Bryz under siege... Howard solid... Stempniak blows it... anybody but Hitchy in NJ... Schwartz stock rising... Poti out tonight... the Little Ball of Hate gets the reek out
It was a stinker of a game #7 last night (as they often can be) as the Wings totally had their way with the Coyotes outshooting them 39-21 through two periods and 50-33 overall as they cruised to a 6-1 victory. Hard to blame Ilya Bryzgalov as he was keeping them in the game early on but then gave up two PP goals and two breakaway goals and it was 4-1 though two and that was ballgame. The Bryz was under siege in the series facing an average of 36.5 shots per 60 minutes and his numbers suffered (3.43 & .906).
At the other end of the ice, the rookie, Jimmy Howard, was solid stopping 32 of 33 shots and had himself a fine series with a 2.59 gaa & .919 sv%.
Pavel Datsyuk got the ball rolling with the first two goals of the game less than two minutes apart in the 2nd period... this gives Datsyuk 5+3=8 in the series and that's a lot better than the 1+8=9 he managed over 16 games in last year's playoffs.
The Coyotes had a prime opportunity to get themselves back in the game at the end of the 2nd period, down 3-1 on a PP and then our old friend Lee Stempniak fired a "pass" about a foot off the ice that got by Schneider and sent Stuart in on a breakaway to clinch the game. Stempy was 0+2=2 with a minus-4 in the series. Also of note for the yotes was Ed Jovanovski who was a 1+0=1 & a team worst minus-7 in the series.
There's speculation that Ken Hitchcock could be a candidate for the Devils head coaching job, so we may have to take back what we said yesterday about Jacques Lemaire's retirement being a positive move for fantasy GMs... if Hitchy is brought aboard then it will be even worse as he'll have them trapping and he also doesn't like to play the young guys.
A note from the AHL, Sharks goalie prospect Alex Stalock is continuing his fine form into the playoffs as he's 5-1 with a 2.07 gaa & .928 sv% so far in the playoffs after an impressive rookie pro campaign with 39 wins, 2.63 & .908... expect the Sharks to be patient with him but he's looking like a good one.
We put out our latest Consolidated NHL Draft Rankings yesterday, some interesting notes.... Portland Cman Ryan Johansen made the biggest jump after a strong showing in WHL playoffs as he has moved up from #27 in January to #14 this month. People seem to be slowly catching on that for Jaden Schwartz to lead the USHL in scoring (33+50=83 in 60 games) as a 17-year old rookie in that league is pretty impressive and he's slowly climbing, up from #29 in February to #23 this month. Kirill Kabanov took a big plunge as he dropped from #8 last month to #18... sure there are attitude problems here but someone is going to get a very talented player later on in the 1st round and we don't think you should drop him too far down your list for your prospect draft.
Tom Poti suffered a broken orbital bone in game #6 and that will keep him out of game #7 and probably longer, should the Caps advance.
Marc Savard has been cleared to play and should be ready to go for game #1 of the 2nd round against either Pittsburgh or Philly.
What's distracting us today? We're not sure why but one of our favourite blogs Bangin Panger have been a little more off-the-wall with their posts than normal. By the way, that's a good thing in our eyes.
They posted this video featuring the Pat Verbeek and apparently the Little Ball of Hate really hates stinky equipment because he's promoting something called Beek's Reek Out.
Check out his commercial below. If you're thinking "I'm not going to watch a 6 minute commercial about Reek Out"... well don't worry. The last five minutes is nothing but team logos flashed on the screen... we guess they are Reek Out customers?