Wednesday, April 30, 2014

... And The Flyers & Rangers Make Three

Three Game Sevens, that is.

The Philadelphia Flyers emphatically beat up on the New York Rangers in Game Six at the Wells Fargo Center, 5-2, to force a Game Seven, which goes with the other two Western Conference dates on Wednesday night.

The Rangers and Flyers have been back-and-forth in this series, with the Rangers winning one game and then the Flyers coming back and tying up the series.  By virtue of the pattern, the Flyers could be in tough, plus, heading to Madison Square Gardens to finish up the series, but riding the emotional high of a big win to force Game Seven and playing the next night, might play in Philly's favour.

The Flyers got off to a rocky start in Game Six, giving their keeper, Steve Mason, all that he could handle from all of their turnovers to start the game, but Mason stood tall, keeping the Rangers at bay.  The Flyers power play broke the game open, as Wayne Simmonds started a big night early on.  In the 2nd period, Simmonds completed the hat trick and Erik Gustafsson scored for a 4-0 lead after two and then it was fairly smooth sailing from there on in, as the Rangers could only muster a couple of garbage goals to Claude Giroux's empty-netter and that was that.

Both Simmonds and Giroux each finished with 3 points a piece, while Mason made 34 saves for his 2 points and those were all of your notable players in this game.  Gustafsson ended up with the winning goal, which meant that the bonus point fell into limbo.

Like it was mentioned earlier, Game Seven will go tonight in New York and if the hockey pool selections have any say in the likely outcome, the selections were 71-54 for the Rangers.  This was by far the closest series in the Eastern Conference and likely the hardest to choose.  This series could make or break a lot of teams in the standings.

Just for argument's sake, the Colorado/Minnesota series has the Avalanche coming away, 83-12, while in the Los Angeles/San Jose series, it was nearly a draw, but the Kings narrowly have the edge, 87-83.  There were quite a few more spread out picks, pool teams taking some chances between teams in a series out West, since it was so hard to call.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Games Sixes Bring One Elimination and Two Sevens

Keeping Sidney Crosby from scoring a goal for all six games of the series was an accomplishment for the Columbus Blue Jackets, but only keeping Evgeni Malkin from lighting the lamp for five games was their demise in the series.

In the end, the Jackets did make their first round series against the highly-favoured Penguins into a very entertaining one and it wasn't like they weren't in it in most of those losses, making things interesting, right down to the final buzzer of Game Six.  The Jackets found themselves down four goals, going into the 3rd period and made the Pens sweat it out, as they managed to draw three of those goals back with under five minutes to go, putting the pressure on Marc-Andre Fleury and company.

The Penguins managed to hold that lead until the buzzer, but it was damn close.  The Penguins won, 4-3, taking the series, four games to two.

Malkin was the big hero in Game Six, scoring a hat-trick, including the winner for a 4-point night and finally making his mark in the scoring race.  Fleury had 2 points for the win and Matt Niskanen had a couple of assists for the Penguins to also make the list.  Defensemen Fedor Tyutin and Jack Johnson led the last gasp for the Jackets, each coming away with 2 points in their swan song of the playoffs.

There was a new injury concern for the Penguins coming out of Game Six, as forward Brandon Sutter left the game with an apparent ankle injury, not returning to the game in the process.  There was no early word on his injury, but with a few days in between the Jackets and the winner of the Rangers/Flyers series, Sutter may be able to get enough rest to be ready for Game One on the weekend.

There wasn't much question that the Penguins were going to be the favourite in this series and the pool was a good reflection of that assumption.  There were only 11 Columbus selections in the pool, with Jack Johnson taking nearly half of them, with five picks under his belt.

Even with the dropping the Jackets, there are still 11 perfect teams remaining in the hockey pool with three series left to be decided.  The highest ranked team with 24 picks is only in 5th at the moment, Brady J., while the lowest is a way down in 39th, Don C., but with less players to choose from, you'd think they would have the upper hand going into the second round.

18 teams, up from 14 from Sunday night, now have less than 21 players on their team, including the 2nd place team that belongs to Seward F..

Home-ice advantage has played a huge role in the series between the Avalanche and the Wild, who are now heading off to Game Seven.  Colorado had an opportunity to move onto the second round to go on and face the Blackhawks, but they couldn't overcome their road woes in St. Paul, as the Wild.

