Mike Murphy had a 44-save shutout for Carolina’s farm team the other night in the AHL playoffs. He’ll battle Justin Peters for the backup spot behind Ward. I think the Hurricanes realize that they overplayed Ward this season, so expect the backup (whichever goalie wins the battle) to see at least 15 starts in 2011-12.
Eddie Lack is continuing his strong play for the Manitoba Moose as well. He stopped 43 of 44 shots against a superior Hamilton team on Wednesday night. Hamilton’s top line of Nigel Dawes, Dustin Boyd, and Aaron Palushaj has been dominant all postseason.
San Jose prospect Charlie Coyle has a shot at playing in the NHL next season. He’s big and plays a pro game already, but the Sharks don’t need to rush him and they’ll probably keep him in college for at least one more year. Coyle had 26 points this past season as a freshman at Boston University.
Stefan Elliott was named WHL Defenseman of the Year. Future top pairing stud for the Avalanche. Big, mobile, skilled, dynamic. The best fantasy prospect defenseman (drafted) in the world.
Ryan Ellis was also named CHL Defenseman of the Year. How many awards is that for him in his junior career now, a baker's dozen?
Cha-ching – that is the sound Christian Ehrhoff's agent keeps playing over and over in his head. The free agent to be leads the playoffs in scoring amongst defensemen. His defensive game has been average (good at times, bad at others), but he can create offense like few other defensemen in the game.
The puck moving defenseman is the rarest of player types in the league – no shortage of 10-12 teams would be after Ehrhoff. Will be interesting to see if he takes a cut to stay in a great situation (I don't think he is a 50-point defenseman outside of Vancouver and a few other teams).
Kesler was a monster for the Canucks last night – one goal, two assists, six shots on goal. He's dominating against a very tired Weber/Suter pairing right now.
Henrik Sedin's first goal of the post season (empty netter) came last night. He had a good game with two helpers. The Sedins still weren't great, but they were better. If the Canucks do end up winning this series, they should have more room against the Sharks than they do against the Predators.
Those close-fought games in March and April are catching up to the Preds.
Nashville's top line is still pointless through four games now. Pretty tough to win when the top offensive unit is continually shut out.
Hornqvist played only 10 minutes, so perhaps it isn't fair to label him a top liner?
Joel Ward scored his fifth of the playoffs – he is playing great hockey for the Preds in a variety of situations right now.
Ryan Kesler walks through Weber and O’Brien – no Suter because he was in the box: