Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Peerless Pops In . . .

Well, The Peerless has been away tending to non-Peerlessian responsibilities, and he wonders, “what did he miss?”

Well, The Peerless is wondering where The Mouth That Roared is in the Ranger-Sabres series. Sean Avery, who remarked on the Sabres that, “"I'm going to hurt them, I'm going to hit them, I'm going to be in their face as much as I can," has six shots, four penalty minutes, and no points in an average of 18 minutes in the first two games. He does have seven hits, but the Sabres have two wins. Buffalo will take that trade.

And speaking of Buffalo . . . 13 different players have assisted on the Sabres’ eight goals thus far in this series; six players have scored the eight goals. This team spreads better than soft butter.

Vancouver shook off the cobwebs in Game 1 to escape Southern California with a split, courtesy of a double overtime 2-1 win. That’s four overtime games and eight overtime periods played by the Canucks in nine playoff games. Anaheim has played only this double-overtime game among the seven games it’s played thus far. And, they have fresher goaltending, with Ilya Bryzgalov and Jean-Sebastien Giguere splitting the total minutes in the playoffs roughly evenly (Roberto Luongo already has played almost 650 minutes). Can the Canucks last through a long series?

In seven games, Martin Brodeur has given up three or more goals five times. His 2.65, .902 numbers pale in comparison to his career 1.92, .920. And, eight of the 19 total goals he’s yielded have been scored in the first period. In five of the seven games he’s played, he has given up a goal in the first . . . very un-Brodeuresque.

Ottawa is dancin’ with who brung ‘em . . . Dany Heatley, Daniel Alfredsson, and Jason Spezza are a combined 9-10-19 in six games. They’ll need it. Ray Emery, while he has hardly played poorly, has the second worst GAA among surviving goaltenders and the worst save percentage.

Free agent watch . . .

Scott Gomez: 7 games, 2-9-11, +6, 52.8% FO
Chris Drury: 7 games, 5-2-7, +3, 52.2% FO
Daniel Briere: 7 games, 1-5-6, +3, 50.5% FO
Dainius Zubrus: 7 games, 0-6-6, even
Brian Rafalski: 7 games, 2-6-8, +1
Scott Hannan: 6 games, 0-2-2, +4
Craig Rivet: 6 games, 2-3-5, -3

Vancouver doesn’t score much (16 goals in nine games), but they spread it around – seven players have two goals.

You’d expect, given the nature of the competition and the small number of games thus far, that the clubs that moved on were best in scoring and scoring defense. Well, Vancouver is the only club left in the playoffs not in the top eight in scoring. New Jersey – yes, that New Jersey – is the only one not in the top eight in scoring defense.

Joe Thornton leads the Sharks in scoring . . . without the benefit of a goal (0-7-7 in six games). That’s ok, Milan Mihalek doesn’t have an assist (but he has four of San Jose’s 18 goals). The question is, “where’s Cheechoo?” No goals in six games so far. Is the abuse he took in the first game of the tournament taking a toll?

Pavel Datsyuk . . . 1-2-3, +3 in the first two games of the tournament, 1-1-2, -2 in the five games since. He still leads the Red Wings in goals (3). Johan Franzen seems to be making the most of his somewhat limited opportunities – 2-3-5, +6, in an average of 16 minutes a night.

Two series in the second round have completed their second game. Why does The Peerless think that the Buffalo-Ranger series (now 2-0 in the Sabres’ favor) is closer than the Ducks-‘Nucks series (currently tied at one-apiece)?

The Peerless wonders . . .

- Is anyone really watching the Sharks-Red Wings series? Is this the “forgotten” series of the second round?

- How do John Madden, Sergei Brylin and Jay Pandolfo get to a combined -17 in seven games for the Devils? Those three are the worst plus-minus of any players left playing.

- How many folks in Vegas would have picked “Andy McDonald” as the leader in power play goals?

- If Francois Beauchemin is the biggest bargain in the NHL? . . . he’s third in average ice time in the playoffs, is 2-1-3, +2 so far (playing more minutes than Scott Niedermayer), was 7-21-28, +7 in 71 regular season games . . . all for $500,000. By way of comparison for you Caps fans, Brian Pothier also had 28 points, was -11, and is not playing at the moment . . . for $2.5 million.

- If anyone realizes that Dainius Zubrus is tied for third in assists in the playoffs?

- If a “Hossa” had a line of 2-1-3, +5 in six games, that anyone would have picked Marcel to have it, not Marian (0-1-1, -6, in a four game sweep)?

- If John Oduya and Nathan Paetsch regret not having made the big club in DC? . . . for the record, The Peerless wouldn’t have kept either one, either.

- If Richard Matvichuk has titanium for shin bones?….25 blocked shots in five games.

- If anyone really . . . really misses the shootout about now.