Fantasy Hockey Playoff ONE (5/24)
WRITTEN BY CHRIS WASSEL | 24 MAY 2011
San Jose is now the one that could be eliminated and there is just this feeling of inevitable end. Joe Thornton says he will play in Game 5 and that seems to be a plan as he is a “go” as of now. How effective will he be is anyone’s guess at all. No one really has a clue. There are clearly players playing from both sides that are just banged up. Look at Ryan Clowe, Christian Erhoff, etc…etc for example.
Sometimes it is easy to spot the injuries and sometimes it is not. What has become clear is just the simple fact that this does have fantasy effects not just for the playoffs but going into next season potentially as well. Some players will literally throw their bodies to the grindstone and wind up out 3 or 4 months or longer just to win the Stanley Cup. The point of this column is to help short and long term obviously.
Well it is now time to take a look back at Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finalsbetween Boston and Tampa Bay. This was some game with a hell of a second and third period kick. It was one of those games that part of you just wanted to go to overtime. Obviously, there have been no OT games in the Conference Finals. However there was plenty of excitement last night.
Clearly the Fantasy POTN was Tim Thomas with 1 goal allowed on 34 shots. His performance and not just that save on Steve Downie was the reason why Boston won this game. That was the key save and the key play was by Patrice Bergeronwho found Brad Marchand on a very nice pass that not many players can make at all. The bottom line is guys like Bergeron are a reason why Boston could very well be Finals bound.
And no we were not talking about Marc Andre Bergeron, just to be crystal clear. Nathan Horton atoned for a couple dumb penalties by tying the game before Marchand added the eventual game winner late in the second period. Guy Boucher’s gamble to start Mike Smith over Dwayne Roloson was not a bad idea. It also helped that Tampa outshot Boston 34-19 but Smith did play well. Tampa had their chances and they had quite a few chances. However the key was Tampa could not convert several times in the first period when it was 1-0 already. Clearly when a team does not finish and they leave a one goal lead on the road, bad things can happen.
Sure enough they did and now Boston is one win away from going to the Stanley Cup. Sure their Power Play is powerless but 5 on 5 Boston has been superior compared to every other team in the playoffs. Truly I have not seen anything like this other than maybe the 2003 NJ Devils but nothing to this extent. Wednesday Night will be a different game as Tampa proved that “safe is death”. Maybe they will learn their lesson in Game 6.
Now it is time to look ahead and here is the schedule for tonight’s Game 5 of theWestern Conference Finals.
TUESDAY, MAY 24, 2011
|San Jose||at||Vancouver||9:00 PM|
Well now the stage is set for those dreaded “elimination games” that we talked about at the beginning of the round has come to fruition. Truthfully now the fun really begins. Joe Thornton like we said will give it a go but again who knows what will be left in the tank or his effectiveness for that matter. Antti Niemi gave up 4 goals on 13 shots in Game 4 but three 5 on 3 power play tallies which has never happened before. Vancouver definitely took the air out of San Jose but with Vancouver’s penchant for not eliminating teams, who knows what could potentially happen.
Roberto Luongo will have to take advantage of his team’s defensive efforts as so many forwards were defensive conscious on Sunday Afternoon. The Sharks brought the heat but how many of their chances could you really consider as bonafide top chuck quality. Luongo really did not have to make that many good saves honestly. The good thing for him is Vancouver could do this despite two defensemen out. It does bode well to have depth and Vancouver will need and more to win Game 5 because at 5 on 5, San Jose is a slightly better team and the numbers do not lie at this juncture.
San Jose just has to get better production from their players but guys like Dany Heatley are beat up as well (lower body believed to be groin). The Sharks are running out of answers and so is time but yet there is that feeling that they could extend this potentially. With Game 5 just hours away, it is time to put up or shut up and give you our quick fantasy projections.
- Antti Niemi (SJ) — 3 GA on 28 shots
- Ryan Clowe (SJ) — 1 goal, 4 SOG
- Dan Boyle (SJ) — 1 goal, 1 assist 3 SOG
- Patrick Marleau (SJ) — 1 assist, 6 SOG
- Roberto Luongo (SJ) — 2 GA on 32 shots
- Henrik Sedin (VAN) — 1 goal, 1 assist, 3 SOG
- Ryan Kesler (VAN) — 1 goal, 1 assist 4 SOG
- Alex Burrows (VAN) — 2 goals, 4 SOG
This was really a hard one to call as the five NHL11 sims were quite divergently split…2 had Vancouver winning 5-2 and two had San Jose winning by one goal, both in OT. The final sim had Vancouver winning by a scant goal late in regulation. With that being said, Game 5 featured some of the same characteristics as Game 4 except that Vancouver only scored one power play goal.
San Jose clearly has a shot ladies and gentlemen and do not be surprised if Joe Pavelski and Devin Setoguchi play a role. In both sims that featured San Jose wins both guys had multi point games not very surprisingly. The Sharks need these guys to step up more than anyone else if they expect to send this thing back to San Jose for a Game 6.
If they do not, then all help is pretty well lost. Thanks again and good luck everyone in their fantasy pools and hockey fans, keep the faith