After Saturday, the Blues have to be sitting around thinking “no, not again.” After going up 3-1 in the series, the Blues came back in game 5 with 2 goals in the third only to lose in double overtime to who else, Patrick Kane. They stormed out to a 3-1 lead after 1 on Saturday in Chicago only to give up 5 unanswered to lose 6-3. Game 7 is tonight at 8:30 and while I believe the Blues are the better team and have home ice, they must be feeling enormous pressure. I picked the Blues in 7 in our Razzball Bracket Challenge so they better pull through! It could be the only game 7 of the first round so be sure to watch tonight if you get the chance. Here’s what I saw the last few days of games:
Lightning 1, Red Wings 0 – Tampa finished out the series in 5 games in style. Alex Killorn scored the winner with less than 2 minutes left while Ben Bishop was lock down stopping all 34 Red Wings shots. They now face the Islanders in the next round (more on them later) and I expect Tampa to control that series. If this was Pavel Datsyuk‘s last game in the NHL, it was a pleasure watching him. One of the best players of his generation and arguably the best hands I’ve ever seen.
Penguins 5, Rangers 0 – Another dominating performance from Pittsburgh. Matt Murray stopped all of the Rangers pushes with 31 saves while the two stud centers led the way offensively. Evgeni Malkin was a monster with two goals and two assists with six shots while Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist with three shots. Of note for next fantasy season, Conor Sheary scored a goal on two shots and looked fantastic. I think he can be a nice late round flier next season.
Ducks 4, Predators 1 – The road team won again in this series as the Ducks made a push late in the second to take control. Frederik Andersen was strong once again stopping 30 of 31 shots. I really hope that they move Andersen or John Gibson in the offseason so we don’t have to deal with their goaltending rotation again next year. Jamie McGinn scored for the second straight game while Ryan Getzlaf also scored a goal on two shots. It was a balanced attack from the Ducks with nobody getting more than a point. Pekka Rinne struggled as I expected before the series starting allowing 4 goals on 25 shots. As you know, I will be low on Rinne going into next year.
Blackhawks 4, Blues 3 (2OT) – Corey Crawford was very strong stopping 43 of 46 shots. Brian Elliott did as well although that doesn’t show in the numbers are he allowed 4 goals on 35 shots. Artemi Panarin scored with less than a second left in the second period which obviously was a major swing in the game. Panarin is an interesting case for next season. He’ll be in the top 50 but probably towards the bottom end of it. Alex Pietrangelo tallied three assists and five shots playing almost 40 minutes while Robby Fabbri had a goal and an assist with three shots. I love Fabbri’s upside for the future.
Flyers 2, Capitals 0 – This game was beyond absurd. The shot totals finished 44-10 in the Capitals favor but it didn’t matter. Michal Neuvirth was out of this world stopping every shot as the Flyers decided to not play any offense. No matter, they still found a way to win off a Ryan White goal and an empty netter. Again, I have no idea why Neuvirth wasn’t playing earlier in this series.
Islanders 2, Panthers 1 (2OT) – The goalies were outstanding in this one with Thomas Greiss stopping 47 of 48 Panthers shots while Roberto Luongo stopped 40 out of 42 Islanders shots. Alan Quine scored the overtime winner after barely playing for the Islanders in the season, great story. The hero from earlier in the series, Thomas Hickey had assists on both of the Isles goals. Aleksander Barkov scored the lone Panthers goal as he continues to crush.
Wild 5, Stars 4 (OT) – The Wild managed to stay alive after a late goal by Mikko Koivu to tie the game and another goal to win it in overtime. The captain finished with two goals and three shots and will probably be a bottom end hold in 12’ers next year. Mikael Granlund had 1+1 and is still near the top of my “super talented player who leaves me wanting more” list. Jason Pominville‘s heater kept going with two assists and two shots while Jared Spurgeon and Ryan Suter also had two assists each. Jamie Benn scored a goal on seven shots to extend his point streak and John Klingberg dished two assists. Antti Niemi was dreadful allowing 5 goals on 24 shots.
