Shootout
By Victor Fernandes Erie Times-News staff blogger
Staff writer Victor Fernandes has ice in his veins. Hockey – he plays it, coaches it and provides the region's best coverage of it.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1716
Posted: April 18th, 2014

Western Conference finals, Game 2 (best-of-7 series)
No. 3 Erie Otters vs. No. 1 Guelph Storm
When: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Sleeman Centre – Guelph, Ontario
On the air: WJET-AM/1400, www.ottershockey.com (live stream)
Series update: Guelph leads 1-0 (5-4 win in Game 1 Thursday)
Players to watch

Brendan Gaunce

Erie – G Devin Williams (8-1-1 record, 2.11 goals-against average, .922 save percentage, 2 shutouts), LW Dane Fox (7 goals, 10 assists, 17 points), C Brendan Gaunce (6-9-15), C Connor McDavid (4-11-15), RW Connor Brown (5-9-14), LW Andre Burakovsky (9-3-12), D Adam Pelech (2-3-5, plus-9 rating), C Dylan Strome (2-6-8); Guelph – LW Jason

Brock McGinn

Dickinson (4-10-14), RW Zack Mitchell (5-10-15), G Justin Nichols (9-2-0, 2.89, .914, 1 SHO), LW Kerby Rychel (2-11-13), RW Scott Kosmachuk (6-7-13), LW Brock McGinn (2-1-3 in 3 games), LW Tyler Bertuzzi (7-4-11), D Matt Finn(2-4-6, +9)
Fast facts: The Game 1 loss was the Otters’ second defeat in their last 18 games dating back to the final eight games of the regular season. … They are 0-4 in Guelph this season. … The Otters allowed more than three goals in a game for only the second time in 10 playoff games. He had allowed eight goals in their previous six games. … Williams allowed five goals on 26 shots in the Game 1 loss after surrendering three goals on 122 shots in the four-game sweep of Sault Ste. Marie in the conference semifinals. … McGinn (43-42-85 in the regular season) makes his series debut after completing an eight-game suspension Thursday. … Bertuzzi scored twice in Game 1. … Gaunce has points in eight straight games – tied for the second-longest streak in the playoffs – and in nine of 10 postseason games overall.
Outlook: The Otters began the series wanting to split the first two games in Guelph. Game 1 slipped away. They have one more chance tonight.

- Victor Fernandes

Series schedule
Storm lead series 1-0 
Game 1 – Guelph 5, Erie 4
Game 2 – Today at Guelph, 7:30 p.m.
Game 3 – Monday at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 4 – Tuesday at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – April 25 at Guelph, 7:30 p.m.*
Game 6 – April 26 at Erie, 7 p.m.*
Game 7 – April 28 at Guelph, 7 p.m.*
* If necessary
 

 

Posted: April 17th, 2014

GUELPH, Ontario – Even in a game with nine goals, five lead changes and four ties, Dane Fox – the OHL’s leading goal scorer in the regular season – was seemingly non-existent offensively in the Erie Otters’ Game 1 loss to Guelph tonight.
Fox never found his rhythm offensively, because he wasn’t his usual aggressive self. When Fox is at his best, he works relentlessly to get into open ice, puts constant pressure on defenses and utilizes on one of the league’s quickest shots.
But on this night, he seemed stagnant. He didn’t move his feet as well as he ordinarily does. At one point, Fox seemed hurt, as he skated to the bench hunched over with what appeared to be a grimace on his face.
He certainly was frustrated as the game progressed. That frustration boiled over in a big way late in the third period, as he vehemently argued a tripping penalty – his third minor penalty of the game – which led to an early trip to the dressing room with a 10-minute misconduct after being given a good bit of leeway from the officials. That left the Otters short-handed for two minutes, and then during a 6-on-4 power play in the closing seconds that included a final faceoff with 4 seconds left.
Fox joins Brendan Gaunce (who took that draw) as the team’s top faceoff guys.
Fox didn’t speak with the media after the game. Instead, he boarded the team bus early. Yet when asked to assess Fox’s late-game outburst, head coach Kris Knoblauch said, “I’m disappointed when anybody on my team loses it like that.”
“Certainly we could have them at the end of the game for that last shift and that last faceoff,” Knoblauch added. “But certainly we have to stay much more composed and focused, because certainly that’s not who we are. This time of the year, obviously emotions run hot. But certainly we have to look forward to our next shift.”
On the bright side, Fox is too good not to bounce back. Expect a much better effort from him in Game 2 Friday night.

