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Subject: 2015-16 NHL Playoffs (Alternate Version) with In The Crease Hockey rss

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David Arlington
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This series of posts will consist of crossposts from the Solitaire Games on Your Tabletop November 2016 GeekList.

Since it's the start of hockey season and In The Crease (not sure why the BGG entry is called "Inside" the Crease...) 2015-16 season set just game out, I have decided to replay the 2015-2016 playoffs but with a twist.



FIRST, in keeping with the theme of the month, the opening round will be Best of FIVE, not seven. That means first team to win THREE games will advance to the next round.

But that's not the only twist. For two seasons only, way back in 1980 and 1981, the NHL came up with what I believe was their best all-time Stanley Cup Playoffs format. Instead of teams facing off by divisions and conferences, they were ranked 1-16 according to points. Team #1 played Team #16, #2 played #15, etc. The first round was a Best of 5, all the rest were Best of 7. One of the things that has always bugged me about the NHL playoffs was that long time rivals or storied franchises or even just sometimes, the best two teams in the league could never meet in the Finals to play for the Stanley Cup.

In recent years, wouldn't it have been cool to see Los Angeles and Chicago possibly play for the Stanley Cup? Or seeing Edmonton meet Calgary in the Finals in the mid-80s? Montreal-Boston? Chicago-St.Louis? Doesn't it suck to have your team in certain divisions where they get knocked out in Round 1 or 2 just because they play in a strong division? Shouldn't they be rewarded instead of punished?

The only caveat I have to the 1-16 ranking is that all division winners will be seeded in positions 1-4 to give those teams some reward for winning their division. So, for 15-16, Florida and Anaheim are going to bump St.Louis, Pittsburgh and Chicago all down a couple spots in the 1-16 ranking.

Anyway, here are the opening round Best of 5 matchups. The only one that repeats a real opening round series is the Anaheim-Nashville series. And if that one had been a Best of 5 instead of a Best of 7, maybe Bruce Boudreau would still have a job in Anaheim! AND... the Pittsburgh Penguins meet the San Jose Sharks in the first round instead of the Finals!

Washington Capitals vs Minnesota Wild
Dallas Stars vs Detroit Red Wings
Florida Panthers vs Philadelphia Flyers
Anaheim Ducks vs Nashville Predators
St.Louis Blues vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Pittsburgh Penguins vs San Jose Sharks
Chicago Black Hawks vs New York Islanders
Los Angeles Kings vs New York Rangers


GAME 1: Minnesota at Washington:





The Minnesota Wild give the Captials a scare for two periods, leading 1-0 after 1 and 2-1 after two with two goals from third and fourth line players offsettin an Alex Ovechkin breakaway goal. But four goals in the third period by the Caps key a 5-3 win with defenseman John Carlson scoring two goals in the third to give Washington the lead for good. Ovechkin adds a second goal as well for an insurance marker. Caps lead the series 1-0.

Scoring: 1 2 3 Tot
Minnesota 1 1 1 3
Washington 0 1 4 5

First Period:
Min.
Porter 1 (Stoll, Dumba) 4:41

Second Period:
Wsh.
Ovechkin 1 (Niskanen, Backstrom) 1:36
Min. Carter 1 5:02

Third Period:
Wsh.
Carlson 1 (Wilson) 5:30
Wsh. Carlson 2 (Oshie) 12:36
Wsh. Orlov 1 (Winnick) GWG 14:19
Min. Coyle 1 (Scandella, Niederreiter) 16:44
Wsh. Ovechkin 2 (Backstrom, Niskanen) 18:10

Shots: 1 2 3 Tot
Minnesota 8 15 4 27
Washington 9 7 9 25

pp Min 0-1 Was 0-0

Min Dubnyk (20-25) Was Holtby (24-27)

THREE STARS: 1) John Carlson, Wsh. 2) Alex Ovechkin, Wsh. 3) Charlie Coyle, Min.

