Saturday, April 22, 2006

Saturday roundup

Sabres 3, Flyers 2 (2OT)
This game sure started as a snorer, with Philadelphia barely even in it. Buffalo held a 29-8 advantage in shots at one point, but the Flyers stormed back.

Flyers rookie R.J. Umberger was crushed in the first overtime by Brian Campbell, and looks to be out with a significant concussion — perhaps for a while. Eric McErlain provides the video evidence here.

Flyers netminder Robert Esche played as well as humanly possible, stopping 55 shots, but his team was all over the place and lucky to even extend the game to overtime. Ultimately the game ended on a Daniel Briere one-timer that Esche had no chance to stop.

This series is going to be one to watch.

Canadiens 6, Hurricanes 1
Didn't catch enough of this one to really comment, but Martin Gerber is definitely going to have to be a whole lot better, as he had only 15 saves on 21 shots.

Carolina's only other option in goal is rookie Cam Ward, who was a standout in junior for the Red Deer Rebels but struggled in his second pro season as Gerber's backup.

Devils 6, Rangers 1
It's key to remember that these are seven-game series and not to read too much into the first game.

That said, this afternoon's Rangers-Devils game may just be lopsided enough to forecast the rest of the series.

While the Rangers look like a team that's missed the playoffs the last seven years in a row, New Jersey are playing like Stanley Cup contenders — mainly due to a power play that went 6 for 14 today. I had Patrik Elias at the very top of my list of predicted playoff scorers, and after a six point night, he's there already.

Things are really unravelling for New York, and Jaromir Jagr is currently in the dressing room with some sort of arm injury. Yes, the Rangers have had a terrific comeback season, but mettle is something that hasn't been associated with this franchise since Mark Messier left the first time in 1997.

Of course, like I said, it's one game and there's no way New York takes this many penalties in Game 2. Fingers better be crossed that Jagr returns.

Colorado 5, Dallas 2
Defying the 'experts', who almost unanimously predicted a romp for Dallas in this series, the Avalanche dominated this game after rallying from a 2-0 deficit. The story here was the goaltending, although instead of Jose Theodore falling apart, it was Marty Turco, who has his own history of poor play in the postseason.

Polish-born Wojtek Wolski, who tore up major-junior scoresheets all year with Brampton of the Ontario Hockey League, also made a splash with three points in his first-ever playoff game.

The Stars must win Game 2 now to make this a series, as playing in the high-altitude climate of the Pepsi Center in Denver is always an advantage for the Avalanche.


At 7:05 p.m., April 22, 2006, Anonymous cy said...

somebody should phone Elias -- where does Wojtek's debut rank in playoff history? that's got to be some kind of history there. fantastic.

At 7:19 p.m., April 22, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I don't know the answer to that one, but I do know Dino Ciccarelli had 14 goals and 21 points in the playoffs as a rookie — so Wolski's got a ways to go.

At 11:38 p.m., April 22, 2006, Blogger Jes Gőlbez said...

What did James Mirtle once say about Wolski?

If I was Lacroix, one player I'd be moving is youngster Wojtek Wolski, whose value is as high as it will ever be after a successful mini-stint in the NHL to star the season. The thing is, I don't think he'll ever be a consistent offensive threat at that level, and with his defensive game as woeful as it is, well, he won't have a lot of value once teams see how good he actually is. That Wolski was left of Team Canada's selection camp for the World Juniors speaks to just how valuable hockey minds think he is.

At 11:56 p.m., April 22, 2006, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

* removes every contradictory statement he's made on his blog for fear Golbez will expose him*

At 12:06 a.m., April 23, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Disagreeing with me, or just being helpful Golbez?

I saw Wolski play in Brampton back in 2003 and wasn't overly impressed. He's not fast, doesn't use his size and seemed clueless in the defensive zone. Like I said, this was a few years ago.

Today's game wasn't enough to convince me he's going to be a star.


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