*** Knoblauch didn’t want to comment on the controversial tripping penalty against Fox. Then he ended up commenting anyway. “I didn’t think that was tripping at the end,” he said. “Fox was trying to lift his stick. (Fox) was on his hands, and (the Storm player) falls down.”
The officiating was consistent for the most part. But that was a tough spot to call a penalty that was borderline at best.

*** Defenses didn’t struggle as much as the 5-4 score would indicate. Both offenses were simply in top form.
There wasn’t a bad goal all night. Instead, there were deflections and redirects, strong finishes on odd-man rushes, 2 or 3 wicked wrist shots (including Connor Brown‘s power-play goal in the first period) and a slap shot from Tyler Bertuzzi that sailed through D Travis Dermott‘s legs and past G Devin Williams.

*** However, the Otters’ D has to step up Friday, because a Storm club that scored 5 goals on 26 shots in Game 1 gets suspended 40-goal scorer Brock McGinn back in the lineup.

*** Speaking of the Storm’s attack, this game showed how dangerous they are. They have more quality scorers beyond frontline guys like McGinn, Scott Kosmachuk, Zack Mitchell and Kerby Rychel. Bertuzzi had 2 goals tonight, while Ryan Horvat scored the GW goal 6 minutes into the third period.
“The other lines have to be able to chip in and take some of the pressure off the guys,” head coach Scott Walker said.

- Victor Fernandes
 

 

 

 

Posted: April 17th, 2014

Western Conference finals, Game 1
Erie Otters vs. Guelph Storm

TONIGHT’S LINEUPS
Starters in bold italics (starting lines/D pairings coming soon)

ERIE OTTERS
Forwards
Fox-McDavid-Brown
Burakovsky-Gaunce-Wigle
Curtis-Strome-Evans
Murphy-Pettit-Betz

Defense
Genovese-Pelech
MacDermid-Abraham
Dermott-Donnay

Goaltenders
Williams
Dansk

Scratches: Felker (healthy), Raddysh (healthy), Maksimovich (healthy), Wood (healthy)

GUELPH STORM
Forwards
Mitchell-Dickinson-Kosmachuk
Rychel-Horvat-Auger
Bertuzzi-Fabbri-Pierog
Bauman-Suter-Stevens

Defense
Finn-Trojanovic
Leslie-Ebert
Baltisberger-Harpur

Goaltenders
Nichols
Mancina

Scratches: Craievich, McGinn (suspension), McFadden
 

Posted: April 17th, 2014

OHL playoffs at a glance
Western Conference finals, Game 1 (best-of-7 series)
No. 3 Erie Otters vs. No. 1 Guelph Storm
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Sleeman Centre – Guelph, Ontario
On the air: WJET-AM/1400, www.ottershockey.com (live stream)
Season series: Guelph won 4-2
Playoff recap: Erie def. No. 6 Saginaw 4 games to 1 in conference quarterfinals, def. No. 2 Sault Ste. Marie 4-0 in conference semifinals; Guelph def. No. 8 Plymouth 4-1, def. No. 4 London, 4-1
Players to watch
Erie – G Devin Williams (8-0-1 record, 1.88 goals-against average, .934 save percentage, 2 shutouts), LW Dane Fox (7 goals, 9 assists, 16 points), C Brendan Gaunce (5-9-14), C Connor McDavid (4-10-14), RW Connor Brown (4-9-13), LW Andre Burakovsky (8-2-10), D Adam Pelech (2-2-4, plus-8 rating); Guelph – RW Zack Mitchell (5-10-15), LW Jason Dickinson (4-10-14), G Justin Nichols (8-2-0, 2.77, .919, 1 SHO), LW Kerby Rychel (2-11-13), RW Scott Kosmachuk (6-6-12), C Robby Fabbri (5-4-9), D Matt Finn(2-3-5, +7)

