Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Capitals Advance, Bolts Force Seven
I finally found the boot! One of my favourite playoff gifs is back. I like the New York Islanders, so I kind of feel bad that they're the first ones to get the boot, but them are the breaks, as I say.
The Washington Capitals put on a pretty solid defensive show in Game 7, as they held the Islanders to only 11 shots throughout regulation time and there was no need for any overtime, as Evgeny Kuznetsov scored a pretty goal midway through the 3rd period, which held up to be the winning goal in a 2-1 Game 7 victory for the Capitals.
Braden Holtby had a reasonably easy night, making only 10 saves for the win and he was the only notable pool player in this game, picking up the 2 points. Kuznetsov, who scored the winner, was another one of those borderline players that didn't quite make the cut, despite a late push in the season.
With the elimination of the Islanders, 51 selections are struck from active duty in the hockey pool, the largest loss in the Eastern Conference, thus far. John Tavares and Josh Bailey were the most popular players taken from the Islanders, as they were both taken eight times between the 36 teams in the pool.
Tavares didn't disappoint, except when it counted in Game 7, as he led the Islanders with 7 points through those seven games, which included a game-winner on his credit. Jaroslav Halak, not taken at all in the pool, finished with his 3 wins and 6 points, but that didn't do anyone any good.
The Capitals now move on to face the New York Rangers, with this series likely starting on Thursday.
Heading back to the Joe, down 3-2, appeared to be a pretty daunting task from the outset for the Tampa Bay Lightning, but they took their uphill climb in stride and then passed it in the fast lane.
Tampa got off to an early lead, as Tyler Johnson took his team on his back, scored the opening goal of the game and then scored the 3-0 goal, early in the 2nd period as well. This helped propel his team through Game 6, giving his team a buffer to weather a mid-game comeback from the Red Wings. The Lightning, up 3-2 in the 3rd, managed to snag a late marker and an empty-netter, topping the old vets, 5-2, forcing Game 7.
Johnson's pair, included the game-winner, giving him a 3-point night in Game 6, while Ben Bishop, although shaky at times, picked up 2 points. Quietly, in the shadows, Nikita Kucherov also had a 3-point game, adding a few helpers to his team's cause, assisting on each of the Bolts' first three goals.
For the Red Wings, Tomas Tatar picked up a pair of goals, giving his only Box 15 supporter a nice treat in Game 6.
Along with the resurfacing of the boot, how about a new graphic, illustrating the race for top spot in the pool?
It's a pool newcomer at the top of the heap with only one game left in the opening round of the playoffs, as Sairosh M. has opened up a 4-point lead, now with 105 points and he is one of five teams with 21 players left on his active squad and will certainly lose some players with the finish of the Tampa/Detroit series, as he has two of each on his team, going into Game 7.
Tony D., who had a disappointing finish to the draft, sits in 2nd place, with 101 points, but he has only 14 players and he is hoping that Tampa Bay makes it through or he'll be down to 11 players with three rounds of hockey left to go.
Another newcomer to the pool, David C., he has the only other team in triple-digits to this point, sitting at 100 points and 17 players left, and he has two Red Wings and one Lightning player on his side, leaning towards a Detroit win to keep his team in better shape moving forward.
Tony C., one of the Tyler Johnson supporters out there, picked up his 10th GWG of the playoffs, taking a commanding lead in the column... okay, it's a 2-point lead. Seven teams now had 8 bonus points to their name, while another two teams have 7 bonus points with one night left to go in the opening round.
Johnson, Duncan Keith and Vladimir Tarasenko are the only three players in the hockey pool to have 2 GWG's each and one of them is now eliminated from the playoffs, so his participation in this paragraph will solely be based on the other two players not scoring any more bonus points in these playoffs... or anyone else scoring more than two, for that matter.