five and it was the superstars of the team that came up big for the Sharks in the most crucial of times, when superstars are needed the most. Joe Thornton came up with a goal and an assist on the winning goal, scored by Patrick Marleau, close to the midway point of the 3rd period. If that isn't exactly what the Sharks needed to get past the Red Wings, I don't know what is. Evgeni Nabokov also had to be good, making 33 saves in the victory, he also picked up an important 2 points for his poolies as well.
The Red Wings actually had a lot of scoring changes post-series, so there may have been a good change in the complexion of the standings afterwards, but that's to be expected with post-game scoring changes and such. The Red Wings were led by Johan Franzen, who actually led the series in scoring with 12 points, but most of that came in one game, which hurt the effectiveness of his numbers. Franzen finished the playoffs as the Red Wings leading point-getter in the pool with 6 goals, 1 winner and 12 assists for 19 points. He'll likely finish in the best team possible post when the playoffs are over.
So, let's talk selections, shall we? According to the selections in the pool, the Red Wings were the slight favourites going in, having a selection edge of 83.9% holdings to the Sharks' 82.1%. It wasn't a big swing, but there are a few more people counting on the Red Wings to pull through, instead of the Sharks. Tomas Holmstrom was the biggest loss in the pool, losing 25 selections right away, while the top scorer, Johan Franzen, lost nine selections in the elimination game. 10 teams had Jimmy Howard as their Western Conference goalie, which is also a pretty big loss.
With the eliminations, the maximum amount of players that can be held by a team is now 21, which no team has at the moment. Myles D., who has moved up to 10th place in the pool, still holds the most players at 18, but he does have a chance to have the maximum amount still after the second round, which will be 12.
It's been a while since I did a game-winning goal count on the blog, so I guess with the first elimination, I can get one done. It's the last post I will be doing on Sunday, so I suppose you'll want to know going into tonight's game.
In terms of players, the bonus point leader in the pool is Joe Pavelski of the Sharks, which was somewhat fitting given the teams of this post. Pavelski leads the way in the pool with 3 GWGs this Spring, which is helping him up to the top of the scoring table in the pool as well.
As for teams, we have ourselves a 3-way tie for the lead with 12 a piece. 12th place Russ D., 13th place Chris M. and 31st place Dale C., all have a share of the lead, but it doesn't look to be making their progress in the pool any better. It's turning out to be more of an extra statistic. 1st place Neil B., only has 9 GWGs to his name, so the difference of three doesn't seem to be helping too much.
This is a part of the post that I didn't want to do, but the Canucks are playing the Blackhawks on Sunday night and they are behind the 8-Ball. The Canucks will be going into a hostile building in Chicago, the United Center, trying to revive their playoff hopes. It's a tall order for the team from Vancouver, as the Blackhawks seem to have exploited their weaknesses in the last three games of the series.
The Canucks are on the verge of dropping a large number of selections in the pool, including their leading scorer, Daniel Sedin, who has 15 points in the pool during the playoffs. Sedin only has 3 points in this series against the Blackhawks, so you can definitely tell where some of the weaknesses lie in the Canucks game in this second round. The most popular Canucks player in the pool, Roberto Luongo, hasn't been his sharpest in this series either, only managing a Game One win, that the offense really did the bulk of the work.
So, now that we are heading to the Conference Finals, I will be spending more time dealing with the leaders in the pool, seeing if anyone can catch our pool leader, Neil B., or whether or not it will be a cake walk to the finish for him. I'll match up the closest teams, much like I did in seasons past and we'll have a little bit more fun with the pool.