Sharks 6, Kings 3 – What a performance by the Sharks in this series. They managed to go up 3-0 in this game only to blow it and then score 3 unanswered goals again. They’ve impressed me more than any other team in the first round. Brent Burns and Logan Couture each had three assists and a shot while one of my frequent streamers Joonas Donskoi scored twice. In the defeat, Jake Muzzin had two assists while Jonathan Quick struggled again allowing 5 goals on 27 shots.
Penguins 6, Rangers 3 – Man, what a dreadful performance for the Rangers in this series. Honestly, it was for the best so they make the necessary changes to improve the roster around Henrik Lundqvist. Bryan Rust led the way with two goals and an assist while Phil Kessel and Matt Cullen each had 1+1. Sidney Crosby had two more assists while Conor Sheary scored again. There really wasn’t much of note from a Rangers perspective.
Ducks 5, Predators 2 – All of a sudden my Stanley Cup pick doesn’t look so bad. After going down 1-0, the Ducks scored two goals in the next 2:10 to take the lead and didn’t look back. Ryan Getzlaf, David Perron, Jakob Silfverberg and Sami Vatanen each had two points while Ryan Garbutt scored the big goal to put the Ducks in front. Vatanen is an interesting case as there’s been talk before that he could be moved. He’ll probably be ranked in the 25-30 range for me among defensemen but I think there’s upside for more.
Blackhawks 6, Blues 3 – The one bright spot for the Blues is that the Blackhawks have no answer for Vladimir Tarasenko who scored again. Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews, Andrew Ladd and Panarin each had two points. It was a great showing by the Blackhawks for the last 40 minutes to force game 7. It should be an excellent game tonight.
Capitals 1, Flyers 0 – Braden Holtby locked it down to finish the Flyers off posting a 26 save shutout. Capitals Penguins next round is going to be outstanding. Nicklas Backstrom scored the goal from Marcus Johansson and Alex Ovechkin. Despite the loss, Michal Neuvirth was terrific again stopping 28 of 29 shots.
Stars 5, Wild 4 – Absolutely insane game with the Stars going up 4-0 after 2 only for the Wild to get it to 4-3 and then 5-4 before inevitably falling short. Jamie Benn is hotter than a pistol after scoring a goal and two assists. He’s the only player so far with a point in every game in the playoffs. Frequent streamer Mattias Janmark tallied two assists, Patrick Sharp scored a goal and an assist with four shots while Jason Spezza was a monster scoring a goal and adding three assists. Kari Lehtonen was back between the pipes although he didn’t do particularly well allowing 4 goals on 29 shots. Defensive stalwart Jonas Brodin actually had two points in this one with a goal and an assist. Mikko Koivu and Nino Niederreiter each tallied two assists while Jared Spurgeon scored twice on three shots. Jason Pominville scored again in the defeat; it was nice to see him come on late in the season after being abysmal for much of the year.
Islanders 2, Panthers 1 (2OT) – Another overtime game, another game the Isles managed to find a way to win. Again, the Panthers had no answer for John Tavares who scored with 54 seconds left to tie it and then scored the overtime winner. The Isles got away with a blatant trip right before the tying goal, the referees should be embarrassed they missed it. Anyways, Jonathan Huberdeau scored the Panthers goal from Vincent Trocheck who returned from injury. The future is bright in Florida, no doubt about it. Thomas Greiss was terrific again stopping 41 of 42 shots.
That’s all for now guys. With only two games on the docket tonight and no games Tuesday, I won’t be posting anything on Tuesday morning. Instead, I’m going to have my way too early top 10 rankings go up on Wednesday morning. It should be interesting going through it all as I’m still not sure how it’s going to shake out. Then later on in the week, I’ll have a preview of the second round. As always, feel free to ask any questions or post any comments below. Take care everyone!