Minnesota was able to lean on their best player in Game Six, as Zach Parise paid off a lot of his contract value to survive, as he came away with 2 goals, including the winner and a pair of assists for a 5-point night, grabbing a share of the overall pool scoring lead with 11 points.  Parise's big game helped lead his Wild squad to a 5-2 win and earned another life in these playoffs.

Also having a notable game in Game Six were Jason Pominville, Mikko Koivu and Ryan Suter for the Wild, each coming away with 2 points each, while Ryan O'Reilly did the same for the Avalanche.

It may not directly affect any teams in the hockey pool, but Matt Duchene's return to the Colorado line-up certainly didn't hurt the Avalanche in their loss in Game Six, as their Box 1 forward came back with 1 assist in the game. No one took Duchene, likely because of his injury and the doubt that the Avalanche would make it very far, but if they continue on in this series, you have to know that he will play an instrumental role in their success.

The Los Angeles Kings are on the verge of joining some rarefied air in major North American sports playoff history, as they have now stormed back from being down three games to none to the San Jose Sharks, forcing Game Seven on Wednesday night with a 4-1 win on Monday night.  Of course, there isn't any great feat in sports these days without some sort of controversy and there was some in Game Six in Los Angeles.

With a tight game, deadlocked at one goal a piece, Justin Williams was able to poke a puck through San Jose's Alex Stalock, who was starting in place of Antti Niemi in Game Six, and that goal started a 3-goal push late in the 3rd to bury the Sharks.

Williams finished with a 4-point night in the pool, 2 goals, including the winner and an assist, which was complimented by Anze Kopitar's 3-point night, (1G, 2A).  Drew Doughty had a pair of assists and Jonathan Quick made 25 saves for the win to round out the notable players in this game.

The San Jose Sharks went into this game up by a game, but they knew it was going to be even more of a struggle without one of their top blueliners, as Marc-Edouard Vlasic was indeed sidelined with his upper-body injury.  Vlasic didn't skate in the lead-up to Game Six, which would put his status for Game Seven in doubt, which would leave a giant hole for the Sharks to fill, as they try to avoid being a footnote in another piece of history.  Vlasic was taken 11 times in Box 10.

Game-Winning Goals
New Playoffs Game Winner ButtonIn most of these posts, I have been able to outline who has scored winners the night or nights previous, but I can definitely go over the leaders in the column, as that hasn't been done in a while.

Malkin for the Penguins, Parise for the Wild and Williams for the Kings were all of our bonus point players and fortunately for the pool, they are all in there.

Don D. #2 and Sheldon M. lead the pool with nine bonus points each, but while Don's second team is in 1st place in the pool, Sheldon's team is a ways back in 25th.  Neither team is rocking 24 players, but neither are in terrible shape at this point.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Blues & Stars Done, Rangers Go Ahead

There has been no lack of intrigue in the Rangers/Flyers series, as there continues to be a lack of certainty on both sides.  The Rangers, however, were able to hang on to a 3-1 2nd period lead, making them feel a little bit more certain about what they have to do in Game Six, after a 4-2 win.

The Flyers were able to make things close, bringing the score back to 3-2 with only 89 seconds to go in the game, already with an empty-net, but the Rangers were able to seal it with an empty-netter, with only 15 ticks left on the clock.  Philadelphia wasn't great for most of the game, but in those last few minutes, they at least had some push to the finish.

Players of note for the blueshirts... well, there's only one.  Henrik Lundqvist made 24 saves for the win, getting the 2 points for his poolies.

The series will shift back to Philadelphia for Tuesday night, 5:30pm Mountain Time, where the Flyers will need to find a win at home to force Game Seven, which would likely go on Thursday night, if necessary.

After stealing a win away in St. Louis on Friday night, the Chicago Blackhawks were taking this series back home to their house, with the opportunity to close it out.

That's exactly what they did... with style.

A 1-1 game going into the 3rd period and you would have probably said, this game was going exactly the way this series has gone, tight right to the finish.  The Blackhawks made sure that wasn't going to be the case, as Jonathan Toews scored 44 seconds into the final frame and then the wheels came off for the St. Louis Blues, as they gave up three more goals in the 3rd period and with the blink of an eye, the Blues were knocked out of the playoffs.

For the Blackhawks, Duncan Keith led the way with a goal and 3 assists in the game, followed by Toews, Brent Seabrook (in his return from suspension) and Corey Crawford, each picking up 2 points for their poolies in the game.

