Ramblings: Bo Scorevat, Cam and Carey Post Shutouts for Canadian Teams (Aug 15)
Let's jump right into the five games that were played on Friday.
Colorado 3, Arizona 2 (Colorado leads series 2-0)
The Coyotes played a better game in Game 2 than they did in Game 1. In fact, the shots were actually in Arizona's favor 32-28 after they were outshot 40-14 in Game 1. However, a late goal from Andre Burakovsky sealed the win and a stranglehold on the series for the Avalanche.
Joonas Donskoi did not suit up in Game 2, as he was announced as unfit to play.
Nick Schmaltz wasn't in the lineup for the Coyotes, as he still remains sidelined after being injured in the exhibition game.
Montreal 5, Philadelphia 0 (series tied 1-1)
I've mentioned on here in the past that I'm not big on how the Canadiens have been constructed. However, I'll admit that they've been getting better and better as this postseason wears on, with Game 2 their most dominant effort so far. With Kirk Muller behind the bench in place of Claude Julien, the Habs controlled Game 2 to the point that Alain Vigneault complained about Muller trying to run up the score by using his top power-play unit late in the game. How Bill Belichick of him.
Carey Price continues to add to his 2020 postseason legend, posting a 30-save shutout. This was the seventh playoff shutout of his career for Price, who has some dominant numbers over his last four postseasons. To say he's been a difference maker would be an understatement. I guess the players were on to something when they voted him the league's best goalie shortly after the pause.
Tomas Tatar and Jesperi Kotkaniemi each scored two goals. Kotkaniemi now has a team-leading four goals during the postseason. The trip to the AHL may have helped him find his groove, as he recorded 13 points in 13 games there. He's one of what could be many examples of a player that is finding new life after the pause. I wrote more about Kotkaniemi in a Ramblings from last month.
Max Domi broke out of his slump, recording three assists. Those were his first points of the postseason.
To add injury to insult, Travis Konecny had to leave the game in the third period after blocking a shot. He is dealing with a possible foot or ankle injury. He'll have until Sunday evening to recover, but don't expect much in the way of updates until then.
The four-goal outburst over the first two periods meant that Carter Hart got pulled in the second period. This was Hart's first loss in four postseason games. He should be back between the pipes on Sunday.
Vancouver 4, St. Louis 3 (Vancouver leads series 2-0)
Bo Horvat is playing what might be the best hockey of his career at exactly the right time. The Canucks captain is rising to the occasion with a league-leading six goals this postseason, including the overtime winner 5:55 into the first extra period.
If you want to talk Horvat with a Canucks fan, just don't compare him to Mark Messier. You can bring up the fact that Horvat has nine points (6g-3a) in six postseason games this season and 13 points in 12 career postseason games. He looks like a player that ups his play when the stakes get higher.
This game was a wild one, with the Canucks leading 3-2 with just seconds to play. Then this goal happened, which was at first ruled no goal on the ice due to a high stick, then after review a good goal.
The Canucks had to make do with five defensemen for much of the third period. Tyler Myers left the game after getting hit into the boards by Brayden Schenn. He was very slow to get up and could be looking at some kind of shoulder injury.
At least a couple of Blues will receive their share of the blame for their 0-5 record in the postseason. Jordan Binnington might be at the top of the list, as after four games he has a very un-2019-like 4.27 GAA and .862 SV%. Given the championship he led his team to last season, he's probably on a very long leash to try to figure out the Canucks.
Meanwhile, Vladimir Tarasenko is without a point after four postseason games, and he's hardly been noticeable in this series. Remember that he is coming off a shoulder injury. If this series ends quickly for the Blues, Tank could turn out to be one of the biggest busts in playoff pools.
I saw lots of push from the Blues in the game (outshot the Canucks 37-25), so I'm not convinced that they're content with their Cup from last season and are okay with getting out of the bubble. The Canucks are beating the brawny Blues with skill, though. In particular, the Blues are going to have to improve their penalty killing (5 PPG for the Canucks in this series) if they're going to claw their way back into this series.
NY Islanders 5, Washington 2 (NY Islanders lead series 2-0)
The Dobber writers might have been on to something when the majority picked the Islanders to upset the Capitals (Experts Panel: Playoff Round 1 Predictions). Now here they are with a 2-0 lead, heading back home for Game 3 in… Toronto? Having that final line change is an advantage, though.
Former Capital Semyon Varlamov stopped 23 of 25 shots to earn the victory. For the Isles to win, they need to keep games low-scoring (at least for the other team). So far Varly has done that, posting a solid 1.85 GAA and .929 SV% in six postseason games. I mentioned earlier that this is his chance to show incoming top prospect Ilya Sorokin that he's not about to give up the net so easily. Don't write him off quite yet in next season's fantasy drafts.
In spite of the loss, Alex Ovechkin scored both Capitals goals, which were his first two goals of the postseason. He also contributed six shots on goal and four hits. Ovie will need to lead the charge if the Caps are to get back into the series.
Calgary 2, Dallas 0 (Calgary leads series 2-1)
The Stars carried the balance of play in Game 3, but it was Cam Talbot who stole this game for the Flames. Talbot made 35 saves in pitching his second shutout of the postseason. Talbot was able to bounce back after allowing five goals the night before, so this would have been an easy spot for Geoff Ward to turn to David Rittich for the second of back-to-backs. Regardless, Talbot has taken the starting job and run with it. He is a UFA again this offseason, so the Flames will have another goaltending decision on their hands this offseason. How much do the Flames really trust Rittich?
Not a surprise, but Matthew Tkachuk was held out of the Flames lineup after leaving Game 2 early the night before. That meant that 24-year-old Sam Bennett was able to grab a spot on the first-unit power play. Bennett couldn't record a point, but he led the Flames with eight hits.
Stating the obvious, but no points for Tyler Seguin in Game 3. He has yet to record a point in five postseason games, which only compounds the Stars' scoring woes. Dating back to the regular season, and if you're okay with mixing regular season and playoff stats, Seguin has gone nine games without a point. He's had back-to-back games of four shots, so maybe he's due for something sometime soon.
It's not often you get Flames Twitter supporting the Canucks, but only if it's under the larger umbrella of the Canadian flag.
The first game on Saturday starts bright and early at 9 a.m. PT (noon ET), so don't sleep in if you don't want to miss a moment of the hockey action. For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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