Friday, April 22, 2016
Morning Player Notes in the Playoffs (Apr 22)
The Tampa Bay Lightning only had to demonstrate a little bit more clutch scoring to get past the Detroit Red Wings in five games and with less than two minutes to go in the 3rd period in a 0-0 game, that extra little bit of clutch went a long ways, burying the Red Wings as the first team eliminated from the playoffs.
Alex Killorn took a Ryan Callahan centering feed and swatted it past Petr Mrazek, dashing the hopes of heading back to Detroit for Game 6. Ben Bishop had to make 34 saves for the shutout victory and that was pretty much it from Game 5.
With the elimination, the Red Wings had 72 selections in the pool, now stricken from active duty, which is a pretty good hit, seeing as though they were the slight favourites in this series to move on. The belief was that Tampa wasn't going to have the man power to do the job, but they proved a lot of us wrong. Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson were the biggest losses, 17 picks each, while Justin Abdelkader had 12 picks tossed.
Mrazek was the team's top point-getter on the selection sheet, thanks to his shutout victory, he led the team with 4 points, at the time of their elimination. Tomas Tatar finished with 3 points and Mike Green had 2 points, while Henrik Zetterberg had 1 point and Pavel Datsyuk finished with naught.
The hearts of the Red Wings just weren't in it this year and it made for a quick exit.
We'll touch on the Lightning more, when we get the preview in for the next round.
The New York Rangers really laid an egg in Game 4 at the Garden, as they were forced behind the 8-ball by a very ambitious Pittsburgh Penguins offense on Thursday night. The Rangers went into the game down 2-1 in the series and they should have had the advantage of home-ice working for them, but you couldn't convince the Penguins of that, who held a 3-0 lead, just after 16 minutes of play in the 1st period.
In the end, there was no stopping Evgeni Malkin and his Penguins, as the superstar Russian finished with a 4-point night, going two and two on the scoresheet. The young Matt Murray is certainly making good, in place of Marc-Andre Fleury, as the kid made 21 saves for the shutout, as those points continue to evade the pool. Let's not forget about Sidney Crosby, who also had a goal and an assist to be notable in this game as well.
The Penguins will get their shot to boot the Rangers on Saturday afternoon, a 1pm MT start.
The road team advantage is a real thing in the series between the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators, which might ultimately be the undoing of the Ducks, who won in Nashville again on Thursday night, evening up the series at 2-2, because they'll have the home-ice disadvantage through the rest of the series.
Game 4 was all Ducks again, as they came away as 4-1 winners against the Predators, able to really get the job done at Bridgestone Arena. Despite the Ducks scoring four goals in the win, this was another horrible game for the pool, as the goalie is not on the sheet and Nate Thompson scored the winner, so it was only single-point players that did anything for us poolies.
Still, the Ducks press on and both teams are heading back to the pond for a late Saturday night tilt for Game 5. Will the Predators find their mojo in Anaheim again or do the Ducks actually have some momentum heading home?
Well, I couldn't quite make it to the overtime periods, but leading up to them, it was a damn fine game between the Blackhawks and the Blues, as Chicago managed to earn a Game 6 with some late-night heroics from Patrick Kane, who scored in the second overtime period, forcing this series back to the Madhouse on Madison.
A 3-1 Blackhawks lead after two periods wasn't safe, as the Blues managed to score a pair of goals before crunch time in the 3rd period, tying the game up and forcing extra time, which I could only imagine was a pretty good 63 extra minutes, before Kane scored the winner.
Corey Crawford made 43 saves for the win, while Kane finished with a 3-point night and Artemi Panarin had a pair of points as well. On the other side, Alex Pietrangelo had a 3-assist night and rookie Robby Fabbri scored a goal and an assist in the loss.
The Blackhawks are still in a wee bit of trouble, but the only way out is one win at a time.