Justin Nichols

Fast facts: Both teams won 52 games on the way to finishing with the top two records in the regular season. … Williams stopped 119-of-122 shots in the sweep of Sault Ste. Marie (0.73 GAA, .975 save percentage) on the way to earning CHL goaltender of the week honors. … Otters C Kyle Pettit (gash across left calf) is expected to play tonight. … Storm LW Brock McGinn (43-42-85 in the regular season, 2-1-3 in three playoff games) completes an eight-game suspension tonight. … These teams have six players among the top 10 in playoff scoring (Fox, Gaunce, McDavid and Brown for the Otters; Mitchell and Dickinson for the Storm). … Fabbri (4-3-7 in three games) is the reigning CHL player of the week. … Gaunce and LW Michael Curtis (2-3-5) reached the conference finals with Belleville a season ago. … Gaunce has points in seven straight games and eight of nine playoff games. … WJET-AM/1400 will broadcast every game in the series.
Outlook: The Otters need to win at least one game in Guelph to capture the series. They faced – and conquered – that same challenge against Sault Ste. Marie in the last round.
Prediction: Otters in 7 games

Posted: April 16th, 2014
 

Posted: April 16th, 2014

Kris Knoblauch led the Erie Otters from last place in the Western Conference – and the league’s second-worst record – to a franchise-record 52 wins and the Western Conference championship series. But that wasn’t enough for Knoblauch to capture the OHL’s Coach of the Year award.
Knoblauch earned 47 voting points, one behind Oshawa’s D.J. Smith, in balloting. Smith led the Generals to the Eastern Conference’s regular-season championship and into the conference finals against North Bay. Guelph’s Scott Walker, whose club won the Hamilton Spectator Trophy as the league’s regular-season champion and face the Otters in the conference finals, finished third with 38 voting points.
Smith will receive the trophy at the OHL Awards Ceremony on June 3 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. He also will be the league’s nominee for CHL Coach of the Year.
 

Posted: April 15th, 2014

Eastern Conference
Quarterfinals
No. 1A Boston def. WC2 Detroit, 4-1
No. 3A Montreal def. No. 2A Tampa Bay, 4-2
No. 1M Pittsburgh def. WC1 Columbus, 4-2
No. 2M N.Y. Rangers def. No. 3M Philadelphia, 4-3
Semifinals
No. 1A Boston def. No. 3A Montreal, 4-1
No. 1M Pittsburgh def. No. 2M N.Y. Rangers, 4-2
Finals
No. 1A Boston def. No. 1M Pittsburgh, 4-2

Western Conference
Quarterfinals
No. 1C Colorado def. WC1 Minnesota, 4-2
No. 3C Chicago def. No. 2C St. Louis, 4-2
No. 1P Anaheim def. WC2 Dallas, 4-1
No. 3P Los Angeles def. No. 2P San Jose, 4-2
Semifinals
No. 3C Chicago def. No. 1C Colorado, 4-2
No. 3P Los Angeles def. No. 1P Anaheim, 4-3
Finals
No. 3C Chicago def. No. 3P Los Angeles, 4-3

