Game Three: (2) Anaheim Ducks at (7) Minnesota Wild
(ANA leads series 2-0, Java Geek ‘odds’: ANA 83%)
- Ducks definitely got a big win to hold home ice in G2; This will be the 11th playoff series in Anaheim’s history, and so far the team that has won G2 has ended up winning the series every time. Also worth noting, Wild goalie Niklas “Backstroke” Backstrom allowed three goals-against in a game for the first time in over a month, dating back to March 6.
- How about Corey Perry playing more than 3 minutes on the PK in G2? Gutsy move by Carlyle, considering that he’s played less than 10 minutes of penalty kill in his NHL career, but he seemed to handle the assignment capably enough. We’ll see if he gets put out there when Travis Moen is not serving a 10-minute misconduct, though.
- Still, say what you will about Getzlaf (1g 2a), Beauchemin (2g 1a), or Bryzgalov, I still gotta say that the star of this series has been Sammy Pahlsson. Despite his -2 rating, he in particular has been frustrating the Wild's Slovak superstars. From the Minnesota Star-Tribune:
Wild right winger Marian Gaborik figured he'd see a lot of defenseman Chris Pronger in this series, but he has learned quickly what Anaheim's real game plan is to neutralize him: lots and lots of Sami Pahlsson.Yes, Marian. God is omnipresent.
Pahlsson is the Ducks' 29-year-old pest, and the center is one of the most underrated, underappreciated unknowns in the NHL.
"He's everywhere," Gaborik said.
- Vic Ferrari from Irreverent Oilers Fans has set up a really cool head-to-head minutes lookup site here, which tells me that Pahlsson has been on the ice for more than 2/3 of Gaborik’s 5-on-5 ice time thus far. Check it out, for those who are so numerically inclined. In addition, Pahlsson has played more than half Anaheim’s PK time, which has not allowed a goal in 7 straight games (30 for 30). We’ll see how effective Lemaire is in St. Paul at avoiding that even-strength match-up, and how productive the Slovaks are in a Pahlsson-free environment.