Sunday, April 11, 2010
And There You Have It
Winning It In Style
Henrik Sedin runs away with the Art Ross in the final game of the regular season, finishing strong with four assists for 112 points total for the League lead. Three of them came on Daniel's hat trick, who took his goal total on the year to 29, which coincidentally, matches Henrik's total. Danny's third goal was the stuff legends are made of, through the legs and over Kipper's right pad. Dirty. Hank's first assist came on defenseman Kevin Bieksa's goal in the first, which was his first goal since the first game of the season. Bieksa added another in the third to make the final score 7-3 against the Flameouts, and looked dejected that Henrik didn't get credit for that one as well.
The 'Rocket' Richard was up for grabs between Ovechkin, Crosby, and Stamkos who had a remarkable sophomore season lined up with St. Louis and Downie, after a crappy rookie season to start off. Ovechkin potted 49 and 50 on Friday night against the Thrashers, while Stamkos duplicated the feat on Saturday, and then went on to add the shootout winner, (which of course doesn't count in goal totals). Crosby was held off the scoresheet on Saturday in a 1-0 barn-burner loss to the Thrashers, but added his 50th and 51st early in Sunday's game against the Islanders. Ovechkin's Sunday matinee didn't help him add any markers, while Stamkos was held off the scoresheet for much of the Bolts game against the Panthers, until he added an empty netter in the closing seconds to finish at 51. Crosby supposedly "got word" on the bench, and was desperately trying to complete the hat trick, and win the Richard outright. That wouldn't be the case, and Crosby and Stamkos now have to share and kiss each other in their photo with the trophy.
Winner By Default
The eighth seed was like a U.S. Presidential election in the sense that whoever sucked less would win. Philadelphia didn't show any signs of life until Laperierre tangoed with Voros to get his team and the building into it. But even that didn't last long as the Rangers held a 1-0 lead for much of the game until Matt Carle backhanded home a juicy rebound on a power play in the third to tie it up. Poor Lunqvist didn't stand a chance, he deserves better. But of course this misery had to go to a shootout to really test the nerves of the tri-state area and Eastern Pennsyltucky. Briere showed off some dazzling stickhandling for a goal, while Christensen bricked on a shot wide in the first round. Richards looked like a goof on his attempt, maybe the biggest of his captaincy, while Parenteau mishandled and still beat Boucher. And to cap it off, Giroux completely fooled Henrik going five-hole, while Jokinen whiffed notoriously. Jokinen missing was some retribution to Flames fans, but not enough.
And They're in the Gates...
Aside from the torturous affair that was the bottom half of the Eastern Conference seedings, that allowed the Flyers to slip into seventh, the West was waiting on two games to determine all the dance partners. The Kings needed overtime to take down the Avs, who were already seeded in eighth, which gave Los Angeles 101 points and the fifth seed before the Wings vs. Hawks game was finalized. Before that game was determined, Nashville and Detroit were knotted at 100 points, with the tie breaker going to the Preds with 47 wins. But the Wings took it in OT and lurched up to fifth in the process, giving them the Coyotes in their first round matchup. The Kings shift down to sixth for a date with the Canucks, and the Preds move to seventh to battle their divisional leaders in Chicago.
Final pairings and scheduling look mighty tasty, but we'll have to wait two days to dig in. Can't wait. First round predictions to follow.