Stanley Cup Final
No. 3C Chicago def. No. 1A Boston, 4-3

- Victor Fernandes
 

Posted in: NHL, Uncategorized
Posted: April 15th, 2014

WESTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS

No. 1C Colorado Avalanche vs. WC1 Minnesota Wild
Season records: Colorado 52-22-8, Minnesota 43-27-12
Season series: Colorado won 4-0-1
Players to watch
Colorado – G Semyon Varlamov (41-14-6 record, 2.41 goals-against average, .927 save percentage, 2 shutouts), C Matt Duchene (23 goals, 47 assists, 70 points), LW Gabriel Landeskog (26-39-65), C Ryan O’Reilly (28-36-64), C Nathan MacKinnon (24-39-63), D Tyson Barrie (13-25-38, plus-17); Minnesota – RW Jason Pominville (30-30-60), LW Zach Parise (29-27-56), C Mikko Koivu (11-43-54), D Ryan Suter (8-35-43, +15), LW Matt Moulson (23-28-51), G Darcy Kuemper (12-8-4, 2.43, .915, 2 SHO)
Fast facts: Duchene reportedly could miss the first two games with a knee injury. … O’Reilly, a former Erie Otter, set career highs with 28 goals and 64 points, and nearly was the first NHL player to finish a season without any penalty minutes (2 PIMs). … Moulson had six goals and 13 points in 20 games since being acquired from the New York Islanders.
Outlook: The Avalanche are having a dream season after struggling the past few years. They will most one step closer to their dream of capturing the Stanley Cup.
Prediction: Avalanche in 6 games

Series schedule
Game 1 – Thursday at Colorado, 9:30 p.m.
Game 2 – Saturday at Colorado, 9:30 p.m.
Game 3 – Monday at Minnesota, 7 p.m.
Game 4 – April 24 at Minnesota, 9:30 p.m.
Game 5 – April 26 at Colorado, TBD*
Game 6 – April 28 at Minnesota, TBD*
Game 7 – April 30 at Colorado, TBD*
* If necessary

No. 2C St. Louis Blues vs. No. 3C Chicago Blackhawks
Season records: St. Louis 52-23-7, Chicago 46-21-15
Season series: St. Louis won 3-2
Players to watch
St. Louis – G Ryan Miller (25-30-4, 2.64, .918, 1 SHO), LW Alexander Steen (33-29-62), RW T.J. Oshie (21-39-60), C David Backes (27-30-57), LW Jaden Schwartz (25-31-56), D Alex Pietrangelo (8-43-51, +20), D Kevin Shattenkirk (10-35-45, +1); Chicago – LW Patrick Sharp (34-44-78), RW Patrick Kane (29-40-69), C Jonathan Toews (28-40-68), D Duncan Keith (6-55-61, +22), RW Marian Hossa (30-30-60), G Corey Crawford (32-16-10, 2.26, .917, 2 SHO)
Fast facts: Miller had a 10-8-1 record, 2.47 GAA, .903 save pct. and one shutout in 19 games since being acquired from Buffalo. … Kane and Toews reportedly said they are ready to play after missing the last 12 games with injuries. … Chicago won the Stanley Cup in 2010 and 2013. … St. Louis won the first three regular-season meetings, while the Blackhawks won the last two.
Outlook: The Blues have been touted as a Cup contender all season long. But the Blackhawks are the defending champion. So they know how win at this time of year.
Prediction: Blackhawks in 6 games

Series schedule
Game 1 – Thursday at St. Louis, 8 p.m.
Game 2 – Sunday at St. Louis, 3 p.m.
Game 3 – Monday at Chicago, 8:30 p.m.
Game 4 – April 23 at Chicago, 9:30 p.m.
Game 5 – April 25 at St. Louis, 8 p.m.*
Game 6 – April 27 at Chicago, 3 p.m.*
Game 7 – April 29 at St. Louis, TBD*
* If necessary

No. 1P Anaheim Ducks vs. WC2 Dallas Stars
Season records: Anaheim 54-20-8, Dallas 40-31-11
Season series: Dallas won 2-1
Players to watch
Anaheim – C Ryan Getzlaf (31-56-87), RW Corey Perry (43-39-82), C Nick Bonino (22-27-49), C Andrew Cogliano (21-21-42), D Cam Fowler (6-30-36), G Jonas Hiller (29-13-7, 2.48, .911, 5 SHO); Dallas – C Tyler Seguin (37-47-84), G Kari Lehtonen (33-20-10, 2.41, .919, 5 SHO), LW Jamie Benn (34-45-79), D Alex Goligoski (6-36-42, +9), RW Alex Chiasson (13-22-35), C Cody Eakin (16-19-35)
Fast facts: Getzlaf finished second to the Penguins’ Crosby in the league’s scoring race. … Seguin set career highs in goals, assists and points in his first season with the Stars. … Goligoski, the former Penguin, set career highs in assists and points. … Dallas snapped a six-year streak of missing the playoffs under former Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff.
Outlook: The secret to the Ducks’ success isn’t a secret at all. Hiller has to be strong in net, while Getzlaf and Perry have to spark the best forward line on the ice.
Prediction: Ducks in 5 games