It may have come as a little bit of a surprise, but it appears that Kris Versteeg was a healthy scratch for the deciding game of the series. Versteeg, taken seven times in the hockey pool, has only picked up 2 assists in the five games he was able to dress in, so it may have been a matter of a lack of offense and a need for a better two-way game from his replacement Joakim Nordstrom.  It will be interesting to see how Versteeg gets used further down the line in these playoffs.

With the St. Louis elimination, there were 44 picks dropped off of the pool.  Kevin Shattenkirk was the most popular Blues player in the pool, taken 10 times throughout the pool.  The number of teams that still have 24 players left on their squad dropped down from 24 to 14 after the Blues have been stroked off the list and the number of teams that have dropped below 21 players has increased from four to nine.

I had all my preparations done with the Dallas Stars up 3-1 after one on the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night.  I didn't think much of the Ducks' game through the 2nd period, but shame on me for getting a picture of Trevor Daley ready for this post, as the Ducks came back from a 4-2 deficit in the 3rd period.

The Stars held that 2-goal lead deep into the 3rd period, when the Ducks pulled their goalie with a few minutes to play.  Nick Bonino scored right away, with over two minutes to play in regulation and then they kept pouring on the pressure, scoring to tie up the game with 24 ticks left on the clock.

The comeback was made complete by the overtime winner, less than three minutes into the extra frame, as Bonino capitalized on an open opportunity, sending the Ducks through to the next round and breaking the Stars' hearts, which were yearning for a Game Seven.

Bonino was the star of the game for the hockey pool, scoring the pair of goals, including the winner for 3 points.  Jonas Hiller came into the game in relief of Fredrik Andersen, who was pulled after the 4-2 goal, and got the win for 2 points in the standings.  Teemu Selanne and Corey Perry each had 2 points to compliment the sheet as well.

A couple of roster notes for the Ducks, in regards to the hockey pool, as Mathieu Perreault was held out of the line-up due to injury, while Hampus Lindholm was a healthy scratch in the game.  Both players received reasonable followings in the selection numbers this year, but neither played a part in the series decider.  They will likely have a few nights to figure out how they'll line-up for the Kings or the Sharks, as they finish their series this week.

As for the newly-eliminated Stars, 21 picks were stricken from the record, including Tyler Seguin and Trevor Daley, who each had 4 picks each to lead the team.  Needless to say, they were not favoured in this pool.

11 teams in the pool are still perfect with 24 players remaining on their squads, with still a few series left to be decided.  Shane H. is now at the bottom of the ranks, in terms of remaining players, as he is the only one that sits at 15 players left, while Scott G.'s #1 team has 18 left.  14 teams have less than 21 players in total, so this round has already taken its toll on the pool.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Friday & Saturday... Where'd Detroit Go?

As Philadelphia and New York face off for Game Five on Sunday morning, it might be a good time to start reviewing Game Four.

With the Rangers taking Game Three in Philadelphia, the momentum was tough for the visitors to keep, as Steve Mason started his first game in the series, making 37 saves in a 2-1 victory for the Flyers, tying up the series at two.

Mason, who wasn't taken at all in the playoff pool, thanks to the uncertainty surrounding his injury, was only one of two players in the game to finish with 2 points, as Jakub Voracek, taken three times, had the game-winner.

The Rangers and Flyers face-off in the early game on Sunday in the pivotal Game Five at Madison Square Gardens, which should turn out to be a pretty good game.

There is a strange fascination with the extra period in the series between Chicago and St. Louis, which was no different in Game Five.

With two wins at home for each team, there was either going to be momentum for either side, as the Blue hadn't lost at home, but the Blackhawks just won the last two games... and it was the Blackhawks who kept their momentum rolling, as Jonathan Toews was in the right place at the right time to pick up a Duncan Keith clearing attempt and break in alone on Ryan Miller to win it in the first overtime period on Friday night.

It was a 3-2 final for the Blackhawks, but the points were spread out well again in this one, as the only players with multiple-point games in the pool were Toews and Corey Crawford, who made 27 saves for the win.  Of course, both players were pretty popular in the pool, taken 15 and 14 times, respectively.

The biggest news leading up to the game on Friday night was the return of the Blues' captain, David Backes, who was knocked out of Game Two by Brent Seabrook, who was serving the last game of his 3-game suspension on Friday.  Backes returned from an upper-body injury, five nights after the injury occurred, which suggests that Backes didn't have a concussion, but I definitely have my suspicions.  That's another matter for another time.

