Ramblings: Shattenkirk making things worse (so far); Jack Johnson is a playoff stud; Draisaitl Suspension? More (Apr. 19)
Hypothesis: The Capitals would be in no danger of losing this series had they not acquired Kevin Shattenkirk.
The Reasoning: The Caps were a regulation goal away from winning the two games they lost. Shattenkirk missed the net approximately 347 times (plus or minus five shots, I’ll leave room for error). If he wasn’t on the roster, then it would be John Carlson getting those particular minutes. And frankly, I feel Carlson is one of the best offensive defensemen in the league and a clutch player. Would Carlson have scored? In fact – the one PP shot that missed the net he had the entire net open to shoot at on Monday. Is this a case of a team that was already perfect, and adding another star actually made things worse? We’ll know by next week, if the Caps get eliminated.
Mitch Marner is the smartest ‘pure hockey sense’ player on the Leafs and at this point I’m absolutely convinced that comparisons to Patrick Kane are apt. Auston Matthews isn’t quite a Toews, because he has more offensive upside yet lacks some of the intangibles – but the dynamic that these two bring to the team is very similar to what Chicago had eight or nine years ago. The production that Kane has posted every season since entering the league – Marner can match it.
Henrik Lundqvist is posting a .944 SV% in the playoffs after four games. Props to him, as many (myself included) felt that his skills were eroding. And maybe they are, but obviously when it’s crunch time he’s managed to get a reprieve on that erosion. I’m still leery about my expectations of him for next season. The only thing that would change my mind about that is if he carried the Rangers on his back into the Final. Then again…Lundqvist did have a bit of help:
Kevin Hayes has just seven points in his last 29 games. With college players I find this happens a lot – they fade down the stretch in their first three or four seasons before they finally adapt to an 82-game season. Here he scored last night, but the goal was called back:
It was hard for me to cheer for Columbus last night because I have so many Pittsburgh players in a couple of pools, but the reality is that I (and others like me who have Penguins) need my Pens players to get a couple of extra games in the first round. So a 5-4 loss was ideal.
Jack Johnson scored last night and has two points in four games. That in itself is unremarkable, but going into these playoffs he had played 18 postseason games and tallied 19 points! So his career playoff totals are 21 points in 22 games! This is a guy who barely got 21 points in the just-completed 82-game season.
Exhibit A as to why Sam Gagner is destined to remain pretty much a PP specialist: he is the only Blue Jackets player to have a minus-4 in this series, despite being limited to 12 minutes per game.
Evgeni Malkin continues his playoff wizardry. His eight points leads the NHL. What’s more, both he and Sidney Crosby have played 128 playoff games in their career. Each of them has missed, at different times, the exact same amount of games. Malkin has 137 points to Crosby’s 142.
I noticed in the game that the Blue Jackets were dishing out extra hits and there seemed to be a focus on Jake Guentzel. I’m guessing that Crosby is too sturdy and is a proven warrior, so hitting him would take all day before making any difference. And Sheary may be too small and elusive. So that leaves Guentzel, who lacks strength and bulk. Hit him hard and hit him often, and you could take him off his game, which would hamper the “Sid and the Kids” line. Guentzel still scored (with 28 seconds left, short-handed), his league-leading fifth of the postseason.
The Sharks really came to play, as I’m sure you know, and they chased Cam Talbot by the middle of the second period when they took a 5-0 lead. And so Laurent Brossoit got his first taste of NHL playoff action.
Leon Draisaitl was kicked out of the game for spearing. Not unlike the Marchand spear in Game 80. If that got Marchand two games, and the NHL treats playoffs as a two-for-one…does Draisaitl get a one-game suspension? Then again, Marchand has a track record, so perhaps Draisaitl gets nothing. Here is the spear on Chris Tierney:
The Sharks stars had been stymied all series long and they exploded big time. Just one game and all of their stats are aligned where they should be. Burns, Pavelski, Marleau, Couture each with two or three points by the time it was 6-0. It was enough to make me turn in early – I can’t keep watching such a game! So these Ramblings are a short morning read for you. The Oilers were just lifeless, the game was going nowhere. Zzzzzzz…
Even though your team is in the postseason, the business of running that team must continue! The Anaheim Ducks signed undrafted free agent Giovanni Fiore to a three-year ELC. Fiore just dominated the QMJHL as an over-ager, tallying 90 points in 61 games for Cape Breton. I wouldn’t even consider him in deep fantasy leagues for at least two years – we’d need to see how well he adapts to the AHL first.
Rockford was eliminated from AHL playoff contention so Chicago recalled Tyler Motte, Kyle Baun and Erik Gustafsson as black aces. Motte started the season looking very promising, proving reliable defensively. But his offense fell way short of expectations and he was eventually sent down midseason. He disappointed in a big way in AHL action, managing just 16 points in 43 games and an ugly minus-19. I was pretty bullish on him last September, but now he’s fallen completely out of my favor.
The Kings signed undrafted free agent center Alex Iafallo to a two-year deal. He was a modest offensive producer with Minnesota-Duluth before exploding as a senior with 51 points in 42 games. That tied him for 12th in the nation and makes him a little intriguing in deeper fantasy formats.
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