It is time to get into the fantasy landscape on a BIG Saturday edition of the Fantasy Hockey Playoff ONE. With the schedule being the way it is, this is the make or break day for most poolies in Round 1. Also, the five games are somewhat spread out to a point so you can follow all the action. One team staved off elimination last night but another one did not. Let’s see what happeened and what it means for you.
The Detroit Red Wings
This was one very few saw coming. The Wings were the first team eliminated from the playoffs last night behind a strong effort from a Nashville team that just wanted it more. The end result was a 2-1 win where Alex Radulov tallied a goal and assist and Pekka Rinne stopped all but one shot. One of the main critiques in the end for Detroit was their inability to get pucks high on Rinne to set up potential rebounds. It notably worked a few times in the series but the mix in shot selection just was not quite there. Val Filppula was not the difference maker many thought he could be and Pavel Datsyuk as well as Henrik Zetterberg were effectively neutralized by Shea Weber and Ryan Suter. The reality was that Rinne was the last line of defense at one point stopping 89 of 92 shots in this series.
The goal differential was +4 and all in the third period (7 goals to 3). That was the endgame in this series and now all your Detroit Red Wing players are gone and off the board.
THREE STARS OF THE SERIES:
1. Pekka Rinne (NSH)
2. Alex Radulov (NSH)
3. Gabriel Bourque (NSH)
A special honorable mention goes out to Kevin Klein for playing amazing defense in this series. He kept Detroit off the board several times with blocked shots and even contributed offensively as well.
Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Pittsburgh Penguins
Granted he only stopped 24 of 26 shots but for the first time in this entire series, there was goaltending in all its glorious splendor. In a 4:00 stretch that would have wilted many souls, Fleury stopped 12 shots including seven on a 2:00 man advantage that had a whopping five scoring chances. On a night where everyone expeccted a 5-3 or 6-4 score, it was goaltending that ultimately preserved the win in Pittsburgh. Maybe some order will be restored after all and over the last five periods, Fleury has finally looked like Fleury. It could not have come at a better time for his owners.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
|Washington||at||Boston||3:00 PM | Gameday|
|New Jersey||at||Florida||6:30 PM | Gameday|
|Ottawa||at||NY Rangers||7:00 PM | Gameday|
|San Jose||at||St. Louis||7:30 PM | Gameday|
|Chicago||at||Phoenix||10:00 PM | Gameday|
This is one of those days and nights that almost describes itself. You have three pivotal Game 5’s with two potential elimination games. There really is not too much more left to say either at this point. Either your team is going to push most of its players into Round 2 or it is not. Can Braden Holtby keep it up against Tim Thomas? Will St. Louis be able to put San Jose out of its misery? Does the Senators-Rangers game go to overtime? Can Chicago mount a comeback in a series where all four games have gone into extra time? There are a lot of questions and at this point there are few answers.
KEEP AN EYE ON:
The Florida Panthers?
How does this team respond after getting physically and mentally manhandled on Thursday Night? Do they ultimately throw in the towel after a pretty decent fight or do they gets like cats and scratch and claw? No one knows it seems. However, if Jason Garrison does not go tonight that could be too big a loss to overcome. Florida is a different team without their bomber on the blueline. The first line, especially on the power play, greatly benefitted from the fear of that shot throughout the season and in Round 1. Scott Clemmensen was gouged for three third period goals in Game 4 also. So who does Kevin Dineen go to in a crucial Game 5 that may just be the series? When looking at this one, the VFW line has to step up…it has to be their night.
Mike Smith, G, Phoenix Coyotes
Smith has been amazing for most of this series and has won three of the four overtime games obviously. More importantly, he has found a way to keep an even keel whereas Corey Crawford has not. Phoenix is just holding Chicago’s offense at bay and the main reason is Smith. Do the Coyotes suffer a bit of prosperity now in tonight’s Game 5? Again, the Blackhawks are not going to go down meekly and Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane, and Jonathan Toews (no Marian Hossa) are going to make this tough on Phoenix. They will have to earn this one.
Henrik Lundqvist, G, New York Rangers
Simply this may be the playoffs for Lundqvist. If this game goes to OT, who knows what will happen. People will shine the light on #30 for his 1-7 overtime record but it is more the fact that this Rangers team just does not get top line scoring when it counts most of the time. This is the last game of the infamous Carl Hagelin suspension and Hagelin’s loss has been felt. Just ask Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards. In the end, this will still come down to Lundqvist stopping a pesky Senators team that plays a lot like the Rangers do. This has to be his finest hour or the Rangers may be on the golf course in a few days.
We will be following all of the activity and games all day and night. Good luck everyone and thanks again for reading. This is going to be some Saturday!