NHL Injuries – Updates on Seguin, Fleury, Stralman and more
Ajay Da Costa
The latest injury updates on Seguin, Fleury, Stralman, Lee, Stamkos, Pirri and more…
Sayonara Round One, and hello Round Two! Or, wait, sayonara… most of round one? Hello, a bit of Round Two? Having a team play Game 1 of their second series while another team is stuck in the first round is odd, but I guess it doesn’t hurt. Unless you’ve gotta write a Round Two preview column, I guess. But I digress. Round Two! Preview activate!
Dallas vs St. Louis
As amazing as it is for these teams to come out of the first round with just one injury between them, it sucks for Dallas that the player happens to be their #1 centerman. Seguin isn’t even planning on skating for the next few days to rehab his Achilles tendon, while his team is going from feast to famine. St. Louis is not Minnesota. Chicago didn’t make this series any easier for Dallas either, leaving St. Louis 100% healthy to trample over any opposition. There’s still a chance they could Blues it up, but they’re no doubt overflowing with confidence, having just eliminated the defending champions.
Jamie Benn, while a force to be reckoned with, isn’t nearly the same without Seguin. I’m no expert on the Stars, so feel free to tell me I’m way off-base in the comments, but a quick look at Benn’s 2015-16 WOWY chart shows a drop from a sterling 56.4 CorsiFor% at 5v5 to just 43.7% when Benn doesn’t have his partner in crime. That’s not nearly as ugly as his drop in GoalsFor%, though. With Seguin and Benn on the ice together, the Stars score 3.15 5v5 goals and allow 2.81, per 60 minutes. However, take Seguin out of the equation, and that scorecard drops to 1.89 for, 3.79 against. Absolutely abysmal numbers.
This doesn’t address (at all!) the fact that Dallas has players OTHER than Benn to handle some offensive responsibilities, but if Benn and John Klingberg can’t keep up with Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Pietrangelo, look for Dallas to go from bully to victim in this Central Division matchup.
San Jose vs Anaheim/Nashville
Josh Manson (day-to-day, head)
While none of these teams are crawling with bedridden players, or having any at all, It’s important to take into consideration the benefit San Jose is getting by closing out their series early. A big-bodied team like the Kings could have laid some serious punishment on them. Like the Blues, however, they slew their demons and escaped the first round unscathed. Anaheim and Nashville will hope to be able to say the same after tonight. If the Ducks survive, they’ll likely get Brandon Pirri back sometime in the middle of the second round, but again, the Sharks are in the same situation as the Blues. Putting the Kings to bed has likely given them all the confidence they need to handle whatever the Ducks or Preds throw at them, and Joe Thornton finding Jaromir Jagr’s fountain of youth likely doesn’t hurt either.
Washington vs Pittsburgh
This is the series to watch. I wasn’t a fan in 2007, so I missed the dueling hat-tricks game (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, google it. Some say it’s the best game of hockey ever played). Getting the chance to watch two hockey gods go at it in the playoffs is a treat. The Penguins manhandled the Rangers, and they did it with a rookie goalie! Matt Murray won all three games he played against the Rangers while posting a gorgeous 1.33 GAA and a .955 save percentage. Fleury isn’t close to returning as he’s had concussion symptoms return a few times now. Can Murray hold off the Caps? How long will the rookie’s abilities last? He’s still just 21 years old, and hasn’t had to face the adversity that Fleury and Holtby have. The Capitals are missing Orpik, but that’s not nearly as bad as losing your starting netminder. However, if there’s one team that can afford it, it’s these Pittsburgh Penguins. Under Mike Sullivan, they’ve scored 3.3 goals per 60 minutes (all situations), good for 1st in the NHL. Since March 1st, they’ve kicked it into overdrive, scoring a ludicrous 3.8 GF/60! Over that same time frame, Washington’s GF/60 has crashed to just 2.3, which is among the bottom five NHL teams.
Tampa Bay vs New York Islanders
Ryan Pulock (injured reserve, upper-body injury)
John Tavares and Thomas Greiss saved a lot of jobs in Round One. They singlehandedly (doublehandedly?) dragged the Islanders into the second round, but lost Ryan Pulock and possibly Josh Bailey in the process. Both should be back midway through Round Two, but Tampa Bay is well-rested for this series, having finished off their battle with Detroit on Thursday. They’ll likely get a teammate of their own back in the form of Anton Stralman. The others, including Stamkos and Halak, have yet to approach day-to-day status, so don’t expect to see them during this series. Any lapse from Tavares (not damn likely) or Greiss (a little more likely), and the Islanders will find themselves on the outdoor golf course looking in, as Tampa has the depth, experience, and clutch factor to overcome almost any adversity the Lightning throw their way. This series is going to start with more injuries that the other three put together, but it’ll also be the only one without a huge rivalry if the Ducks win tonight, so don’t expect that to last
As always, thanks for reading, and follow me on Twitter for more frequent injury updates and general hockey-related tomfoolery! @AjayDaCosta, in case that address bar is too far away.
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