Originally posted on The Hockey Program  |  Last updated 5/2/12

 

 

So Marian Gaborik ended one very long game between the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals.  That is the beauty of overtime in the playoffs because one second it looks likt it will never and the next, the game ends.  Gaborik was pretty much even a bit of a fantasy playoff goat with only one goal after nine games.  All seems forgiven as all it took was one shot for Ranger fans to be happy and rightfully so. 

Also, give Henrik Lundqvist credit for making 45 saves in this game and Braden Holtby with 47 saves in the losing effort.  It was quite the game that had what felt like more iron hit than during the construction of most skyscrapers.  Either way, it was at the very least entertaining.  Yet these efforts did not yield the Fantasy POTN.  Surely, we took some heat from this during our original announcement but when you look at playoff pool scoring systems, it was close err very close.

Now if our best player was not from the Ranger game then it had to be from the Predators game.  It certainly was not Mike Smith who gave up two goals in just over a minute (and made one glaring gaffe).  Therefore there is only really one candidate left.  Here is our Fantasy POTN.

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Fantasy POTN:

Pekka Rinne, G, Nashville Predators

Yes it was one of the slimmest margins in the fantasy hockey playoff pools but Rinne did edge out Lundqvist tonight so Pekka Rinne and that 32 save shutout was worth all the fantasy accolades last night.  It was the Nashville goalie who had to bounce back after two very subpar performances in Phoenix.  The game was going to come down to his ability to stop the puck and little else.  Rinne simply was going to let nothing get past him.  Sure enough, he was right as he stopped Phoenix advance after advance.  The Predators were not going to go down without a fight and now Mike Smith knows he is going to have to up his game now to match Rinne's.  The gauntlet has been re-raised so to speak in this series.

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SCHEDULE TIME:

Thursday, May 3, 2012 TeamsNotes Philadelphia at New Jersey 7:30 PM St. Louis at Los Angeles 10:00 PM

Here are the two games for Thursday in the NHL Playoffs.  Hopefully they come close to the early game last night which went just past the midnight hour (it ended 12:15am).  Either way, we had our first triple OT game of the playoffs and these two series could get ugly fast.  The Blues and Kings were already on their way and the end of the Devils-Flyers game showed some considerable snarl.  There were several turning points in each game.  Devils had Adam Larsson score his first.  That high shot set the wheels in motion as David Clarkson, Travis Zajac, and Bryce Salvador all scored in the third period.  The Kings rode a four goal outburst in the first (not third) to a 5-2 win over St. Louis.

Quickly here is what to keep an eye on......

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KEEP AN EYE ON:

Martin Brodeur, G, New Jersey Devils

This seems like a goaltender's night one way or the other so we take a look at the three that are going to be scrutinized the most.  Brodeur was very shaky in Game 1 and Game 2 was not getting off to a much better start.  Thankfully the Devils started a shooting gallery on Ilya Bryzgalov and it finally paid off in the third as New Jersey won 4-1.  Yes Brodeur made 19 saves but only had to make a couple good ones.  Brodeur needs to come up with a vintage effort as the Flyers will not play as listless as they did in Game 2.  Again will the team that scores first lose?  That one is a stay tuned but surely Brodeur has room for improvement.

Brian Elliott, G, St. Louis Blues

The old St. Louis Blues are singing them after two straight losses at home.  Maybe LA will be a bit kinder to them.  Elliott was tagged for all five goals in the Game 2 5-2 loss but really there was little he could do as the Blues made unforced error after error.  Elliott has to hold the fort in Game 3 because otherwise St. Louis is going down 0-3 and that will be all she wrote.  The outstanding saves have to be made as well as the routine ones because there is little margin for error with a hurting Blues squad.  Will Alex Pietrangelo play?  That will be a big help but LA's relentless four line forecheck has caused the Blues fits.  It is time for Elliott to play like he did in Round 1.

Ilya Kovalchuk, W, New Jersey Devils

Will he or won't he play?  At this point if the injury is that bad, he may be better off just not playing.  It will be a later in the day decision but the Devils are going to eventually need him 100% not 50 or 60%.  Keep an eye on the situation as will we.  The best advice we can give is do not play him for Game 3 if you have that option.  Wait first!

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Well that is it for now, good luck and maybe we will have a few more tidbits on Twitter hopefully later.

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