Another night of playoff hockey, another two teams eliminated. I have no specific bad feelings about the Canadiens, but I’m genuinely sorry for the Senators. They feel like Flames east to me, though I’m pretty sure that the Canucks are not Habs west. (Obviously.)
Game 1: Blues vs Wild
Final Score: Blues 1 – Wild 4
Series: Blues 2 – Wild 4
DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUBNYK (oh GOD this next round is gonna be painful).
Fun fact: Prior to last night, neither team had won two games in a row. I guess Devan Dubnyk took getting lit up for 6 to heart, because he only allowed 2 goals on 68 shots in the final two games.
You read that right, 68 shots in two games. The Wild? 40 shots. 8 goals on 40 shots. Blues had 6 blocked shots last night. Granted, there were only 21 shots total for the Wild, but if your goalie’s making like a sieve, you’d think the defense would step up more. I don’t know how the Blues will address these defensive deficiencies, but man. They’ve got to. This, by the way, when they’ve got two of the best defensemen in the league in Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk, but both of those players were ineffective in this series in a way they haven’t been all season.
Zach “look ma, I CAN grow a beard!” Parise opened scoring with a shorthanded attempt to just throw the puck on net from a wacky angle to see what happened. Jake “this is only partially my fault” Allen tried, sort of. Only so much you can do from a wacky angle, I guess.
Justin Fontaine scored midway through the second, which is the goal that apparently was the final straw for Jake Allen, because he was yanked after that for wily veteran (and also All Star this year, because they had a quota) Brian “my head is a perfect square” Elliott. (No really though, look at his roster photo.)
Hilarious thing about Hitchcock pulling Allen: during a stoppage in play, Hitchcock was asked if he was going to stick with Allen, if he was confident in him. And Hitchcock answered “yes.” Literally 28 seconds later, Fontaine’s shot goes 5-hole and that’s it for Allen.
Elliott let in 1 goal on the 7 shots he faced, perhaps proving that he might not have been a better choice this series than Allen, but that’s an awfully small sample size to base my conclusion on. Suffice to say, Blues got out goaltended this series. By a margin that would have been more significant if Dubnyk had not let in 6 goals in one of their 2 losses, but you know, let’s call that an aberration. (And it really is. Since coming to the Wild on 1/15/15, Dubnyk has allowed more than 3 goals precisely once, in a rather frustrating game against the Detroit Red Wings on 1/20.)
TJ “American shootout hero” Oshie scored, Parise scored 5v5, and Nino “with this name I literally had to play hockey” Niederreiter got the empty netter at the end of the game to give Merrin further evidence that pulling your goalie is dumb. (Most of the time. Especially if you’re the Stars. But not if you’re the 2013 Hawks playing the Bruins.)
There was also at some point in the game (honestly don’t remember when this happened) a controversial hit on Tarasenko that I only bring up because I have a gif to illustrate:
I don’t follow a lot of Wild or Blues fans to read the debates, but this wasn’t called as a penalty. Reason it might have been: Coyle’s stick comes up under Tarasenko’s leg. Tripping? I guess? Reason it wasn’t (probably, I’m not an official): it happened during a clean body check. Would the Blues have capitalized on the power play? Who knows, but they didn’t on the other 3.
What we learned: Devan “leader of the Edmonton Exes support group” Dubnyk isn’t fooling around and the Wild defense certainly has the ability to support him. While the Wild offense is a bit more iffy, what they’ve got on the back end should keep them in any series they face the rest of the playoffs.
*checks their next opponent*
Game 2: Canadiens vs Senators
Final score: Canadiens 2 – Senators 0
Series: Canadiens 4 – Senators 2
Do I have to talk about this one? Yes? Okay.
The Senators threw everything but the kitchen sink at Carey Price and actually did manage to get one past him in the 2nd. Unfortunately, there was a premature whistle ejaculation from the ref, even though the puck was loose, and the play was already stopped before Pageau scored the goal.
Did that ref cost the Sens the win? Who knows. The second goal came in the dying seconds of the game on an empty netter. If it’s 1-1, there’s no need to pull the goalie then.
Sens didn’t quit though, 43 shots on goal in this final game to keep themselves alive. Carey “hey girl, I’ll show you structurally sound” Price stopped all of them (sort of, as previously discussed). He’s a better goaltender than the Canadiens deserve, and their tendency this season has been to lean on his brilliance a little too much. 43 shots from the Senators and only 15 blocks for the Canadiens. Something for the Red Wings or the Lightning to potentially exploit next round (if they can, I mean, Carey Price might actually be superhuman).
Brendan Gallagher scored the only goal worth mentioning this game (empty netters being what they are, and this one would have been an icing if it had missed) in the first period. But seriously though, five seconds before he bats it into the net, Gallagher’s skate was stuck on Zach “literally the most boring jersey name” Smith’s stick. I don’t have a gif or a vine because twitter hates me, but it was hilarious. Watch the video.
Re: the alleged highsticking on this goal:
Hold a paper up to the screen friends. Put it just above the top bar of the goal. Ask yourselves, “does Gallagher’s stick get hidden by this paper while it’s in contact with the puck?” There you go.
Other Brendan Gallagher news: this may surprise you, but he’s a bit of a dick. (Just kidding, that won’t surprise anyone.) At some point during this game, he reminded Mark Stone that he has a fractured wrist.
The fractured wrist he got from a PK Subban slash. Yep, that’s the one.
What we learned: Brendan Gallagher has no chill, but does have the ability to be in the right place at the right time. Carey Price may actually be the second coming of Jesus (because Jesus saves).