April 22, 2014

Dobber Sports

2014-04-22

It looks like the key to winning in this Columbus/Pittsburgh series is don't get a 3-1 lead. The Blue Jackets blew one this time around as the Pens scored three third period goals to steal Game 3.

 

Pittsburgh out shot Columbus 41-20, despite an early surge from the Blue Jackets that put them in a quick 2-0 hole.

 

The Pens' power play is still struggling big time though. They went 0-for-6 last night and are now just one for their last 14 attempts. It seems to be a mix of good Columbus penalty killing and some shaky puck movement by Pittsburgh. I wonder if those Blue Jacket shorthanded goals are in their heads a bit too, making the Penguins a little hesitant.

 

Sidney Crosby picked up an assist, but Brandon Dubinsky is still doing a decent job keeping him under control. If they can keep Crosby from putting up multi-point games, they've got a shot.

 

I've been surprised with the minutes Kris Letang is logging since returning from his stroke. I thought the Penguins might ease him back in, but so far he's played more than 20 minutes in five of six games since coming back, and in two of those he saw over 25. Letang doesn't quite look like himself yet, but it's a good sign he is getting so much ice time.

 

Why can't Jack Johnson just pretend it's the postseason all the time? He had another goal tonight to give him 15 points in 14 career playoff games. He plays a ton of minutes and spends his share of time on both special teams. Johnson can be frustrating sometimes but the reward should outweigh the risk when it comes to a debate of scooping him up in your league.

 

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The Wild got back in their series with a 1-0 win over the Avalanche. Mikael Granlund scored the sweet overtime winner.

 

 

Darcy Kuemper got the start and with the shutout it's safe to say that's the end of Ilya Bryzgalov. The Bryz didn't really implode this time around, but the playoffs just haven't worked out for him.

 

Semyon Varlamov was the story in a losing cause, however, turning aside 45 shots.

 

Nathan MacKinnon was slacking Monday. After putting up seven points in two games he gets held off the score sheet? What's up with that? Seriously though, he wasn't going to keep up that pace forever, but MacKinnon has to be climbing up fantasy boards rapidly for next season. Is he a top 10 pick now?

 

Tough blow for the Avs as Tyson Barrie is out 4-6 weeks after taking a knee-on-knee hit from Matt Cooke. With Cooke's history you have to think a suspension is coming.

 

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Chicago also has made it a series with a 2-0 win. It looked like history was going to repeat itself when the Blues pulled the goalie late, but Corey Crawford made a big stop that led to a Marcus Kruger empty-net goal. Crawford made 34 stops in all for the shutout.

 

Ryan Miller looked solid, although the goal he gave up to Jonathan Toews he probably wishes he had back. Something has just looked off about his game late in the season and early in the playoffs.

 

Brent Seabrook, of course, didn't play because of his suspension, as did David Backes because of injury. Those are two interesting losses for both sides. Seabrook actually had four points in the first two games, so the Blackhawks lose some offense from the blue line, and Backes is normally out against the Toews line. Captain Serious scored the winner on Monday.

 

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The Stars continued a trend, picking up the third shutout of the night to cut their series to 2-1. Kari Lehtonen made 37 stops and that’s the level he has to be at if Dallas hopes to capture the series.

 

The big line for Dallas got going as Jamie Benn and Valeri Nichushkin both scored, while Tyler Seguin had an assist. They’ve got to out duel the Getzlaf and Perry line on a nightly