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Dan's Thought of the Day - 5/26/2014

Monday, 05.26.2014 / 12:47 PM
By Dan Rusanowsky - Sharks Broadcaster / Great White Bites
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Dan\'s Thought of the Day - 5\/26\/2014

I don’t think that there is anyone who believes that the NHL’s conference final series are “over,” but everyone must agree that the hockey that is being played is absolutely spectacular.

The sight of Martin St. Louis taking advantage of an opportunity and scoring a superbly placed OT game-winner for the New York Rangers against Montreal certainly was inspirational for Gotham hockey fans.

Meanwhile, in the LA-Chicago series, the Blackhawks made it close the night before, but the Los Angeles Kings got a big goal from Drew Doughty in the third period and took a 2-1 series lead in their 4-3 victory.

One of the interesting notes about the Kings and the Rangers is that they’re the only teams in the NHL with 50 or more post-season games played in the last three seasons. As of today, here are the top 10 post-season teams in that time span, arranged by winning percentage:

RANK TEAM GP W L PCT GF GA SERIES W L PCT BEST RESULT
1 LOS ANGELES 55 35 20 0.636 150 109 9 8 1 0.889 Won Stanley Cup
2 CHICAGO 44 27 17 0.614 119 103 7 6 1 0.857 Won Stanley Cup
3 BOSTON 41 24 17 0.585 110 89 7 4 3 0.571 Lost Final
4 NEW JERSEY 24 14 10 0.583 60 58 4 3 1 0.75 Lost Final
5 PHOENIX 16 9 7 0.563 37 35 3 2 1 0.667 Lost Conference Final
6 N.Y. RANGERS 50 26 24 0.52 118 107 7 5 2 0.714 Conference Final
7 ANAHEIM 20 10 10 0.5 56 55 3 1 2 0.333 Lost Round 2
8 MONTREAL 20 10 10 0.5 53 61 3 2 1 0.667 Conference Final
9 NASHVILLE 10 5 5 0.5 22 21 2 1 1 0.5 Lost Round 2
10 PITTSBURGH 34 17 17 0.5 110 103 6 3 3 0.5 Lost Conference Final

It really is amazing to note that both Los Angeles and New York are playing fresh hockey, even though they’ve endured so many grueling games over these past three playoff campaigns. They each have played in more than 50 post-season contests in that time span. Chicago has also played in 44 playoff games, while the Canadiens have 20. San Jose, by the way, has played in 23 playoff games, 8th most in the NHL since the 2011-12 season.

The remaining teams are all strong in goal. With Carey Price out the Canadiens have been going with Dustin Tokarski, who won the Memorial Cup in 2008 and MVP honors with Spokane, won the World Junior Tournament for Canada in 2009, and added the Calder Cup championship in 2012 with the Norfolk Admirals to his resume. Jonathan Quick and Corey Crawford have Stanley Cup championships, and are looking for another, while Henrik Lundqvist is an elite netminder looking for his first Stanley Cup crown.

All four teams have excellent defensemen who are firmly in the prime of their NHL careers. All have been doing an admirable job in both ends of the rink. When considering this position, think Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Ryan McDonagh, and P.K. Subban.

Up front, each team is configured slightly differently, but even though the road has been grueling, players like Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Martin St. Louis, Brad Richards, Thomas Vanek, and Lars Eller have been making tremendous offensive contributions.

The role players, as is usually the case with teams that advance this far, are all significant with the four clubs.

Here is a tip of the hat to the NHL and the clubs still competing for the Stanley Cup. It’s been quite an amazing ride for them. I’m Dan Rusanowsky, for sjsharks.com.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 65 41 17 7 193 158 89
2 ANA 65 41 17 7 193 178 89
3 STL 63 40 18 5 197 159 85
4 CHI 64 38 21 5 188 152 81
5 WPG 64 32 20 12 179 172 76
6 VAN 63 36 24 3 182 173 75
7 MIN 63 34 22 7 179 163 75
8 CGY 63 34 25 4 178 162 72
9 LAK 63 30 21 12 171 164 72
10 SJS 65 32 25 8 185 183 72
11 DAL 64 28 26 10 199 212 66
12 COL 63 27 25 11 167 182 65
13 ARI 64 20 37 7 139 218 47
14 EDM 64 18 36 10 145 213 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 65 32 28 14 60
L. Couture 65 22 33 1 55
J. Thornton 61 12 43 1 55
B. Burns 65 16 32 -1 48
P. Marleau 65 15 33 -14 48
T. Wingels 58 13 16 -3 29
T. Hertl 65 10 15 -1 25
M. Vlasic 60 8 12 14 20
M. Nieto 55 6 14 -8 20
J. Braun 54 1 19 7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 25 17 7 .913 2.61
A. Stalock 6 7 1 .904 2.66
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