Backstrom arrived (a while ago)... A-Kost a playoff monster... Theodore chokes on long leash... Carlson & Simmonds impressive... Vanek hurt... Sutton vs Fittipaldo
Alex Ovechkin decided to show up yesterday (with four points) but it was Nicklas Backstrom that really carried the Caps with his four points including a hat-trick and the game winner in OT... found it pretty amusing that those windbags on TSN were saying that "Backstorm has arrived"... ummm, yeah dude had 101 points this year and any way you slice it (fantasy or non-fiction) he's one of the top five players in the league.
The hat-trick by Andrei Kostitsyn was kinda over-shadowed yesterday... he also added an assist and has points in both games of the series so far. After a disappointing year where he only managed 33 points in 59 games, he continues to be a solid producer in the playoffs as he now has 9+5=14 in 18 career playoff games.
So that longer leash that Coach Bruce was talking about for Jose Theodore was yanked pretty quickly after he gave up two goals on his first two shots last night... brutal performance... man, "we had faith in him to actually be a good goalie"... Semyon Varlamov took over and while he wasn't spectacular (giving up three goals on 22 shots), he held the team in there and most certainly will get the start in game #3. We wouldn't say that this is the last we'll see of Theodore but like last year, he's given Varlamov the chance to steal his job.
Even before his game-tying goal John Carlson had logged a pretty impressive game as the Caps rookie is playing some key minutes and seems to be playing with a lot of confidence. Everything he's done in the past (in the USHL, OHL, WJC & AHL) screams that he's going to be a big-time offensive contributor and it wouldn't really surprise us if it happened as early as next season.
LA shook things up a little last night as they scratched two veterans, Justin Williams and Randy Jones. It seemed to work out as Wayne Simmonds jumped up onto the top line and scored a goal on a nice feed from Anze Kopitar. Simmonds is a guy that we're watching closely in these playoffs as after a 40 point, plus-22 and 116 PIM season, he's displaying a lot of fantasy potential.
Michael Ryder had two goals yesterday and he's a hard guy to figure out as he's off to a quick start in the playoffs after putting up 13 points in 11 playoff games last year... but this comes after another one of his patented sleep-walking seasons where he had 15+18=33.
Kirill Petrov is expected to be at the Islanders rookie camp this summer and his agent is saying that he'd like to play in North America next year... this is a kid with a lot of talent and while he hasn't been able to make a lot of hay in the KHL the past two years, he did have 4+6=10 in seven games at the WJC this past year. If he does play in North American next year, expect him to start the season in the AHL. [more]
Thomas Vanek left yesterday's game after sliding into the boards feet first... speculation is that he has an injured foot. He's listed as day-to-day but we'd guess that he's unlikely to go for game #3.
Brian Campbell skated yesterday for the fourth day in a row, says he's getting better and looks like his return could come sooner rather than later. He's set to be evaluated by the Doc today, so we should know more after that.
What's distracting us today? We've always liked the big hitter that is Andy Sutton. We liked him even more after he delivered this big hit on Jordan Leopold in Game 2:
But our love of Sutton has grown after visiting Puck Daddy today where we saw the below video. Sutton doesn't take too kindly to a question from Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Then we get an awkward exchange between the two:
Way to bring the crazy Sutton!