Quarter finals of the IIHF, AHL Conference Finals begin and a few more entry-level contracts signed…
Auston Matthews scores the game tying goal for the USA and also scored the shootout winner, upsetting Group A’s first place team, Czech Republic. A beautiful goal. (below is the highlight of his goal and shootout goal) Once again, @myregularface kills it with every highlight for every hockey game. Give her a follow if you can’t watch the game live on tv, just go on her twitter feed.
Not all the credit can be given to Matthews for the victory, Keith Kinkaid (NJD) was outstanding, the Americans have pretty bad goaltending numbers, but Kinkaid stepped up in the right game. He stopped every shot faced, 26, except the penalty shot by Tomas Zohorna. Kinkaid stopped all three shootout attempts to help the USA to a 2-1 victory over the Czech Republic.
Not to be outdone, Patrik Laine sniped one on Danish netminder Sebastian Dahm. (highlight below) Laine has outscored Matthews, both have played eight games, Laine (7-4-11) and Matthews (5-3-8). Finland defeated the Danish 5-1 to move into the semifinals.
It was mentioned on twitter (courtesy Michael Traikos) that Mike Babcock was watching the Finland-Denmark game, cue the conspiracy theorists suggesting Leafs could select Laine. Just hold on one second, Canada plays Sweden in the same barn, Yubileiny Sports Palace in St. Petersburg, later in the day. Mark Hunter was tuned into the games happening in Moscow. The Leafs are obviously doing their due diligence watching both Laine and Matthews. It is crazy to think this was a three horse race, what happened to Jesse Puljujarvi? He tore up the U18 World Championships and helped Finland take the title, but wasn’t added to the Finnish World Championship roster, which is why he is the forgotten man. I’m sure Columbus will be happy with Puljujarvi ‘falling’ to them at No.3.
Canada defeated Sweden 6-0, not many prospects playing in this game, Sam Reinhart (BUF) would be closest thing to a prospect, Reinhart setup Max Domi to go up 4-0 in the second period. Canada dominated the Swedish team. Cam Talbot stays hot, shuting out the Swedes stopping all 28 shots on net.
Vadim Shipachyov (Unsigned) is the leading scorer (8-5-11) of the World Championship with another two goals and an assist in the quarterfinal battle between Russia and Germany. Shipachyov has been rumoured to make the jump west to the NHL. Evgeni Kuznetsov was quoted calling him the ‘Russian Crosby’, mainly because Vadim also wears number 87, also born in 1987. The 29-year-old Russian is playing on a line with Artemi Panarin and St. Petersburg teammate Evgeni Dadonov (CAR). All three played for St. Petersburg two years agao before Panarin signed with the Blackhawks. The entry-level contract restrictions won’t apply to Shipachyov due to his age, so it will depend if a team is ready to sign him and if Vadim is ready to come across the pond. Keep him on your watch list, it will depend on what team signs him, but he could do what Panarin did this past season.
World Championship semifinals are set; Undefeated Finland against the hot Russian squad and the high octane Team Canada against the (I guess Cinderella team of this tournament) fourth ranked in Group B, Team USA. Those games are being played Saturday morning and afternoon.
Goaltender Adam Vay (MIN) signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Wild, Vay played for Hungary in this year’s IIHF World Championships, he played three games and stopped 91 of 100 shots faced (.910 SV%).
Martin Reway (MTL) signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Canadiens, find more information in his Dobber Prospect profile.
Defensemen Jacob Larsson (ANA) has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Ducks, check out his profile and get his fantasy outlook.
The AHL Conference finals are starting Friday evening, Toronto Marlies squeaked out a Game 7 victory over the Albany Devils (NJD). Kudos to the Devils pushing the 54 win Marlies to seven games, Reid Boucher (NJD) finished with 10 points (4-6) in 11 playoff games and lead Albany in playoff scoring. Marlies leading scorer Connor Carrick (TOR) has 14 points (6-8) in 10 games played. Carrick will play his former team, Hershey Bears in the Eastern Conference final. He played 133 games over the past three seasons with the Bears, scoring 72 points (0.54 pts/gp pace). Carrick leads the entire AHL in playoff scoring right now. The next three on the playoff leader list are all from WBS Penguins, Jake Guentzel (5-9-14), Tom Kostopoulos (5-7-12) and Carter Rowney (4-8-12). The baby Pens took the Bears to seven games and overtime in that seventh game, the addition of Guentzel for the last 11 regular season games, and the 10 games played in the playoffs. Guentzel used his amateur tryout contract wisely and should be signed to a professional contract in the off-season. The Bears are led by rookie Jakub Vrana (WSH) four goals and five assists in 12 games played and goaltender Justin Peters (WSH) (7-4 record, 1.78 GAA and .935 SV%).
The Western Conference final pits Ontario Reign (LAK) and Lake Erie Monsters (CBJ) against each other. The Ontario Reign are led by NHL journeymen goaltender Peter Budaj who is 7-2 in the playoffs, with a 1.73 GAA and .918 SV%. The Monsters mid-season addition Zach Werenski (CBJ) continues to tear it up (4-6-10) and will most likely be a Blue Jacket next season.
Don’t forget Memorial Cup starts Friday, for all your information on players to watch, check Tuesday’s ramblings from Peter Harling. There are a lot of players in this tournament that are draft eligible or top prospects on NHL teams. All of the games can be watched on National television, Sportsnet in Canada and NHLNetwork in the United States.
Continuing my CHL predictions, my record for all the league playoffs is 28-17. I believe the Huskies are going to win the Memorial Cup over the London Knights in the finals. I think Red Deer will be in tough hosting this tournament, the three league champs are very good well balanced teams.
Don’t forget you are able to pre-order the Prospect Report, Fantasy Guide and two fantasy packs in the DobberHockey SHOP. Get a step ahead of your fantasy competition with all of these reports and guides.
Feel free to leave comments, questions or concerns below, have fun playing the game of Fantasy Hockey.