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Cullen: Datsyuk, Doughty turn in dominant performances

Scott Cullen
4/17/2011 2:16:27 AM
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Pavel Datsyuk had a defining game, scoring four points to start Saturday's action, and Drew Doughty capped the day with his own four-pointer to give the Kings an impressive win at San Jose.

DETROIT-PHOENIX
Pavel Datsyuk put on a show, scoring a goal and adding three assists to help the Wings jump out to 4-0 lead that they almost frittered away with penalties.

Shane Doan, Radim Vrbata and Keith Yandle each had three points for the Coyotes, contributing on all three Phoenix goals -- all on the power play -- so, despite their three-point games, Doan and Yandle both finished minus-2.

Through the first two games of the series, Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov has stopped 59 of 67 shots on goal for an .881 save percentage.  Obviously, he has to be better if the Coyotes are going to have a chance of getting back into the series, but it's also a credit to Wings' crease-crasher Tomas Holmstrom, who has three points in the first two games.

PHILADELPHIA-BUFFALO
This game was marred by a ridiculous number of penalties -- 15 power plays between the two teams -- but the Flyers secured a much-needed victory.

It didn't come without its troubles, as goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled in favour of Brian Boucher after the Sabres' third goal.  It wouldn't be much of a surprise if Boucher got the call to start Game Three.

Glaude Giroux led Flyers forwards with 21:22 ice time, had a goal and an assist and was plus-2.  James van Riemsdyk scored and had an impressive all-around game; he looks like he could be taking the next step in his development, if he can string together more efforts like this one.

Andrej Meszaros led all Flyers with 26:07 time on ice, had two assists and was plus-2.

Danny Syvret played just 4:58 on D, which was a little reminiscent of last year's playoffs, when Flyers couldn't trust their third pairing, yet they're still playing Syvret ahead of Nick Boynton and Matt Walker.

Buffalo's Thomas Vanek scored a pair of goals, both on the power play, so he ended up minus-2.

One of the more compelling images from the game was when 5-foot-5 Sabres winger Nathan Gerbe body-slammed Giroux to the ice during a fracas behind the Buffalo net, yet after taking a double-minor penalty in that instance and because he wasn't getting power play time in a game full of penalties, Gerbe was limited to a paltry 6:30 of ice time for the game.

Going home to Buffalo with the series even, the Sabres still hold an advantage, particularly when it appears that Flyers defenceman Chris Pronger will remain out of the lineup.

BOSTON-MONTREAL
Carey Price stopped 34 of 35 shots to backstop the Canadiens to the win but, for the second straight game, he didn't appear to be under too much duress.

Part of the reason that Price has been successful is that the Canadiens blocked 27 shots  (to Bruins' eight), led by Hal Gill, who had five blocks and ranked second on the Habs in ice time at 24:46 (P.K. Subban was over 27 minutes again).  Gill played more than 24:46 in a game three times all season.

Gill and Subban have done a masterful job against the Bruins' top line.  David Krejci and Milan Lucic each played more than 22 minutes and, combined with Nathan Horton, managed a total of five shots on goal -- not enough from a number one line.

The story of the game, at least from Boston's point of view, was the absence of Zdeno Chara, who was dehydrated due to a virus.  Johnny Boychuk (20:54) and Dennis Seidenberg (26:40) were both minus-2 for the Bruins.

Patrice Bergeron led Boston with six shots on goal, and scored the Bruins' lone goal, yet only played 16:21.  Is he hurt?  If he isn't, shouldn't he be playing more?   

SAN JOSE-LOS ANGELES
The Sharks laid an egg and the Kings got a performance for the ages out of defenceman Drew Doughty, who was in on evey Kings goal, tallying two goals and two assists.

Jonathan Quick had 34 saves for the shutout but, not unlike Price, didn't face unbearable pressure.

Los Angeles also got two points from defenceman Jack Johnson and rookie winger Kyle Clifford.  For a team missing their leading scorer, they're going to need those contributions to continue.

San Jose's big guns -- Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley -- combined for five shots on goal.  They're not playing on the same line, at even strength, but if they're not contributing, it's easy to see why the Sharks couldn't muster any offence.  The Sharks were also 0-for-5 on the power play, while Los Angeles went 2-for-6.

So, the series that was supposed to be the biggest mismatch of the first round has the underdog Kings going back home after a split in San Jose.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.




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