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Cullen: Notes on Fraser, Murray, Carter, Vatanen, more

Scott Cullen
5/9/2014 2:00:17 AM
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The Boston Bruins got a huge overtime goal from an unlikely source, and the Anaheim Ducks got on the board against the Los Angeles Kings. Notes on Fraser, Murray, Vanek, Carter, Vatanen, Andersen and more.

FRASER THE OT HERO FOR BRUINS

The Montreal Canadiens had an opportunity to take a 3-1 series lead against the favoured Boston Bruins with Game Four headed to overtime scoreless. Then, Bruins rookie LW Matt Fraser knocked a loose puck into the net to give the Bruins a 1-0 win, tying the series at two games apiece.

Fraser, a 24-year-old winger called up to replace demoted winger Justin Florek, had three goals and five points in 27 career NHL games, but has been an effective scorer in the AHL, scoring 90 goals in 179 AHL games over the past three seasons. Fraser, who was acquired from Dallas as part of the Tyler Seguin trade, joined Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson on a Bruins third line that dominated play, the trio on the ice for more than 70% of 5-on-5 shot attempts, led by Fraser at 74.1%.

Canadiens D P.K. Subban played 22:52, the first time under 26 minutes in this series, yet 1:19 into overtime, when Fraser scored, the Habs had the pairing of Douglas Murray and Mike Weaver on defence and that should have been an indication of trouble. That pairing was obliterated in terms of puck possession, on the ice for four shot attempts for and 20 against.

Francis Bouillon wasn't great for Montreal, but he's been more effective than Murray, who has been on ice for 12 shot attempts for and 42 against (22.2 Corsi%) in two games.

While we're pointing out troubling signs for the Canadiens, RW Thomas Vanek didn't have a single shot attempted in 16:09 of ice time. The only other Canadiens to get zero shot attempts were Daniel Briere, who played a game-low 8:02, and Weaver. Montreal's leader in shot attempts was captain Brian Gionta, with eight.

Boston's leader, in terms of shot attempts, was D Dougie Hamilton, who had eight in 23:28, his second-highest ice time of the playoffs.

If the Canadiens are going to pull off this series upset, they are really going to have to earn it. The series is even even though the Bruins have held the lead for less than four minutes in four games. That's not to say that the Bruins haven't been the better team -- they've controlled more of the play -- but this series was there for the taking and now it's a best-of-three with two games in Boston.

DUCKS GET ON THE BOARD

 

The Anaheim Ducks got a late second-period goal from Teemu Selanne, then needed a late third-period marker from Ben Lovejoy to ultimately give them a 3-2 lead in Game Three against the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings now lead the series two games to one.

The Kings held a possession edge throughout the game, particularly taking advantage against the Ducks' line of Mathieu Perreault, Patrick Maroon and Teemu Selanne, a trio that was on the ice for 22.2% or less of 5-on-5 shot attempts. At the same time, Maroon set up Anaheim's first goal, on the power play and, as noted, Selanne scored a crucial go-ahead goal.

Anaheim was forced to turn to G Jonas Hiller for the last 9:58 of the third period, as starter Frederik Andersen left with a lower-body injury. Andersen had stopped 22 of 23 shots when he got hurt.

Jeff Carter led the Kings with a goal and an assist, four shots on goal and seven shot attempts, though Carter and linemates Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli started more than 80% of their shifts in the offensive zone, so they were tilted in that direction. For the Ducks, it was Ryan Getzlaf, who had an assist, four shots and seven attempts.

The Ducks inserted D Sami Vatanen into the lineup, playing the Finnish rookie 20:19; only Francois Beauchemin played more among Anaheim defencemen. There's a reasonable argument to be made that, although undersized, Vatanen should already be handling regular minutes on the Ducks' blueline, rather than toiling in the minors waiting for a call-up when the team is in trouble.

After dropping the first two games of the series at home, the Ducks desperately needed to get a positive result in Game Three. It wasn't easy, and they lost their starting goaltender in the process, but their win makes the Freeway Series much more interesting heading towards Game Four.

 

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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