Ramblings: Thoughts on Playoffs, Coach Brind’Amour, Thornton (May 9)

Ian Gooding

2018-05-09


Thoughts on Playoffs, Coach Brind’Amour, Thornton, and more…

We get a Game 7 in the second round, and it’s from the series that features the regular season’s top two teams.

So who do you like? As I’ve mentioned before, it depends on what kind of game it is. If Winnipeg can go on another three-goal rapid fire run, then I think they’ve got this one in the bag. The Predators simply don’t have the offensive explosiveness of the Jets. But if Nashville can slow it down to a tight-checking defensive chess match, then I am convinced they will get it done in front of the home fans.

My Game 7 prediction: I picked Nashville in 7, so I have to stay with that pick. In terms of the future, though, Winnipeg is set up very nicely and has shown in this series that they are good enough to be the dominant team in the Central next season and possibly beyond. They’ve got a top-6 forward unit that might be second to none, they’ve got Connor Hellebuyck about to hit his prime, and they didn’t get heavily involved in free agency while the rebuild was carried forward from Atlanta (more on free agency later).

Much has been made about Pekka Rinne’s struggles during the playoffs. But one positive about his playoff performance: he bounces back. Since last season he is 10-2 with a sub-1.50 GAA and plus-.950 SV% with two shutouts after being tagged with an L in the previous game.

Nashville is not the best option for high-end scoring in playoff pools. After all, only one Predator (Filip Forsberg) was in the top 10 in playoff scoring last season, even though they made it to the final. There were even two players who were knocked out the round before (Erik Karlsson, Ryan Getzlaf) who finished ahead of Forsberg in scoring. But if you’re in a deep playoff pool that goes 3-4 lines deep or allows substitutions, pick lots of Nashville players. Their scoring is more spread out than that of other teams.

Just when I mentioned Roman Josi was struggling, he records two helpers in Game 6. No such luck for Kyle Turris, who has come up small during the playoffs. He has yet to score a postseason goal and has been held without a point over his last four games.

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Well, the Capitals finally slayed their dragon… or exorcised their demon… or whatever you want to call it. The Capitals/Penguins rivalry reminds me a bit of the Canucks/Blackhawks rivalry from 2009 to 2011. The Blackhawks knocked the Canucks out in the second round in both 2009 and 2010, then the Canucks needed Game 7 overtime to finally vanquish the Blackhawks. As much of a sour taste that the Canucks were left with in that Stanley Cup Fi