Series schedule
Game 1 – Today at Anaheim, 10 p.m.
Game 2 – Friday at Anaheim, 10 p.m.
Game 3 – Monday at Dallas, 9:30 p.m.
Game 4 – April 23 at Dallas, 8 p.m.
Game 5 – April 25 at Anaheim, 10:30 p.m.*
Game 6 – April 27 at Dallas, TBD*
Game 7 – April 29 at Anaheim, TBD*
* If necessary

No. 2P San Jose Sharks vs. No. 3P Los Angeles Kings
Season records: San Jose 51-22-9, Los Angeles 46-28-8
Season series: Los Angeles won 3-1-1
Players to watch
Anaheim – C Joe Pavelski (41-38-79), C Joe Thornton (11-65-76), LW Patrick Marleau (33-37-70), G Antti Niemi (39-17-7, 2.39, .913, 4 SHO), C Logan Couture (23-31-54), D Dan Boyle (12-24-36); Los Angeles – G Jonathan Quick (27-17-4, 2.07, .915, 6 SHO), D Drew Doughty (10-27-37, +18), C Anze Kopitar (29-41-70), C Jeff Carter (27-23-50), RW Justin Williams (19-24-43), C Mike Richards (11-30-41)
Fast facts: The Kings eliminated San Jose in the conference semifinals a season ago, with five games being decided by one goal. … The Kings had identical 23-14-4 records at home and on the road. … Former Otter Jordan Nolan set career highs with six goals and 10 points in 64 games in his first full season with the Kings.
Outlook: The Sharks score goals, but the Kings shut down teams that score goals. Defense is more important at playoff time.
Prediction: Kings in 6 games

Series schedule
Game 1 – Thursday at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.
Game 2 – Sunday at San Jose, 10 p.m.
Game 3 – Tuesday at Los Angeles, 10 p.m.
Game 4 – April 24 at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.
Game 5 – April 26 at San Jose, TBD*
Game 6 – April 28 at Los Angeles, TBD*
Game 7 – April 30 at San Jose, TBD*
* If necessary

Posted: April 15th, 2014

EASTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS

No. 1M Pittsburgh Penguins vs. WC1 Columbus Blue Jackets
Season records: Pittsburgh 51-24-7, Columbus 43-32-7
Season series: Pittsburgh won 5-0
Players to watch
Pittsburgh – C Sidney Crosby (36 goals, 68 assists, 104 points), C Evgeni Malkin (23-49-72), LW Chris Kunitz (35-33-88), RW James Neal (27-34-61), D Kris Letang (11-11-22, minus-8 in 37 games), G Marc-Andre Fleury (39-18-5 record, 2.37 goals-against average, .915 save percentage, 5 shutouts); Columbus – C Ryan Johansen (33-30-63), D James Wisniewski (7-44-51), G Sergei Bobrovsky (32-20-5, 2.38, .923, 5 SHO), C Brandon Dubinsky (16-34-50), RW Cam Atkinson (21-19-40), LW Nick Foligno (18-21-39)
Fast facts: Crosby won the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s scoring champion for the second time. He won the title by 17 points. … Letang rejoined Pittsburgh’s lineup last week after missing more than two months while recovering from a stroke. … Malkin (foot) missed the final 11 regular-season games. His status reportedly remains uncertain. … The Blue Jackets have reached the playoffs for the second time in the franchise’s 14-year history. They were swept by Detroit in the first round in 2009.
Outlook: The Penguins have been banged-up, and the Blue Jackets are a hard-working team capable of an upset. But that won’t happen this year.
Prediction: Penguins in 6 games

Series schedule
Game 1 – Today at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.
Game 2 – Saturday at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
Game 3 – Monday at Columbus, 7 p.m.
Game 4 – April 23 at Columbus, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – April 26 at Pittsburgh, TBD*
Game 6 – April 28 at Columbus, TBD*
Game 7 – April 30 at Pittsburgh, TBD*
* If necessary

No. 2M New York Rangers vs. No. 3M Philadelphia Flyers
Season records: New York 45-31-6, Philadelphia 42-30-10
Season series: Tied 2-2
Players to watch
New York – G Henrik Lundqvist (33-24-5, 2.36, .920, 5 SHO), LW Matt Zuccarello (19-40-59), C Derek Stepan (17-40-57), C Brad Richards (20-31-51), D Ryan McDonagh (14-29-43, +11), LW Rick Nash (26-13-39); Philadelphia – C Claude Giroux (28-58-86), RW Jakub Vorachek (23-39-62), RW Wayne Simmonds (29-31-60), LW Scott Hartnell (20-32-52), D Mark Streit (10-34-44), G Steve Mason (33-18-7, 2.50, .917, 4 SHO)
Fast facts: Rangers RW Martin St. Louis has one goal and eight points in 19 games since being acquired from Tampa Bay in a high-profile, deadline-day trade last month. … The home team won all four regular-season meetings. … The Flyers won the last three playoff series against the Rangers. … The Rangers led the Eastern Conference with 25 road wins.
Outlook: This will be a hard-fought, evenly matched series between two fierce rivals. The winner moves on to the next round, but how much will that team have left?
Prediction: Rangers in 7 games

Series schedule
Game 1 – Thursday at New York, 7 p.m.
Game 2 – Sunday at New York, noon
Game 3 – Tuesday at Philadelphia, 8 p.m.
Game 4 – April 25 at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – April 27 at New York, noon*
Game 6 – April 29 at Philadelphia, TBD*
Game 7 – April 30 at New York, TBD*
* If necessary

No. 1A Boston Bruins vs. WC2 Detroit Red Wings
Season records: Boston 54-19-9, Detroit 39-28-15
Season series: Detroit won 3-1
Players to watch
Boston – G Tuukka Rask (36-15-6, 2.04, .930, 7 SHO), C David Krejci (19-50-69), C Patrice Bergeron (30-32-62), RW Jarome Iginla (30-31-61), LW Milan Lucic (24-35-59), D Zdeno Chara (17-23-40, +25); Detroit – RW Daniel Alfredsson (18-31-49), D Niklas Kronwall (8-41-49), LW Henrik Zetterberg (16-32-48), RW Gustav Nyquist (28-20-48), C Pavel Datsyuk (17-20-37), G Jimmy Howard (21-19-11, 2.66, .910, 2 SHO)
Fast facts: Boston and Detroit meet in the playoffs for the first time since 1957. … The Red Wings were the only team to earn three wins against the Bruins. … Detroit secured its 23rd straight playoff berth by three points over Washington. … Boston edged Anaheim by one point for the league’s regular-season championship and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. … The Bruins led the Eastern Conference with 261 goals scored and 177 goals against.
Outlook: The Bruins have been a model of consistency, especially in the playoffs, the past several years. It won’t be any different this time around.
Prediction: Bruins in 5 games

Series schedule
Game 1 – Friday at Boston, 7:30 p.m.
Game 2 – Sunday at Boston, 3 p.m.
Game 3 – Tuesday at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.
Game 4 – April 24 at Detroit, 8 p.m.
Game 5 – April 26 at Boston, 3 p.m.*
Game 6 – April 28 at Detroit, TBD*
Game 7 – April 30 at Boston, TBD*
* If necessary

No. 2A Tampa Bay Lightning vs. No. 3A Montreal Canadiens
Season records: Tampa Bay 46-27-9, Montreal 46-28-8
Season series: Tampa Bay won 3-1
Players to watch
Tampa Bay – C Steven Stamkos (25-15-40 in 37 games), LW Ondrej Palat (23-36-59), D Victor Hedman (13-42-55, +5), C Tyler Johnson (24-26-50), D Matt Carle (2-29-31, +11), G Ben Bishop (37-14-7, 2.23, .924, 5 SHO); Montreal – LW Thomas Vanek (27-41-68), G Carey Price (34-20-5, 2.32, .927, 6 SHO), LW Max Pacioretty (39-21-60), D P.K. Subban (10-43-53), C David Desharnais (16-36-52), D Andrei Markov (7-36-43)
Fast facts: Stamkos led the league in goals per game (0.67) despite missing 45 games with a broken right leg. …Bishop reportedly will miss Game 1 with an elbow injury. … Vanek had six goals and 15 points in 18 games since being acquired from the N.Y. Islanders at the trade deadline last month. … All four regular-season meetings were decided by two goals or fewer, with three being one-goal games and two heading to overtime. … Tampa Bay earned home-ice advantage over Montreal by one point in the standings.
Outlook: Stamkos will be a key figure in this series, but the Canadiens will win out in the end.
Prediction: Canadiens in 6 games

Series schedule
Game 1 – Today at Tampa Bay, 7 p.m.
Game 2 – Friday at Tampa Bay, 7 p.m.
Game 3 – Sunday at Montreal, 7 p.m.
Game 4 – Tuesday at Montreal, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – April 24 at Tampa Bay, 7 p.m.*
Game 6 – April 27 at Montreal, TBD*
Game 7 – April 29 at Tampa Bay, TBD*
* If necessary 

Posted: April 15th, 2014

Five former Erie Otters are set to play in the Stanley Cup playoffs, which begin tonight…
(includes position, age, current NHL club, total NHL games played and years played) 

Michael Blunden

RW Mike Blunden (27), Montreal – 102 games (2006-08, 2009-14)
* Spent most of the season with Hamilton (AHL), where he scored a career-high 18 goals and had 36 points, one shy of his career high (37 with Rockford, 2007-08) … had no points and five penalty minutes in seven games with the Canadiens … hasn’t recorded a point in the NHL since the 2011-12 season (two goals, four points in a career-high 39 games)

D Carlo Colaiacovo (31), St. Louis – 401 games

Carlo Colaiacovo

(2002-04, 2005-14)
* Played in 25 games, and was a healthy scratch numerous times … has one goal, four points, a minus-4 rating and 18 penalty minutes this season … has played in 31 games the past two seasons after topping the 60-game mark every year from 2008-12 … has 20 games of playoff experience, including nine with Detroit a season ago

Jordan Nolan

C Jordan Nolan (24), Los Angeles – 134 games (2011-14)
* Set career highs with six goals, 10 points, 54 penalty minutes and 64 games in his first full season with the Kings … made his playoff debut a season ago (no points, no penalty minutes in seven games) … played in his 100th career game Dec. 21 against Colorado … son of Buffalo Sabres head coach Ted Nolan

F Ryan O’Reilly (23), Colorado – 345 games

Ryan O'Reilly

(2009-14)
* Led the Avalanche with 28 goals, third with 64 points and fourth with 36 assists … set career highs in goals and points, and was one assist shy of matching his season best (37 in 2011-12) … nearly became the first player in NHL history to finish a season without any penalty minutes … had two PIMs this season and eight in the past three seasons

Michael Rupp

LW Mike Rupp (34), Minnesota – 610 games (2002-04, 2005-14)
* Played in only 13 games this season, partly because he was recovering from offseason knee injury … has to serve the final three games of a four-game suspension for a hit to St. Louis center T.J. Oshie’s head last week … has played in 58 NHL games the past two seasons after playing in 60 or more every year from 2006-12
Note: Detroit C Riley Sheahan, 22, was the Otters’ fourth-round pick in the 2007 OHL Priority Selection, but never signed with the club. 

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