Thursday, April 15, 2010
Some observations from the games or parts of games, which I watched last night:
Shane Doan was amazing for the Phoenix Coyotes last night – he really sent a message to his teammates that he’s there to compete. Who cares if he’s not scoring goals? Doan was hitting everything and anything that moved. The Coyotes went 3 for 4 on the PP, an area I said they needed to improve on here, and they converted on their chances by keeping their powerplay simple. They got bodies in front and shots from the point on 2 of the PPGs. Ilya Bryzgalov was amazing, as usual, stopping 38 of 40 shots faced. Great start for the Coyotes.
The Pittsburgh Penguins looked like they were going to run away with their first game of the post season, converting on their first powerplay opportunity early in the 1st period on a one-timer form Evgeni Malkin. However, the Ottawa Senators responded with the next 3 goals and really did a good job of setting the tone on the road. A lot of whistles and stoppages took the sold-out Mellon Arena crowd right out of the game which is very frustrating for a home team. The Senators also took advantage of Marc Andre Fluery’s struggle to control rebounds and track the puck. I don’t particularly feel Sens’ goaltender, Brian Elliot, played great – he was just untested. With the offensive power that the Penguins have in their lineup, they need to produce more than 25 shots on goal. Sidney Crosby only had 2 shots on net and Bill Guerin looked awful. I don’t know what reasoning Coach Dan Bylsma had for scratching Mike Rupp, but the Pens needed his energy and physicality in the lineup.
With all the pressure of success in the post-season surrounding the Sharks, an unlucky bounce of the skate of defenseman Rob Blake handed San Jose a loss on home ice against Colorado. I only watched about a period and a half of the game before having to catch the highlights late last night, but I was really impressed at how the Sharks started the game immediately firing every puck on net. Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson, looked very sharp from what I saw but who knows if he can sustain that type of play when fatigue sets in. From the highlights I watched, Devin Setoguchi looked to be the best player on the ice for San Jose, producing an assist and registering 6 shots on goal. The sentiment here in the Bay Area regarding the Sharks is….well, not good.
I only caught about the final 3 minutes of the New Jersey/Philadelphia game, but from the highlights it looked like Brian Boucher was outstanding for Philly. Boucher stopped 23 of 24 shots and despite the Flyers only putting 14 shots on net, they were able to slip 2 passed Martin Brodeur. Ilya Kovalchuk looked a little snake-bitten having trouble putting the puck in the net – if he gets going, the Flyers could be in trouble.
Get ready for some great action tonight with Washington/Montreal and Vancouver/LA.