Monday, May 01, 2006


Northerners Beat Southerns Again (and again...)

Yesterday saw the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars join the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning on the proverbial golf course. The casualties are falling fast and we're starting to see the 2nd round matchups come into focus. Can the Oilers pull up the major upset tonight?

Nashville/San Jose -

After scaring the Sharks with a Game 1 victory, Nashville just got rolled over by the SS Sharktank and we're swept out of the playoffs rather quickly.

Chris Mason was NOT the reason the Predators lost the series, and he played rather well in the face of overwhelming opposition. His stats are about just slightly under'average' in these playoffs (90.10SV%), which is pretty good for a career backup goaltender who was immediately thrust into a daunting position when Tomas Vokoun went down to injury.

Paul Kariya was not the reason, either, as he scored 2 goals and 5 assists in 5 games to cap up a very nice comeback season.

It was just a simple case of a smaller and less experienced club being outclassed by a bigger, stronger, well-coached club.

The Sharks have speed to burn and the Predators are just far too small of a team to succeed in playoff hockey. Size isn't everything, but when you average player is about 5'7", you are going to have a tough time in the NEW or OLD NHL.

Just think of how bad it could have been if Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo had more than the 4 points apiece they put up in the series. The MAN was Patrick Marleau, with 7 goals and 1 assist in the series. The Sharks have depth, kiddies.

Golbez's Goat of the Series: Steve Sullivan. After helping my boss defeat me in the office hockey pool, Sullivan tanked in the playoffs with just 2 assists and a -2 in 5 games. In 29 career playoff games, Sullivan has just 11 points and is -10 over that span.

Dallas/Colorado -

Unlike the NAS/SJ series, I really felt that the Dallas Stars played beneath their capabilities and weren't just simply outclassed. Are you telling me that this was the team that finished with the second best record in the West? The Stars didn't look nearly as polished and cohesive during this series as they were during the Regular season. Perhaps they just weren't as good as their shootout-enhanced record looks.

The Avalanche still deserve full credit, especially Joe Sakic and the offense, for ripping apart the tight checking of the Stars and capitalizing on their chances. The Avalanche also managed to make Jose Theodore's life easy for 4 out of the 5 games and kept the Stars from getting too many scoring chances. If not for Theodore's somewhat suspect goaltending in the first four games, this could have been a sweep.

While Joe Sakic is getting major props for his 'clutch' ability (3G, 4A), don't forget about Andrew Brunette who always seemed to be at the right place at the right time and also had 3 goals and 4 assists.

Golbez's Goat of the Series - Marty Turco. Who's 15th in the NHL with a 86.8% SV%? Who was quite terrible all year? Turco was horribly exposed in this series and let his team down with some abysmal goaltending.

As for Carolina, good on them for taking 3 in a row. The Habs had them down on the ropes but haven't been able to capitalize on that. Cam Ward is some kind of amazing and the Canadiens' already weak offense is obviously hurting by the absence of their #1 playmaker, Saku Koivu.

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