Varlamov, not Price, the difference... Rask's gaa 1.45 over last 11... Leafs get big Finn... Campbell unbeatable at U-18s... Flyers lose Carter & Gagne... Burke provides fodder
Semyon Varlamov stopped 36 of 39 last night and a number of those of were of the flashy leather variety as he was the difference in the Caps 6-3 win over the Habs in game #4. Varlamov is really starting to get a reputation as a playoff goalie here as outside of a few lapses against Pittsburgh last year, he's been rock solid in post-season play. We'll see if he can keep it up once the competition gets stiffer in round #2.
Varlamov was the difference for Washington but Montreal should really try to stop Backstrom and Ovechkin as well as they both had three points last night and are averaging a combined 4.25 points per game in this series so far. Shadow them or do something, make someone else beat you as guys like Alex Semin (1 point), Tomas Fleischmann (1 point) and Brooks Laich (2 pts) aren't really doing much.
Tough situation for Carey Price to come into last night and while he looked ok through two periods the Caps poured it on with 18 shots in the 3rd and beat him for two quick goals. Who knows if he returns for game #5, as we said before, we don't think it really matters.
Again Tuukka Rask outdueled Ryan Miller and led the Bruins to a double OT victory by stopping 35 of 37 shots he faced. We've tried to say this in so many ways lately, but Rask is in such a zone right now, going back to the end of the regular season he's 7-2-1 with a 1.45 gaa & .949 sv% over his last 11 games... lights out!
Another goal for Mike Samuelsson last night and he has at least one in each game of the series so far and 5+1=6 in total.
Reports have the Leafs very close to signing big Finnish goalie Jussi Rynnas... he put up a .929 sv% in the top Finnish league this year but given that this was his first year in the top flight, his age (22) and the fact that his history hasn't been that stellar, we're skeptical. He's destined to spend at least a season in the minors, so we can all wait and see how he does down there before we judge too harshly.
At the U-18s in Belarus... Canada beat Latvia yesterday and will avoid relegation, Jordan Weal led the way with 2+1=3. Sweden held off Russia to move on to the finals where they will meet the USA who advanced due a third straight shutout by Jack Campbell who improved his numbers in the tournament to a 0.80 gaa & .963 sv% through five games.
Two bad breaks for the Flyers, just what they didn't need as they're on a roll right now... Simon Gagne (broken toe) and Jeff Carter (broken foot) will both have surgery on Friday and are out for a while... Gagne is expected to miss three weeks whereas Carter is out indefinitely.
Thomas Vanek is getting closer to returning and was a game-time decision last night but the decision was 'No' and so he'll look to return for game #5 with the Sabres on the brink.
What's distracting us today? Some more gold from our friends at Bloge Salming. We have a strong feeling that their videos wouldn't be as hilarious as they are without the comedy fodder that is Brian Burke. Man the Leafs might suck but he sure makes failing miserably more fun doesn't he?
PS - we'll now be referring to Burke as Burks McGurks from now on after watching Bloge's latest video: