Now that Round Two has finally ended and to some it probably should have ended much earlier in the week, we can give you our fantasy winners and losers of Round Two in our usually turkey and turkey gravy style.
As always not all these choices were made scientifically but there was careful analysis made so that players were chosen based on what they did in Round Two only and not the entire body of playoff work. That is a clear distinction that you can only find HERE.
Again the criteria becomes simple. A player just has to stand out either in a very good or very bad way. There is no wishy washy middle ground. Either you are worthy or are not. Sure it may seem cold but hey it is what it is.
With their being eight teams in Round Two, one would have thought there would be less options but that was far from the case. We even had to create a category just for coaches. So let’s do this fantasy hockey poolies in style.
The Turkey Basting Coach
Guy Boucher (TBL)
All Boucher did after beating Pittsburgh in seven, which was not expected by many was sweep the Washington Capitals.
Boucher’s 1-3-1 created havoc for Washington the entire series. When there were breakdown, there was goalie Dwayne Roloson to pick up the pieces. He took Washington coach Bruce Boudreau behind the woodshed in their Round Two battle. He even has a slight advantage over Round Three opponent Claude Julien.
What Boucher does well is the ability to just simply put his players in situations where they can excel. The Bergenheim-Moore-Downie line has been pure genius and they can shut down the opposition as well. Give Tampa credit, they hired a really good Coach and GM all nearly in one neat bundle.
Turkey Club Coach
Bruce Boudreau (WSH)
Again this was not easy as Peter Laviolette could have qualified here, but Boudreau wins this one. He was not only outclassed, but honestly, there was little or no adapting in Boudreau’s game.
It looked as if Washington was just a passenger in pretty much the same script four times out no matter what the Coach tried. Maybe Washington should have sped it up as some suggested after Games 1 and 2, but to no avail as Tampa found ways to stymie the Capitals at every turn. Was it really a case of Boudreau had no answers or did his team just give up after Game 3?
The reality is the answer lies more in the gray areas. This team should have won at least one game on talent alone. Washington could not even do that, which suggests a Coach and GM on the hot seat.
Round 2 Turkeys
Yes it was a sore spot, but it got downright turkey in this series almost as bad as Round One.
We had Philly’s goaltending ranked at 15th (Washington was 16th by the way). They most certainly did not disappoint as their offense slid them into Round Two more than anything else and occasionally Brian Boucher. However, making another run like last year was not in the cards. They used three goalies in Round One but only two in Round Two. Their 3.19 GAA and .894 save percentage was good for 14th amongst the 16 playoff teams.
What was worse is that they were eighth out of eight teams this round (Washington was seventh). Boucher was yanked in two of his three starts and Sergei Bobrovsky was good for two periods before the sky fell on him and the Flyers in the third period of Game 4. Simply it is an issue that must be addressed in the offseason because it cost some fantasy poolies that were stuck.
A source of frustration was this trio in Round Two, but particularly Nicklas Backstrom. There was a level of indignation that I had not seen in a long time from fans of a team all but pleading for Backstrom just to net one but it was not meant to be.
Now Alexander Ovechkin was not bad by any stretch with four points in four games, but Alex Semin had only two points (one goal, one assist, minus-two) and Nicklas Backstrom had one point (one assist, even) but was held without a shot in Game 3. For a guy with an amazing array of shots, that had to sting. Even Ovechkin went pointless in Game 1 and never really had that monster game you expected at least once in the series from him. Maybe that would have turned the series around but even his two-point performance in Game Three was not without its chances to become more.
This trio had so many chances but failed to covert on far too many of them which is the reason why they went home so fast err one of many reasons actually. Here is a turkey for each one of them.
Shea Weber-Ryan Suter (NSH)
This defensive pairing needed to score a bit for Nashville to have any chance. In the final three games, this duo went ice cold offensively. For what they gave against Anaheim and in the first two games to a point against Vancouver, they finally were just overrun by Ryan Kesler.
Truthfully it was very surprising to see Kesler run wild on this duo the way he did. Yes Kesler is a near point a game player but the ten points in the last four games of the series by Kesler was an indictment of what Weber and Suter did not do well in this series. They did log a ton of ice time in both Round One and Round 2 but while the Sedin Twins were relatively held in check, the same could not be said for No. 17. Zero points for Weber and three points for Suter was not enough as they were depended on to do so much.
Round 2 Turkey Basters
Ryan Kesler (VAN)
With eleven points in the last five games of Round two, it was obvious that Kesler was a true and true turkey baster. Simply he gored Nashville into submission and took Weber and Suter completely off their games by the end of the series. Kesler scored five goals in the series, two of which were game winners.
When you are that good, the question is what can you do next? The nice thing is we are only worried about Round Two and Ryan Kesler was just too good and a man above.
Tim Thomas (BOS)
Thomas went 4-0 with a 1.65 GAA and .953 save percentage. Yes, those numbers came against a bit of a depleted Philadelphia team, but the stats do not lie.
In each game of the series, Thomas made game changing saves that propelled Boston to victory. He was aggressive yet even keeled and when you do that against a team that has a tendency to fall apart, you are going to win. Clearly it was Thomas’s finest hour as a Bruin.
This line did Washington in. Boudreau had no answers for this trio who kind of reminded me of a “Mini Crash Line”. Sean Bergenheim had four goals in four games against Washington while Dominic Moore had a goal and three assists. Then Steve Downie really topped it with a goal and four assists for five points.
While they did not set the world on fire this series, they all averaged at or slightly over a point a game. It was this key depth that really did in Washington more than anything else. Tampa clearly is on to something here.
It will be interesting to see who the turkeys and turkey basters are for Round Three. Check in on Inside Hockey for some Round Three fantasy updates and more. Good luck fantasy poolies.