Carolina is on the verge of shocking the world and taking out the Bruins... well world is probably a stretch, maybe shocking a small pocket of people in Boston at least... the difference in the series has been goaltending, while Boston's Tim Thomas may be a Vezina Trophy candidate he's getting shown up by the dude with a Conn Smythe Trophy on his resume. Cam Ward sports a 1.74 gaa & .933 sv% in this series while Thomas has a 2.51 gaa with a .919 sv%.
Heard some expert the other day say that they thought Boston's veteran experience would help them pull this series out?... really? Let's see here... their goalie, Tim Thomas, has one playoff series win to his credit (this year), their best forward, Marc Savard, only has 15 games NHL playoff experience and their best dman, Zdeno Chara, was part of a whole mess of playoff collapses in Ottawa... so not sure if that "veteran experience" is really going to help them that much.
Two more goals for Eric Staal last night moves him into a tie with Sidney Crosby for the lead league with nine and that's 7+3=10 in his last six games in which Carolina is 5-1.
Staal may have been the best player on the ice but Jussi Jokinen continues to be the best story of the playoffs as he added another goal and another game winner to his tally for the post-season. That gives him 5+3=8 in his last six games and game winners in the past two wins over Boston.
The Simeon Varlamov rocketship to the stars has come crashing down to earth this series as Pittsburgh has discovered that easy shots from the blueline give the rookie trouble. He's given up a few stinkers in this series and his numbers are a bit rotund... 3.16 gaa & .908 sv%.
Patrick Roy met with Colorado president Pierre Lacroix recently to discuss a position with the team. In theory Tony Granato is still the head coach but, most likely, Roy is interviewing for the position. Roy has had some success as a coach in the Q but hard to say if he'd be able to jump right into the pro's and be successful... but I think its safe to say that goalie fights in Colorado would rise.
Sergei Gonchar was knocked out of last night's game after a knee-on-knee hit from Alexander Ovechkin. Gonchar is definitely out for game #5 tonight and there are whispers that he may be done for the rest of the playoffs. Don't bet on Ovechkin being suspended... superstars get free passes, just ask Kerry Fraser.
Kevin Bieksa says he's good to go tonight so the leg injury that had him limping around after game #4 seems to be tolerable. Sami Salo is still listed as questionable and we'd probably say that he's doubtful.
What's distracting us today? There's a report in the Hamilton Spectator today that there is a Vancouver-based group that wants to buy the Atlanta Thrashers and move them to Hamilton. Hell, Hamlton's been trying to get a NHL team since Copps Coliseum was built back in the '80s and had no luck and now in the span of a week they may be getting two teams! This scout grew up in the Hammer so would love to see the NHL return there but still thinks its a long-shot... and could be an even longer shot once these pot-heads from Vancouver get a look at the state of downtown Hamilton.