Game Six sees the St. Louis Blues behind the 8-ball on Sunday, as the series goes back to the Madhouse on Madison, where the Blackhawks can close out the series at home.

Unlike their fellow Western Conference series above this one, the Anaheim Ducks were able to make some progress with home ice after dropping their last two away from home in Dallas. Progress may have been a bit of an understatement for the Ducks, as they returned to their scoring ways from earlier in the series, as they stomped the Stars, 6-2, for a 3-2 series lead.

The Ducks welcomed back their captain as well in this game, which worked out for the good, as Ryan Getzlaf returned with a 3-point effort, 1 goal and 2 assists, in the win.  Linemate Corey Perry had the same scoring line in this one, which brought the Ducks to likely where the felt they should have been in Dallas.  Mathieu Perreault also had 3 points, as he scored the winner and had the helper, but that's where the notable players in the pool ended for Anaheim.

Also returning to the Ducks line-up on Friday night, to less of an impact, was Teemu Selanne, who was a healthy scratch in Game Four. Selanne, taken twice in the pool, was held pointless again in the series, as he has been held to only 1 assist in four games played in this series.

The first elimination game in this series will go on Sunday night, as the Dallas Stars will have the backdrop of the American Airlines Arena to try and send this series to a Game Seven.

The Red Wings are out! photo redwingsbooted.gifLook what I found! An old playoff animation from the 2011 season, which rings true in this post.

Yes, the Red Wings were going into Game Five behind the 8-ball in their series against the Bruins and they held none of the momentum, as Boston had won the last three games in the series, which may not have been the most decisive on the scoresheet, but it was decisive in the way the Bruins kept control of those games.

On Saturday afternoon, it was a 4-2 final, that played out like a 3-2 close game, where the Bruins took a 1st period lead and had a time trying to protect the lead, then taking it back when they lost their grip on it in the 2nd, but an early 3rd period goal put them up by two and that was enough to help runaway with it.

Tuukka Rask made 31 saves for the win and his 2 points, while Milan Lucic owned the show with the winner and an assist for a 3-point effort.  Defenseman Torey Krug also chimed in with a pair of assists to become notable.  In the last hoorah for the Red Wings, Pavel Datsyuk came up with a goal and an assist, but that would be all that he'd provide for his poolies in this round.

The Red Wings were not favoured in this series, according to the pool picks, as they were out chosen on the sheeet, 138-22, which means there were very few picks taken out of the standings.  With only two teams eliminated from the pool, as of Saturday afternoon, four pool teams have less than 21 players, meaning they have suffered losses from both teams that were eliminated.  On the flip side, 24 of the 47 teams in the pool, still have all 24 selections.

The Bruins will take on the Montreal Canadiens in the second round of the playoffs, where I hope to have somewhat of a round preview post with all the pertinent numbers.

There was a swing game in Pittsburgh on Saturday evening, as the Blue Jackets, who were trying to carry some momentum from an overtime victory on Thursday night, head into the Consol Energy Center for Game Five against the Penguins.

The Jackets momentum carried them to a lead in the 1st period, as a goal from non-pool player, Boone Jenner, got them on the board and had the Penguins on the ropes early.  But on the shoulders of a 23-save performance from Marc-Andre Fleury, the home team was able to chip away at that small lead, tying it up before the middle frame was done and then they put their stamp on the game with a Jussi Jokinen eventual winner in the 3rd period, followed by an empty-netter for a 3-1 win and a 3-2 series lead.

Besides Fleury and Jokinen with their 2 points in the game, Chris Kunitz also had a goal and an assist in the momentum shifting game, helping out his 18 pool teams that selected him.

An undisclosed injury forced the most popular player in Box 23 out of the Pittsburgh line-up, as defenseman Brooks Orpik was unable to go for the home team on Saturday night. Orpik left practice on Friday early with the injury and was deemed unfit for play, leaving his 2 points in four games on the shelf for his 14 teams that picked him.  His status for Game Six is unclear at the moment.

Speaking of Game Six, the 8-ball game for the Blue Jackets, will go on as the early game on Monday evening.  The first chance for the Penguins to move on to the second round of the playoffs.

Two wins for the Avalanche at home, followed by a couple of Wild wins in Minnesota... somewhat of the storyline in these Western Conference series. The other two with this same scenario split their decisions, but it was the home team again in this series taking Game Five, as the Avalanche won on their return to friendly confines, taking a 3-2 overtime victory over their first round rivals.

