Lovin Logan... Leclaire good (in small doses)... Boucher betters Brodeur... Giroux steps up... Campbell returns... top 10 controversial goals
Two goals last night from one of our favourite prospects, Logan Couture, helped the Sharks to victory in game #5. Don't get down on this kid cause he's not putting up big NHL numbers right away, sure he could be down in the AHL right now lighting it up (he had 53 points in 42 games this year) but it's way more positive that the Sharks want him in their lineup for key playoff games.
Big performance from Pascal Leclaire as he stopped 56 of 59 shots to beat Pittsburgh in triple-OT... we wouldn't be too confident that he can keep this up for a prolonged stretch as his .887 sv% this year was only worsened by Vesa Toskala amongst goalies that played significant minutes.
Antti Niemi is alternating losses and shutouts in these playoffs... last night was the shutouts turn as he stopped all 33 shots and evened their series at two.
Rather amazingly, Brian Boucher shutout the Devils last night and dispatched them pretty quickly in five games. Boucher was very solid and only allowed eight goals in the entire series, stopping 94% of the shots he faced... not bad for the goalie who came into the playoffs with a lot of serious doubters (including this scout).
At the other end of the ice, Marty Brodeur heads home after another disappointing post-season... he hasn't won a series over the past three years with a 5-12 record and 2.80 & .906 numbers. Even going back six years since the Devils won the Cup in '03, he's 16-26 with a 2.57 gaa & .912 sv%... so not a lot of success lately for the 3-time Cup winner.
With Gagne & Carter out you knew someone on Philly would have to step up but we thought Claude Giroux had already stepped up with 2+1=3 through the first four games but he doubled those numbers last night as he was in on all the Flyers goals. He now has 12 points in his first 12 NHL playoff games and combine that with his 51 points in 19 playoff games in the Q in '08, and he seems to really enjoy Spring hockey.
It's US & Sweden in the U-18s final this morning... see if you can catch a live stream of it online, it your schedule permits.
Brian Campbell returned to the lineup last night a few weeks ahead of schedule but he's not 100% yet and it looks like the Hawks will ease him back in (he played 14 minutes last night).
Thomas Vanek has been downgraded to doubtful for tonight's game #5 as his progress has slowed down a little.
Some injury news to keep in mind for next season as Mikko Koivu will have surgery on both his knee and shoulder soon and the rehab for the shoulder will take about four months... which means he should be ready for training camp unless there are any complications.
What's distracting us today? We're even more confused about kicked in goals after CBC showed a few examples from the league DVD last night... and now is when we just give up trying to figure it out and let the league make things up as they go, which they always do. So for those of you that enjoy the controversies, we've got the Top 10 Playoff Controversial Goals / Non Goals...
Somehow Kerry Fraser did not make this list but we're sure he'd be #1 on the Top 10 Blown Calls that Determined the Outcome of a Series list (see DGB for everything to do with that).