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Cullen: Halak, Cammalleri, Pavelski Come Up Big

Scott Cullen
5/3/2010 9:03:37 AM
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More of the same for the Montreal Canadiens and something a little different for the San Jose Sharks.

THE STOPPER
The Jaroslav Halak show continued, as Halak stopped 38 of 39 Penguins shots to even the series.  This brings out one of my favourite stats from this season, and one that's been updated several times throughout these playoffs, and that is that Halak has a 14-0-1 record in games this season in which he has at least 35 saves. 

That doesn't mean it's any kind of strategic play by Montreal to give up so many shots, but it's evidence that Halak can rise to the occasion when facing a heavy workload.

Good news for Montreal that, of the 39 shots, only one came from Sidney Crosby

Mike Cammalleri's superb playoffs continued, as he buried goals seven and eight of the postseason.  His first was a spectacular bit of hand-eye coordination, taking a puck that had bounced off his skate and batting it out of midair, about chest height, before Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury could do anything about it.

Coming off a road win, there's not much to complain about for Montreal, but the lineup selection was odd, as Mathieu Darche, Ben Maxwell and Andrei Kostitsyn all played fewer than two minutes in the entire game after a defensive letdown on the Penguins goal.

P.K. Subban's impact just keeps growing, as he played 23:17, his most thus far and, with an assist, he now has three points in four playoff games.  Given the injuries that Montreal has on defence, Subban should stay in a top-four role.

CUP OF JOE
Is this a different Sharks team than in disappointing years past?

If there's anyone that exemplifies how different these Sharks might be, it has to be Joe Pavelski, who had two goals, three points and 11 shots in Game Two against Detroit.

Pavelski leads the playoffs with nine goals in eight games and his ability to ramp up his game has taken loads of pressure off Joe Thornton, who scored the winning goal and set up Pavelski's game-tying goal on a 5-on-3 power play in the third period.

Thornton's goal was his first of the playoffs and he's still a minus-4 in the postseason, but his first two games against Detroit have been better than his performances in Round One.

Penalties were obviously an issue in the game, as San Jose had ten turns on the power play, on some penalties which will be charitably classified as questionable.  The Wings didn't give up more than six power plays in a game all season and last game up double-digit power plays in a game in October 2007.

Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg was a dominant player in the first round, but he's off to a slow start in this series, with no points and a minus-1 rating. 

Some of this may fall on linemates Todd Bertuzzi and Valtteri Filppula but the Wings are used to counting on Zetterberg's line to win head-to-head matchups against some of the best lines in the league and it hasn't happened yet against San Jose.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@ctv.ca and followed at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen.



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