Habs should think about keeping Halak... 1st round WC breakouts, breakdowns & John Druce award... FHS playoff pool standings... distracting reaction to huge upset
Jaroslav Halak shut down the vaunted Caps offence and limited them to only one goal in each of the last three games of the series. He stopped 41 of 42 last night and finished the series with an impressive 2.46 gaa & .939 sv%. It's hard to imagine that the Habs would trade this guy this summer after this performance.
At the other end of the ice, Semyon Varlamov actually had a better gaa for the series (2.41) but the sv% was inferior (.908) and he allowed two goals on only 16 shots last night and that was one too many when facing Halak.
The big story for the Caps was the lack of production from two big guns... Alex Semin went goalless for the series and it wasn't like he wasn't trying as he had 44 shots on the net and a few goal-posts in the series. The other big choke-job was by Mike Green as the league's highest scoring dman only managed three assists and one PPP in the series as the league's #1 PP during the regular season only managed one goal in 33 post-season attempts.
With one round in the books, lets reflect on some of the Breakouts & Breakdowns of the 1st Round from the Western Conference... we'll look at Eastern tomorrow:
Breakouts (maybe they broke out during the regular season and kept it going or maybe they're showing that they'll be breakout candidates in next year's Breakout Bible):
Jack Johnson - JJ broke out in our eyes this year with 8+28=36 but he probably caught a lot more attention for his seven assists in the Vancouver series. We think he has more to give as he should be a regular on the #1 PP unit but wasn't for most of this past season and he has the potential to contribute in a lot of categories.
Joe Pavelski - JoePa was a breakout last year with his 59 point season but he's one of our favourites at FHS and his impressive 1st round performance with 5+3=8 in six games against the Avs, just confirms that we think this guy can make the next step up to the 70 point level in 2010/11.
Antti Niemi - was a breakout this year (although it wasn't official until the end of the year) and he may be surprising some people with his play in the post-season... he's looked clam and cool with a 2.15 gaa & .921 sv% so far.
Valtteri Filppula - this guy would have broke out this year if it wasn't for an injury (35 points in 55 games) so his 3+4=7 in seven playoff games makes him an easy breakout pick for next season.
Breakdowns (think we all expected a lot more from these dudes):Joe Thornton - we've all come to expect this now from Jumbo but with only three assists (in six games) in the first round he's actually below his own low standard of playoff failure... he's never been sub .77 points-per-game in the playoffs while with SJ.
Alex Burrows - we had been talking up Burr as having one of the best fantasy seasons this year (35+32=67, plus-34, 121 PIMs & 209 sog) but he was bumped from the Sedin's line in the playoffs and he really tanked with only an empty-net goal to show for the first round.
Ed Jovanovski - there were a few breakdowns on the Coyotes but the Jovocop stands out as he only had one point, was a minus player in six of the seven games and a team worst minus-7 in total.
Jonny Quick - maybe it was fatigue, injuries or nerves but he just didn't get it done down the stretch as he only won six of his last 23 games and posted a 3.50 gaa & .884 sv% in the playoffs.Steve Bernier - teammate Mike Samuelsson would be the obvious pick here as with seven goals in six games, he's scoring at a pace that is not sustainable but he was a 30 goal man this year so he's not likely to slip back into oblivion. Whereas Steve Bernier is a dude who has averaged 14 goals a year over the last four seasons and only had one goal in his last 24 regular season games, so for him to pot four goals in the first round... that fits the John Druce/Chris Kontos criteria that we're looking for nicely.
Check out the standings of the FHS Playoff Pool here... through one round, wouldn't you know it but a Habs blogger, Arpon from The Daily Hab-it, holds down 1st place with friend of the program, Iain Mackay, just one point back and battling it out for third is Bloge Salming & Checking from Behind... of course, everyone is vying for the coveted T-shirt from Pucking Hilarious who have added Kane Mullet & fat Wellwood tees, just in time for their big series.
The Canucks signed 2009 3rd round pick, dman Kevin Connauton, to an entry level deal. He was a guy who was passed over in the 2008 draft but then scooped up by the Canucks last year after one year at Western Michigan and then absolutely exploded this year with the Vancouver Giants of the WHL, finishing with 24+48=72 in 69 regular season games (lead all dmen) and added another 3+10=13 in 16 playoff games. He looks like a good one and he may fly under the radar of other fantasy GMs as he hasn't had the hype of a lot of other prospects... so make sure to give him a look.
The Leafs signed another free agent goalie yesterday, 23-year old Ben Scrivens out of Cornell where he's had a stellar four years finishing with 1.93 & .930 career numbers. He'll start next year in either the AHL or maybe even ECHL and is on a one-year deal so we can see how he does and re-group in a years time.
What's distracting us today? With only one game last night it's pretty obvious what's been distracting us. Especially when that game was a doozy. 41 saves from Halak, 41 blocked shots by the Habs, Ovechkin left speechless and excited Hab fans. What more could one want?
Head over to Greatest Hockey Legends (unless you're a Caps fan). They've got some crazy numbers from the series... like Hal Gill blocking 31 shots the last three games!
And you might also want to check out David Shoalts latest (unless you're a Caps fan) where he wonders if the Habs upset is the biggest of all-time. Best part is the little summaries of the other 'competitors' for the title... like for example, when the 8th seeded Sharks beat the #1 Wings and Arturs Irbe described his play with the awesome quote "played like wall".