Golfing – the Blackhawks. In the end, it’s goaltending. Smith has been better than Crawford all year. I knew this when I made my pick of Phoenix to win the series (and made Phoenix my “third team” in the hockey pool).
Crawford has faced 159 shots in playing six and a half games (give or take, when you toss in all the OT). By comparison, Smith has faced 241 shots.
If I mentioned in September that I thought Phoenix would get to the second round of the playoffs, half of you would have never come back! Man, hockey can be so unpredictable, and as a writer/analyst who puts himself out there, I have to try my best to never speak in absolutes. I always say “probably” or “I think” or “he should”, etc.
So the Michael Frolik playoff magic ran out, as he went pointless for the first time in the playoffs. How will he do next year? In Chicago, low expectations. In any other city? He intrigues me.
Jimmy Hayes got into his first playoff game and was kicked out of it for a hit on Rozsival. He’s looking at a suspension to start next year, can’t dig up a clip to show you as I write this.
Gilbert Brule has three points in five playoff games and is plus-2. The Kings, as someone pointed out to me on Twitter, would rather have had Fraser than Brule in that Smyth deal when they thought Brule was damaged goods.
Radim Vrbata has one point and is minus-4 so far. He had a great playoff last year and scored 35 goals during the season, so this comes as a bit of a surprise. He was well covered in the first couple of games, so Dave Tippett controlled/rolled back his ice time and he played a lot better the last three.
Los Angeles vs. St. Louis. Nashville vs. Phoenix. Will the four teams combine for 20 goals next round?
I got a tweet last night wondering if I will credit the unbelievable goaltending left in the West. And the goaltenders are unbelievable – Quick is a star, Smith has become the real deal, Elliott has come from out of nowhere and Rinne is, well Rinne. But think about it – if Tippett, Hitchcock, Sutter and Trotz coached in the East next year… I have a feeling I’d be crediting the “unbelievable goaltending” in the East.
Carolina signed free agent defenseman Beau Schmitz to an ELC. He has put up impressive OHL point totals (54 points this past year), but given Carolina’s depth in that area I wouldn’t expect him to make headway in the season ahead. But I’ll be watching out for the name – I remember the odds were against Jared Spurgeon two years ago, similar situation.
Shane Doan has 21 points in 44 career playoff games and is minus-4. You’d think he’d be a playoff warrior.
Chris Kreider scored his first career NHL goal and it was a Game 6 playoff game winner. His ice time is still being pampered, but if the Rangers get through the series I could see it creeping up. As long as Brian Boyle remains out.
Jakob Silfverberg made his NHL debut for the Senators in what has been a whirlwind season for him. You can read up on him over at DobberProspects.com as well as in the upcoming Fantasy Prospects Report, but suffice it to say – his year has been awesome (hint – MVP season, MVP playoffs in the SEL). He was pointless in nine minutes of ice time, and picked up a boarding penalty just after the Rangers tied the game, which could have been costly (but wasn’t). His ranking on the Fantasy Prospects List has been rising steadily since October, and will shoot up once again with the next update.
Derek Stepan picked up his first three points of the series.
Craig Anderson is 3-1 when he faces 29 shots or more, but 0-2 when facing 23 shots or fewer. He’s always been a better goalie when he’s busy.
Daniel Alfredsson was back in the lineup and played over 18 minutes, with nearly eight minutes in PP and PK time.
Any Sens fans have any insight as to why Nick Foligno is only getting about 15 minutes a game? I know that’s about all he was getting in the season, but he’s the type of clutch player who I’d think would get a couple of minutes more at this time of year.
Jaroslav Halak’s ankle injury will keep him out for at least another week to 10 days, or Games 1 and 2 versus the Kings.
Nashville citizens are tuning in to watch their team – breaking local records.