Fantasy Hockey Playoff ONE (5/23)
WRITTEN BY CHRIS WASSEL | 22 MAY 2011
Well here we go. Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals is tonight at 8pm ET onVersus. Simply this will be a quick rundown as this one has a lot of subplots clearly as players are playing above and below expectations all over the place in this series.
Now it is time to take a look back at Game 4 of the Western Conference Finalswhere Vancouver defeated San Jose 4-2 in San Jose yesterday.
Thirteen shots on goal does not generally lead to a win but yet it did in a strange tussle at HP Pavillion. San Jose went 0-5 in Game 4 is now 1 for their last 13 since early in Game 3. Their power play or lack thereof has caused a level of frustration that caused Ryan Clowe to drop Ryan Kesler with a hard stiff jab.
Not only are the Sharks hurting with injuries but they are playing hurt and look completely unraveled. This is not the same team that played Vancouver tough in Game 1 and Game 3. San Jose drew the first five power plays and there was nothing, then Vancouver kept cashing in on their man advantage chances. When you score three times on separate 5 on 3’s in a 1:55 span, that usually is a killer. Sami Salo had two of those goals and an assist on the other. Henrik Sedin had three assists.
Again it came down to Vancouver (especially on the man advantage) just having more overall speed from the back end. When you have that, a team is very tough to beat. When a team like Vancouver is speedy enough to block 20-30 shots a game, that is also discouraging. Yes San Jose got 35 shots on net but most of them were not high quality as Roberto Luongo only had to make a few very good saves. Luongo was protected well and Antti Niemi just had no chance.
The fourth Vancouver goal was all Henrik Sedin as he deked and moved then slid a puck under Niemi perfectly to Alex Burrows who made it 4-0. San Jose would add a couple goals to make it interesting but in the end, the greatest loss was Joe Thornton who went down to an upper body injury after a shoulder on shoulder hit byRaffi Torres. This series has been extremely physical and well that is how Western Conference hockey is these days.
This series really could have a long term impact on the fantasy hockey world. Yes guys are playing hurt but Dany Heatley may be a player that is eventually traded at some point. His skills are aging downward somewhat (mostly due to injury). Some of this sounds a bit off the wall but at some point even a guy like Brad Richards was booted from Tampa and eventually he found his way in Dallas. It just happens.
However there is the Eastern Conference Finals to get to as far as Game 5.
MONDAY, MAY 23, 2011
|Tampa Bay||at||Boston||8:00 PM|
Well the Bolts and Bruins are back in Boston for Game 5. Tim Thomas has had one of the strangest series for a goaltender but what about Dwayne Roloson? His may be even worse. Roloson was pulled in Game 2 and then in Game 4. Then he sawMike Smith stop 21 shots in succession as Tampa came back from a 3-0 hole to win 5-3 and knot the series at 2.
Thomas has had more “good” moments in this series compared to Roloson. However, coach Guy Boucher knows that he has to trust his 41 year old netminder because that is the guy that has rode the bull in this rodeo. Can that man steal one in Boston because he is going to have to? He did it once. Potentially it could happen again.
Patrice Bergeron has been impressive since coming back winning faceoffs and scoring 2 goals in Game 4. Bergeron is really rolling and to us, is the key to advancing into the Stanley Cup Finals. His ability to play a two way game the way he does helps the players around him clearly better than the top line. The problem is with Milan Lucic still hobbled with a lower body injury, he is just not quite healthy enough to be an effective scorer. There are even some reports floating around thatDavid Krejci may be injured but as far as we know, he is a go for Game 5. Let him ride until some more news breaks otherwise.
Tampa has its share of boo-boos. Obviously, Pavel Kubina is likely done for the series with a concussion. Steve Downie is questionable for Game 5 with an upper body injury that will likely be a game time decision (thanks to Mike Corcoran of ESPN Tampa). There are surely a couple other players on both squads are likely playing hurt but the bottom line is no one knows.
Now we beg the question just what will happen in Game 5. We asked Tim Rosenthal and Mike Corcoran that tonight and this was their take on The Program. Obviously our Boston guy picked Boston and our Tampa guy picked Tampa but note the reasons they gave in the second hour of the show.
Here is that magic time called THE SCENARIO.
- Tim Thomas (BOS) — 2 GA on 28 shots
- Patrice Bergeron (BOS) –1 goal ,4 SOG
- Dennis Seidenberg (BOS) — 2 assists, 5 SOG
- Zdeno Chars (BOS) — 1 assist, 5 hits, 4 SOG
- Nathan Horton — 1 goal, 1 assist, 3 SOG
- Dwayne Roloson (TB) — 3 GA on 38 shots
- Vincent Lecavalier (TB) — 1 goal, 3 SOG
- Martin St. Louis (TB) — 1 goal , 4 SOG
- Brett Clark (TB) — 1 assist, 4 hits, 3 SOG
- Steve Downie (TB) — 17 PIMS, 1 assist, 2 SOG
There you have it, a 5 x 5 for Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. Again we ran five simulations via NHL11 and so far really we have gotten only two out of four close to be honest. Boston and Tampa has been very tough to gauge but this could be a game that still hits the over but will be high quality and physical.
Again our prediction is simple but Boston should win 4-2. However nothing is what it seems in the NHL Playoffs this year so one may want to take this with a grain of salt but we try our best to gauge the fantasy effectiveness. Good luck to our hockey fans and fantasy poolies once again.