Friday, May 04, 2012

Sittin' at the end of the bar...

With a day off, I was just thinking…

-- This series might come down to “Sweden.” So far, their Swedes (Anton Stralman and Carl Hageline) are a combined 0-0-0, minus-1. Meanwhile, the Caps’ Swedes (Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson) are a combined 0-1-1, minus-2. So, what’s the tie breaker? Right now…

… 2-1, 1.29, .944.

-- Speaking of Johansson… no points in his last five games and is a minus-3 besides. Let’s just not forget too quickly that he is only 21 years old. But it would still be nice if he grew up a little faster in this series.

-- It will be interesting to see how Backstrom performs in Game 4, given his 40-game hiatus in the regular season. He logged more than 34 minutes on Wednesday. After the other game in which he logged 30-plus minutes in these playoffs (Game 2 against Boston: 30:03 and the game-winning goal), he had an assist in 21 minutes and change. That Game 3 was also the game in which he earned a match penalty at the end of the game and a one-game suspension. Tired Nick is cranky Nick?

-- Brooks Laich has gone seven full games, 486:55, and 13 shots on goal without putting a puck in the back of the net. It would be nice to see him get off the schneid.

-- Your goal scorers so far in this series: Jason Chimera (2), Alex Ovechkin, Mike Knuble, John Carlson. That’s it. In three games. In more than 234 minutes of hockey. The Caps have hit more posts than twine.

-- If someone told you in, say, late January that the Caps would have the fifth best goalie in goals-against average and save percentage in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and that he’d be the guy that was currently nursing a 3-3-0, 2.97, .894 mark for January in the AHL, would you have slowly backed away and called for medical assistance for that person?

-- Did you know that the top three players in hits for these playoffs are playing in this series? Ryan Callahan (50), Matt Hendricks (49), and Alex Ovechkin (45).

-- Meanwhile, the Rangers have the top two shot blockers: Dan Girardi (42) and Ryan McDonagh (33), but the Caps have three defensemen ranked 4-6: John Carlson (27), Karl Alzner (26), and Roman Hamrlik (26). Even Mike Green is in the top ten (20).

-- Avert your eyes, Caps fans… four Caps rank in the “top” six in giveaways: Roman Hamrlik (2nd), Mike Green (3rd), Alexander Semin (tied for 4th),and John Carlson (tied for 6th).

-- How much can a multi-overtime affect ice time rankings? Ten of the top 15 players in the playoffs in total ice time are playing in this series, six for the Rangers, four for the Caps. Seven of the ten are defensemen. Of course by this time, with teams having been eliminated, look at ice time per game. Only Ranger defensemen Ryan McDonagh (3rd) and Dan Girardi (5th) from this series are in the top dozen in average ice time. Karl Alzner has the most for the Caps (25:50/game; 14th).

-- Speaking of ice time, for all the pixels spent on how much Alex Ovechkin is getting, he ranks 27th among forwards in average ice time (20:45/game). Nine seconds more than Sidney Crosby had in his series against the Flyers (ok, Crosby didn’t play a three-overtime game).

-- And finally, there is this. Perhaps Caps fans should be thankful that the Caps did not win Game 3. When taking a 2-1 lead in games, the Caps are 1-3 in their last four such series (beat the Rangers last year, lost to Montreal (2010), Pittsburgh (2009), and Tampa Bay (2003)). On the other hand, the Caps have won the last two series in which they fell behind in games, 2-1. They beat Boston in the first round this season, and they beat the Rangers in the first round in 2009.

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