Washington Capitals lead Series A 1-0
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This is game 2 of an opening round Best of Five series (first team to win THREE games - this month's theme - advances) of my "alternate version" of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs where teams are matched up by #1 to #16 across the whole league by points rather than by division/conference.

The opening series is the Washington Capitals (#1) versus the Minnesota Wild (#16). Washington won Game One by a 5-3 score.

GAME 2: Minnesota at Washington:



The Wild shock the Captials in Game 2 with a 5-1 win. Minnesota scores three goals in the first period on just 9 shots. Mikko Koivu scores on the Wild's first shot on goal. Charlie Porter, who had all of four goals in 61 games in the regular season, gets his second in two games to put the Wild up 2-0 and Nino Niederreiter makes it 3-0 after one.

When defenseman Matthew Dumba blows one by Braden Holtby from the blue line just nine seconds into the second period for a 4-0 Wild lead, that's enough for coach Barry Trotz, as he brings in Phillip Grubauer for Holtby for the remainder of the game. Grubauer only gives up 1 more on 14 shots, but only T.J. Oshie can score for the Caps, so it's too little, too late.

The teams head back to Minnesota XCel Energy Center for two games with the series tied at one game apiece.


Scoring: 1 2 3 Tot
Minnesota 3 1 1 5
Washington 0 1 0 1

First Period:
Min.
Koivu 1 (Granlund, Dumba) 1:19
Min. Porter 2 (Fontaine, Suter) GWG 13:05
Min. Niederreiter 1 (Zucker, Scandella) 17:03

Second Period:
Min.
Dumba 1 (Koivu) 0:09
Wsh. Oshie 1 (Carlson, Ovechkin) 18:44

Third Period:
Min.
Pominville 1 (Granlund) 19:51

Shots: 1 2 3 Tot
Minnesota 9 8 7 24
Washington 9 10 11 30

pp Min 0-1 Was 0-1

Min Dubnyk (29-30) Was Holtby (6-10) 20 min.; Grubauer (13-14) 40 min.

THREE STARS: 1) Mikko Koivu Min. 2) Matthew Dumba Min. 3) Nino Niederreiter, Min.

Series A tied 1-1
 
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This is game 3 of an opening round Best of Five series (first team to win THREE games - this month's theme - advances) of my "alternate version" of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs where teams are matched up by #1 to #16 across the whole league by points rather than by division/conference.

The opening series is the Washington Capitals (#1) versus the Minnesota Wild (#16). Washington won Game One by a 5-3 score, the Wild came back to win Game 2 by a 5-1 score. Both games were in Washington. Now we head to Minnesota for the next two games.

GAME 3: Washington at Minnesota:



The 16th seeded Minnesota Wild put the President's Trophy winning 1st seed Washington Capitals on the ropes in this opening Best of Five series with another impressive win. They are one win away from a huge upset. Once again, Devan Dubnyk outplays Braden Holtby in the nets, and the Minnesota defense is strong, holding the Caps big guns off the scoresheet. The Capitals only goal comes at the very end of a power play shift when a frustrated Barry Trotz has Mike Richards (all of 2 goals scored in the regular season) out to take a faceoff and right off the faceoff, Richards scores unassisted to give the Caps a 1-0 lead. That is wiped out in the next three minutes as the Wild score two goals in a minute and a half, the second one being their own power play goal to give them a lead they would not relinquish. The Capitals would take too many penalties in this game, giving up five power play chances. Sure, the Wild only scored once, but that was 10 minutes out of 60 that the Capitals would play down a man when they needed to score goals. The Wild also got another strong game from third line D-man, Matthew Dumba, who was fifth of six in ice time for D-men for Minnesota, but still managed six shots on goal.

The Wild now have a 2-1 series lead and can eliminate the Capitals in the next game on their home ice. But as we all know, that last win can be the hardest one to get!


