Boston and Pittsburgh both showed why they are the favourites in their respective matchups. Boston controlled the play against the Leafs, while Pittsburgh outclassed the Isles in every area of the game.
Can anyone tell me why Orr and McLaren drew in to the Leafs lineup over Matt Frattin and… anybody? Boston isn’t a team you are going to intimidate.
And no Jake Gardiner… who can pass and skate the puck better than any Leafs defenseman not named Dion… some puzzling coaching decisions last night (and most of this season, for that matter).
Kessel was awful – completely invisible, turnovers, and generated nothing. JVR had a great game and should have had another goal or two. He is a big game player and seems to thrive in the postseason when the checking gets more intense.
Raise your hand if you predicted Wade Redden to have two points in Game 1.
The Pens won’t need to rush Crosby back any time soon. Their deadline pickups up front all looked good – Iginla, Morrow, and Jokinen. They overwhelmed the Islanders physically.
Iginla and Jokinen each had a pair of helpers.
Lots of hits last night – any playoff pools go that deep? Matt Martin had 10, Casey Cizikas had six, and for Pittsburgh, Douglas Murray had five hits and 12 PIM.
Marty Havlat left the SJS/Van game with an injury. Surprise of surprises, I know. He’s been really good lately on a line with Couture and Marleau.
The game (I caught periods two and three) was fast-paced and very physical, but it was very tight, too. SJS capitalized on a few Vancouver mistakes.
Brent Burns wasn’t as noticable as I was expecting, but both Pavelski and Couture were phenomenal.
Canuck rookie d-man Frank Corrado had a very good game. Didn’t show any nerves – made smart passes, pinched in a few times, and this bodes really well for his chances at earning a spot on the team next season.
From before the game…
A mostly Canuck-focused preview, but also some thoughts on why I like Montreal as the Canadian team to advance the furthest.
Up front, this Montreal group is big, gritty, and chalk-full of players who will be willing to score "playoff goals." What I mean by that – rebounds, deflections, and scrums in front of the net. Brendan Gallagher, in particular, has already established himself as one of the most fearless players in hockey. He's only 5-8, but he plays as if he is magnetized to the opposing goal crease.
Marian Gaborik is out for 3-4 weeks as he needs minor abdominal surgery. He will be fully recovered well before camp and should get a full summer of training in.
Top 10 saves from the regular season…
Helping promote a free-to-enter NHL postseason pick 'em contest. Part of the proceeds go to charity, and there are some awesome prizes (including a trip to Oktoberfest… need I say more?).
Pick a team to win in a series of games.
Build a streak by making correct picks in a row.
Make a wrong pick, and your current streak ends. Start again!
Prizes awarded to players with the biggest streaks.
I have done a few NFL pools like this before (called survivor pools). Really fun, lots of strategy involved (especially when choosing to skip or pass on matchups).
Now that it is the postseason, the type of analysis shifts a bit (as most playoff pools are very different than regular season pools). Instead of focusing most of the attention on the "now" (from a fantasy perspective at least), I think it is useful to focus on the "tomorrow."