Howard the hottest in the West... the Bryz, Andy, Luu & Quick are less than hot... Caps have faith in Jose, for now... Backstrom questionable... talk that Savard could return... a distraction grab-bag
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Lets look at which Western Conference goalies are hot and which are not heading into the playoffs...
The hottest goalie in the west coming in is Jimmy Howard as he's 13-0-2 with a 1.89 gaa & .926 sv% over his last 15 games... he's only a rookie but he's looked great this year and is playing behind a charged up team right now.
Detroit will be facing Ilya Bryzgalov in the first round and while he's put up some excellent numbers this year (42 wins, 2.29 & .920), those numbers are a little less impressive if you only look at what he did after January 1st (20 wins, 2.61 & .914).
Evgeni Nabokov comes in with a 7-1-1 record with a 2.27 & .927 over his last nine... that's hot.
Craig Anderson comes in having won only three of his last nine with a 3.48 & .875... that's something cooler than hot.
In the Vancouver-LA series you could see a lot of goals as both goalies have been generous lately... Roberto Luongo comes in with a 4-4-2 record and 3.46 & .891 averages over his last 10 games and Jon Quick has two wins in his last 12 with a 2.84 & .892.
The Stars have said that they won't be re-signing Marty Turco so get your Kari Lehtonen jersey's Stars fans as he's your guy. Now if GM Joe Nieuwendyk is as smart as people say he is then he'll make sure he has a decent back-up as insurance for when Lehtonen gets hurt... and that goalie would make a nice sleeper pick in drafts next year.
As suspected, Coach Bruce came out yesterday and declared Jose Theodore as his #1 goalie and says that they go into the playoffs with confidence in him and that he'll have a longer leash than last year when he only lasted one game before being replaced. It's hard to have faith in this guy but we feel pretty good about his chances playing behind a power-house team and think he could surprise some people in these playoffs.
So the Draft Lottery was, once again, not really a lottery, more like a sure-thing for Edmonton as absolutely nothing changed in the draft order from the final regular season standings... the thing needs to be scrapped as there's no disincentive to tanking.
The U-18 championships started yesterday and we'll keep you informed of any major developments but the big stories so far is that Canada & USA both lost on the opening day.
Injury Updates (see our Injury Updates page for a consolidated list of injuries):
Nicklas Backstrom is listed as questionable for game #1 tomorrow due to an illness. He hasn't practiced over the past few days but this is a guy that never misses a game (hasn't missed one since he arrived in Washington) so we'd bet he's in the lineup on Thursday.
Sami Salo sat out the last two games of the regular season to heal a leg injury but he's been back practicing so he should be fine to play in game #1... even when this guy is 100%, his next injury is right around the corner so beware that this might be nagging him a little.
The Bruins revealed yesterday that Marc Savard is making progress in his recovery from that concussion and could possibly play in the 2nd round, if they make it that far. Good news but we wouldn't go anywhere near this guy in a playoff pool as there would have to be an awful lot that goes right before he is able to make a contribution to your squad... I guess if you're in a really deep pool and people are picking guys like Darcy Hordichuk then maybe you take a chance on Savard but not really before then.
What's distracting us today?
From the "Don't poke the giant bear" department: (stick tap to Puck Daddy):
- Tomas Plekanec: "It's not as though we are facing [Martin] Brodeur or [Ryan] Miller. ... They don't have a dominant goaltender. When you look at the goaltending matchup in this series it favors our team. I just believe that our goaltending is more solid than theirs. ... I'm not saying their goalies are bad. I'm just saying our goalies are better."
- Jose Theodore's response: "Tomas who? Jagr? Oh, Plekanec. OK. I thought you meant Jagr."
Twitter sensation #throwthesnake, is all about trying to one-up the Red Wings octopus throwing tradition. Sounds like a great idea... except the Coyotes put the big kibosh on things... kill joys. Nightmare on Helm Street has a much better reason not to throw the snake... Don't mock the octopus. You can also buy a Throw The Snake t-shirt... no word if the Coyotes are going to ban it as well
- Top Secret Playoff Scouting Reports from Blade of Funny... good stuff.
- Awesome, awesome zoom shot (that we first saw on the Kurtenblog)... Matt Cooke's face we'd like to introduce you to Evander Kane's fist:
Finally here's a video (courtesy of the always awesome DGB) of a Leafs inspired commercial for Google. Seems like a good day for a little wallowing Leafs fans.