Scoring: 1 2 3 Tot
Washington 0 1 0 1
Minnesota 0 2 1 3

First Period:
No Scoring.

Second Period:
Wsh.
Richarcs 1 PPG 7:34
Min. Granlund 1 (Koivu, Pominville) 9:00
Min. Coyle 1 (Spurgeon, Zucker) PPG GWG 10:25

Third Period:
Min.
Suter 1 (Jones, Carter) 14:20

Shots: 1 2 3 Tot
Washington 11 8 9 28
Minnesota 10 13 7 30

pp Was 1-3 Min 1-5

Was Holtby (27-30) 59 min. Min Dubnyk (27-28)

THREE STARS: 1) Devan Dubnyk Min. 2) Charlie Coyle Min. 3) Matthew Dumba, Min.

Minnesota Wild lead Series A 2-1
 
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This is game 4 of an opening round Best of Five series (first team to win THREE games - this month's theme - advances) of my "alternate version" of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs where teams are matched up by #1 to #16 across the whole league by points rather than by division/conference.



The opening series is the Washington Capitals (#1) versus the Minnesota Wild (#16). Washington won Game One by a 5-3 score, the Wild came back to win Game 2 by a 5-1 score, and Game 3 in Minnesota by a 3-1 score. The Caps need to win this game to take the series back to Washington for a Game 5.

GAME 4: Washington at Minnesota:



Man, I dreaded posting the results of this game because not only do I really empathize with Washington Capitals fans (heck, I'm a St.Louis Blues fan, so I share all your pain!) but as my first chance at exposing this game a little more widely to the BGG audience, I come up with a series result that seems to fly in the face of what one would expect of the real life results from this series would be. I'll have some notes that address the latter discrepancy at the end of this post.

As you can probably guess by that opening paragraph, there isn't going to be any Game 5 back in Washington as the Minnesota Wild win their third straight game and #16 knocks out #1 in four games with a 6-2 win at home. More of the same from the last two Minnesota wins. Braden Holtby did not play up to snuff, Wild scored goals way over their heads and the Capitals took too many penalties.

Bad omen when Jason Pominville scores just 23 seconds in for a 1-0 Wild lead a few seconds after Devan Dubnyk robs Alex Ovechkin on a chance shortly after the opening tip. Eric Haula (pictured above) scores to make it 2-0 and Ryan Carter's 2nd of the playoffs makes it 3-0 after 20 minutes. It's 5-0 after two when Mikko Koivu scores on the power play and David Jones, picked up in a late season trade with Calgary, gets one late. The Caps make a brief bit of noise in the third period with goals from TJ Oshie and Markus Johansson to make the score 5-2, but Jared Stoll caps (no pun intended) the scoring with an insurance marker for the 6-2 final score.

The Minnesota Wild eliminate the Washington Capitals 3 games to 1 and move to the second round. The next playoff series in this thread will be the #2 Dallas Stars taking on the #15 Detroit Red Wings in another best of five series.


Scoring: 1 2 3 Tot
Washington 0 0 0 2
Minnesota 3 2 1 6

First Period:
Min.
Pominville 2 (Granlund, Dumba) 0:23
Min. Haula 1 (Scandella, D.Jones) 11:42
Min. Carter 2 (Haula, Dumba) GWG 14:24

Second Period:
Min.
Koivu 2 (Dumba, Pominville) PPG 1:27
Min. D.Jones 1 (Haula, Carter) 5:13

Third Period:
Wsh.
Oshie 2 (Backstrom, Ovechkin) 4:07
Wsh. Johansson 1 (Alzner, Orpik) 10:16
Min. Stoll 1 (Spurgeon) 11:08

Shots: 1 2 3 Tot
Washington 9 9 5 23
Minnesota 9 14 10 33

pp Was 0-0 Min 1-3

Was Holtby (27-33) Min Dubnyk (21-23)

THREE STARS: 1) Eric Haula Min. 2) Matthew Dumba Min. 3) Ryan Carter, Min.

