Monday Morning Musings With Me 'The Big E': Habs at It Again? and More
Right now, Habs fans everywhere are drooling. Those fans who slept last night didn't sleep well, and fans of the Pittsburgh Penguins slept even less.
All in all it was a pretty good weekend of playoff hockey. Although it's no surprise to me, the Sharks take a 2-0 series lead into Detroit tomorrow night where the "just not quite close enough" Red Wings will try to keep them from taking a stronger hold on a series that had most people picking the Wings in five!
So much for the experts .
The Montreal Canadiens are the Cinderella story of these 2010 Playoffs so far, having already taken the Presidents' Trophy-winning Washington Capitals to seven games and defeating them.
Mike Cammalleri has been an absolute killer for the Habs. Third in these playoffs with 13 points, he is certainly getting the attention of other Conn Smythe candidates.
"We all have different responsibilities, and producing offense for me and some other guys is one of our responsibilities," Cammalleri said. "It is nice to see the puck go in."
Hal Gill has been a force on the blue line for the Habs, blocking a league-leading 37 shots. Montreal goaltenders have faced a total of 352 shots in this postseason so far. To go along with those 352 shots, Montreal players have blocked another 212 shots, making for a total of 464 shots that the Canadiens have faced as a team so far this postseason. That's an average of 50.4 shots per game.
For the Penguins to win this series, which they should, they need to not fire so many shots on Halak. His stats are impressive so far in the playoffs when he faces more than 30 shots (5-1) and unimpressive when facing 30 or less (0-2).
The Penguins also need to find a way to play without Jordan Staal. If last night's play was as much a result of his absence as it was the Canadiens' work ethic, the Pens could be joining the Caps on the golf course much sooner than they thought.
Sidney Crosby got a little frustrated during yesterday's game and smashed his stick against a goal post. Commentators would have you believe that he did it as a reaction to a "non-call" after trying to draw an interference penalty by skating into the back of Dominic Moore. I'm not sure that that is the reason; either way, he's lucky he didn't get an unsportsmanlike penalty.
The Sharks swim into the Joe Louis on Tuesday night to face a Red Wing team that must simply win to survive. It hasn't really been any obvious fault of Detroit's that they find themselves down two games to none in the series; San Jose has just been better.
The turning point this year for the Sharks, in my opinion, was the first round overtime loss in which Dan Boyle scored the winner on his own net. That game, that moment, seemed to galvanize the Sharks against anything else.
It makes perfect sense when you think about it. The only thing that could have been worse than that would have been if it had happened in a game seven, perhaps of the final.
Vancouver and Boston also skated to series leads on the weekend, but the 1-0 series lead came with a price to the Bruins. Veteran forward Marco Sturm will miss the rest of the season with a torn MCL (medial collateral ligament) and a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament).
"Marco suffered a knee injury yesterday that will keep him out for the year," said the Bruins' coach. "It's unfortunate for our hockey club and for him. He battled through a major injury last year and was really looking forward to these playoffs."
Sturm had yet do do much in this postseason but has seven times scored more than 20 goals in a season and is a strong veteran presence for the team.
"It hurt to lose him last night, he's a good hockey player," said linemate Mark Recchi. "He's fast and he's competitive, and he's been a great guy for us all year. We'll miss him. We missed him (Saturday), but he's a terrific player and that'll be tough to see."
Marc Savard, who had just returned from a concussion in time to score the overtime winner, had this to say about Sturm:
"Sturm means a lot to our hockey team, a lot of speed, and he was our top goal scorer this year. He's a great penalty killer, a fierce guy who works hard all the time. He's certainly missed right now, and we'll try to fill a void we've been filling all year."
If the Bruins are to beat a faster and perhaps more skilled Flyer team in this series, Savard will be looked to for more offense and leadership with Sturm out of the line up.
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