What Carey Price has done this season is sensational. I am one of his biggest critics (well, used to be), but he stepped into an absolutely horrid situation (Halak being traded away) and has played elite level hockey all season long. Can’t imagine the pressure he was under, especially last fall. Stuck to his guns and it worked out.
Two games for Bobby Ryan – fair.
Chara is out for the B’s tonight.
Duncan Keith played close to 28 minutes last night. He finished minus-2 and had a very sloppy game. Obviously the big minutes are taxing him.
Another interesting thing – it is hard for Chicago to rest its top players, since they play in so many different situations. Toews and Sharp in particular were seeing regular time on the PK, and then were put out right after once the team was back at even strength to try and generate some offense.
Chicago's best forward last night? Not Kane, Toews, or Sharp. Not Hossa either. College star Ben Smith scored twice and had a few great chances for a third as well. He isn't big, but is slippery and smart with the puck. The Hawks have a keeper.
Smith was also the goat on a few of Vancouver goals, but he was creating offense and making plays with the puck all game long.
It will be interesting to see where Smith slides in next year. I doubt Troy Brouwer is back. Jeremy Morin is pretty close to a lock for a roster spot as well. Looking far ahead, sure, but playing well now bodes very well for his chances at a spot come training camp.
I’m not sure if Edler only likes to hit in the playoffs, but he picked up right where he left off from game one. He threw four or five punishing checks – the biggest on Patrick Kane early in the first. Edler did the same last season against LA in the first round before slowing down with the physical play. His value as a defenseman goes up in leagues that count hits as a stat (something I am seeing more and more of).
I am for counting hits as a stat, because it is a positive measure, as opposed to PIM, which can be positive (good fight, penalty to save a goal) or negative (lazy, undisciplined, whatever). The unfortunate thing is the hit stat is not recorded equally across the league – some arena statisticians are a bit more reluctant to hand them out than others.
The empty net goal for Tampa Bay was scored by Mattias Ohlund last night. Why so significant? It was the first goal Ohlund has scored as a member of the Lightning, ever since signing there in the summer of 2009. I wonder why Brian Lawton is out of a job?
Getzlaf, Ryan, and Perry absolutely thrashed the Predators last night.
Kudos to Washington, who are showing that they can play their defensive system effectively in the postseason. It may only be the Rangers, who look as if they don't even want to score, but impressive nonetheless.
Michal Neuvirth has allowed only one goal on the 47 shots he has faced through two games. As I wrote yesterday, Neuvirth is 16-0 in playoff rounds since coming to North America (OHL and AHL).