No scoring in the 1st, a 2-1 win in the 2nd period for the Avalanche, followed by a 2-1 win in the 3rd period for the Wild led this game into overtime (again), where it was the young phenom, Nathan MacKinnon, who salted it away for the home team.

This series has been a tough split, especially when the Wild turned to Darcy Kuemper in their net, and Game Five was no different, as both teams have been going back and forth on each other.

Game Five's scoring heroes... MacKinnon had 4 points, the winner, plus 2 assists and Semyon Varlamov, who made 29 saves for the win.  That's it.  In a 4-3 overtime game, you'd think there'd be more.

Colorado's first chance to eliminate the Wild will go as the 7pm Mountain Time game on Monday night, as they travel back to St. Paul.

The San Jose Sharks had a second chance to eliminate the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night, as they couldn't get the sweep done on Thursday night. On Saturday, the Sharks were nowhere near ready to finish this series, as Jonathan Quick and his Los Angeles teammates put their best foot forward in this series, staying alive after a 3-0 win.

Quick turned away all 30 shots that he faced, while Antti Niemi didn't make it past the first minute of the 2nd period before getting pulled for Alex Stalock in the end, creating somewhat of a goaltending controversy for the team that is still up in this series.  Quick was the only Kings player on the hockey pool sheet to come away with more than one point, as he picked up points for the win and the shutout, much to the glee of 13 teams on the hockey pool sheet.

Troubling news for the Sharks, as their Box 10 defenseman, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, left Saturday night's game with an upper-body injury in the 1st period and didn't return. Vlasic was in a collision with Jarret Stoll of the Kings and was not able to continue in the contest and his status for Game Six is under a cloud of doubt. If Vlasic can't go, the Sharks will turn to Matt Irwin to help try and close out this first round series.

Game Six will be the late one on the West Coast on Monday night, the third kick at the can for San Jose to knock out their Pacific Division rivals.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Two More Nights on the Books, No More Eliminations

How about them Blue Jackets, eh?  Maybe more so would be the question, what happened to Marc-Andre Fleury?

No matter which way you decide to break it all down, the bottom line is that Columbus is heading back to the Steel City with the series tied at two and it is anyone's series, by the look of things.  The Jackets had the resolve to come back from a 3-0 deficit in Game Four to win in overtime, 4-3.

Sergei Bobrovsky, Nick Foligno, Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Johansen and James Wisniewski all lit up the board with 2 points each, as notable players in the hockey pool.  On the Pittsburgh side, defenseman Paul Martin had a couple of assists to make the notable list.

Game Five in the series will go on Saturday evening.

Box 21 defenseman Fedor Tyutin was held out of Game Four, due to an undisclosed injury. Tyutin has been skating in the week, so there is a chance that he'll return before the end of the series, especially if it is to go to seven games. Tyutin has been taken once in the pool this year, so someone is waiting anxiously for him to come back.

Home-ice advantage has been the story in the series between the Ducks and Stars, as each team has now won each of their two games in their home building, as the Stars won 4-2 on Wednesday night to even up the series.

The Ducks got off to a 2-0 lead, but an early 2nd period goal from Jamie Benn turned the tide for the home team, having tied up the game before too long in the middle frame.  A couple quick goals in the 3rd period brought some shock & awe to the visitors and that's how it all evened up.

And if you were looking for some emotion in these playoffs, there was plenty of brouhahas at the end of the game, which should make Game Five, the late game on Friday, all the more interesting.

Unfortunately, the result didn't translate too well in the pool, as only Kari Lehtonen and Cody Eakin picked up 2 points each as notables for the Stars and there was nothing notable from Anaheim.

A couple of major line-up notes from the Ducks, which may have answered more questions about the loss, as both Ryan Getzlaf and Teemu Selanne were not in the Anaheim line-up, opening up a few holes in the forward ranks.  Getzlaf was down with an upper-body injury, which still has him listed as questionable for Game Five, while Selanne was a healthy scratch for Game Four and is expected back for Game Five.

Nothing about this series between St. Louis and Chicago has screamed the word 'safe' at any point in the first four games. Bodies have been flying, leads have been dropped and feelings have been hurt.

