Another day, another Philadelphia goalie swap. Brian Boucher was pulled after giving up five goals on 23 shots – Sergei Bobrovsky came in and stopped eight of 10. Meanwhile, Mike Leighton has an LBI and Johan Backlund is now the No.3 option. I don’t blame the coach for this mess, as Don Cherry seemed to hint. Laviolette has done what he can to keep stability in net – he’s leaving them in, but they just start getting torched every once in awhile and he has to put someone in. Not a lot of room for error. No, in this I would blame the GM. But the only real mistake made was not completely checking and re-checking the health of Leighton before re-signing him. I don’t question signing the talent – as I said here, Leighton is 25-10-2 on the Flyers. But I question the team getting duped when he hid his injury.
So what does/can the team do next season? Leighton and Bobrovsky are both signed. Cap space is currently filled if the salary cap stays the same for next year. If it goes up by $2 million, they’ll use that to re-sign Ville Leino and then add a cheap defenseman for the salary minimum. Unless they can get Kimmo Timonen, Daniel Briere or Braydon Coburn off the books, they can’t afford going after a Bryzgalov or Vokoun. So what WILL they do? I think they roll with Bobrovsky and Leighton. If the latter is healthy, I think the situation will turn out okay. If not, then they’re in trouble again.
David Krejci – you gotta love those players who manage one point in seven games (10, if you go back to the regular season), and then suddenly have a four-point game.
I think the Bruins really wanted to pigeonhole Brad Marchand as a third-liner, but he won’t let them. Did you know that he did not see at least 17 minutes of ice time in back-to-back games until March 27? He has eight points in eight playoff games and is a plus-7. I think next year he takes another step forward as Claude Julien realizes that he’s a better fit for the second line.
Before Vancouver fans start pumping their fists over the return of Roberto Luongo and how he’s stopped 64 of 66 shots in this series so far, take a look at the quality of the shots (and shooters, for that matter). The Blackhawks got in tight on him 10 times as often as the Preds are. Perimeter shots are much easier to kick away. And while Nashville may have seven or eight snipers who you would give a seven out of 10…they have no 10-out-of-10 snipers like the Hawks have. I don’t think Luongo is back at all. He’s adequate, nothing more. And if the Canucks want to play the “let’s-hold-the-other-team-to-one-goal” game, then more often than not the Preds will win. But the Canucks won’t open it up because I think deep down they know that Luongo is not the superstar that he was in Florida or his first year in Vancouver.
At no point in the regular season was Henrik Sedin held to just five points in any nine-game span, but he has five points in nine playoff games right now.
Martin Erat was back in the lineup and played 28:38, assisting on the tying goal. JP Dumont was a healthy scratch. Colin Wilson and Cal O’Reilly continue to be scratched.
Ryan Ellis has joined the Milwaukee Admirals for some playoff action.
Marc-Antoine Pouliot was among the three players recalled by the Lightning. I’m sure he replaces Simon Gagne in the lineup.
Did anyone see this? Funny costume…