It was another wild ride on Wednesday night, as the Blues and Blackhawks went toe-to-toe in Chicago, where each team dropped a lead in regulation and Chicago's was a 2-goal lead in the 2nd period.  So, it was another game that went to extra time, but halfway through the first period of overtime, it was Patrick Kane doing the job again, coming up clutch, tying up the series at two.

With the game-winner, that gave Kane a 4-point night in the hockey pool, which should have pleased many teams, 18 of them, in fact.  Jonathan Toews and Corey Crawford rounded out the notable Blackhawks players in the game, while Vladimir Tarasenko scored a pair of goals in the loss.

Game Five goes on Friday night in St. Louis and we should all be prepared for another doozy.

On Thursday night, the Detroit Red Wings were going to have to make good work of their second home game, because the visiting Bruins made a mess of the first game at Joe Louis Arena.  The Red Wings did not want to be in the position of being down two games in the series, heading back to Boston.

But they are.

The Red Wings got off to a good start in the game, being up 2-0 before the 5-minute mark of the 2nd period, but those pesky Bruins chipped away.  Before Thursday night, this series was going the way of the team that scored first was winning the games, but not there... not that night.  The Bruins tied the game up early in the 3rd period, where the game grew tighter and into overtime, where Jarome Iginla scored his first playoff goal as a Bruin, winning the game and immediately putting the Wings behind the 8-ball.

Iginla, Dougie Hamilton and Tuukka Rask all came away with 2 points for the pool on the Boston side, while for Detroit, both Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall had a goal and an assist in the loss.

Detroit's first chance to avoid elimination will go on Saturday afternoon, 1pm Mountain Time.

Three out of the four Western Conference match-ups, through Game Four, including the Colorado/Minnesota series here, will go to Game Five in 2-2 series ties.  The home teams have been a story for these playoffs and the Wild were not ready to buck that trend at home on Thursday night, coming away with a 2-1 regulation win.

Game Four in Minnesota wasn't like a lot of the other games in these playoffs, instead it was tight-checking playoff hockey game, which we've grown accustomed to in recent years.  An early goal in the 1st period put Minny up, followed by a 2nd period brace, which was responded to in 30 seconds by the Avs, but that's all the scoring we'd see.  There's no question that tighter checking benefits the Wild, so it will be interesting to see what kind of game we get in Denver this weekend.

Two goals for the Wild and no notable players for the Wild, as the winner was sniped by a non-pool player and the goalie isn't on the sheet, so it's a wash.  The Avalanche only scored one goal, so there was no way we'd have a notable player there either.

There was one note worth mentioning, which I didn't do in its own post before the game, as Game Four was the first game that Matt Cooke served in his 7-game suspension, which was handed to him the night before for his knee-on-knee collision with Tyson Barrie.  Cooke occupies the Box 7 position for the Wild and was taken twice in this pool, likely as a depth player, possibly making it to the second round of the playoffs.  If the Wild make the second round, Cooke will likely have to sit through most of that round as well.

We had our second elimination game of these playoffs on Thursday night, as the Sharks were looking to finish the job against the Kings, but the hosts from Los Angeles had other ideas.

It was a rough & tumble affair in the Pacific Division 2-3 series, as the two teams finished with 74 PIM combined in total, including some last-minute fighting majors and all kinds of roughing calls.  The Kings were up to the task on the scoresheet as well, as they walked away with a 6-3 win, which played well in the high-scoring nature of this series.  Between the high scores and the emotions running even higher, it should make for an excellent Game Five.

Marian Gaborik and Justin Williams each had a pair of goals for the Kings, while Dustin Brown went 1-and-1 and Jonathan Quick made 36 saves for his 2 points, outlining the notable players on the pool sheet for Los Angeles.  Patrick Marleau was the only notable player for the Sharks on Thursday night, registering 2 assists.

Game Five will be the late one on Saturday night, with an 8pm Mountain Time puck drop.

New Playoffs Game Winner ButtonOn Wednesday night, the game-winners came from Nick Foligno of the Blue Jackets, Cody Eakin of the Stars and Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks, giving the pool all three bonus points on the evening.

Boston's Jarome Iginla was the only pool player to register a game-winner on Thursday night, as Charlie Coyle scored the winner for Minnesota and Tyler Toffoli was the hero for Los Angeles in the end.

Four teams now have 5 GWG's to their credit as of Friday morning, as Don D. #2, Rob A., Sheldon M. and Dorthea C. all lead the pool, in varying positions in the standings.