MINNESOTA WILD WIN SERIES A 3-1


SERIES WRAPUP: Although this is my first In The Crease series posted to BGG, I've played a lot of ITC over the years and I can tell you this really IS an upset, rather than that the game does not generate realistic results.

What was really mystifying to me, game after game, was Braden Holtby's bad play in goal for Washington. His card in the game is definitely better than Devan Dubnyk's goaltending card with better ratings. But while Dubnyk almost perfectly captured his real life play (.915 save percentage, 2.25 GA in this series versus .918, 2.33 in real life), Holtby was only .840 save percentage and 4.82 GA. It wasn't so much Minnesota was a high powered offense, no one on the team scored more than two goals over the four games, just Holtby giving up too many chances for goals.

In real life, the Caps and Wild met twice in 2015-16 with the Caps winning both by just one goal margins. The Wild COULD score against good teams last year. They beat Chicago all four games and scored 17 goals against the Black Hawks (including games with 5 goals and 6 goals) just as they did against the Caps here.

Third line defenseman, Matthew Dumba played way over his head in the series for Minnesota. He was named one of the Three Stars three times in four games and finished the series with a goal and four assists and 16 shots on goal in four games with third line minutes.

Oh well, onto Dallas and Detroit! Will it be another upset in the making?

Dave
 
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This is game 1 of an opening round Best of Five series (first team to win THREE games advances) of my "alternate version" of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs where teams are matched up by #1 to #16 across the whole league by points rather than by division/conference.



This series is the Dallas Stars (#2) versus the Detroit Red Wings (#15). They met twice during the regular season with Detroit winning in Dallas and Dallas winning in Detroit. Despite his appearance in the photo above, Stars superstar, Tyler Seguin, won't be playing in Game 1 in the series. While I am using alternative matchups in this project, I am still using (where possible) real life lineups and injuries and suspensions. So no Seguin for game 1

GAME 1: Detroit at Dallas:



This game was a close defensive scoreless battle for two periods. The Red Wings get on the scoreboard first in the third period when Dylan Larkin scores a power play goal off a pass from Kyle Quincey at 5:21. The Stars waste no time answering that goal as Patrick Eaves scores on a breakaway to tie the score just 36 seconds after Larkin's goal.

It looks like the game might be heading to overtime when Jonathan Ericsson takes a late penalty and puts Dallas on the power play looking for the game winner. But there's wrench in the works when ace penalty killer Luke Glendening scores a short handed goal with 2:41 left in the game. The Stars pull Lehtonen in the final minute to try to tie the game, but Justin Abdelkader puts one in the empty net and Detroit takes game 1 in Dallas by a 3-1 final score to lead the best of five series 1-0.


Scoring: 1 2 3 Tot
Detroit 0 0 3 3
Dallas 0 0 1 1

First Period:
No Scoring.


Second Period:
No Scoring.


Third Period:
Det.
Larkin 1 (Quincey) PPG 5:21
Dal. Eaves 1 (Sceviour, Goligoski) 5:57
Det. Glendening 1 (Kronwall, Helm) SHG GWG 17:19
Det. Abdelkader 1 (Datsyuk, Green) ENG 19:28

Shots: 1 2 3 Tot
Detroit 11 9 8 28
Dallas 10 7 7 24

pp Det. 1-2, SHG Dal. 0-2

Det. Howard (23-24) Dal. Lehtonen (25-27), 59 min. ENG

THREE STARS: 1) Luke Glendening Det. 2) Jimmy Howard Det. 3) Justin Abdelkader, Det.

Detroit Red Wings lead Series B 1-0
 
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This is game 2 of an opening round Best of Five series (first team to win THREE games advances) of my "alternate version" of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs where teams are matched up by #1 to #16 across the whole league by points rather than by division/conference.

This series is the Dallas Stars (#2) versus the Detroit Red Wings (#15). They met twice during the regular season with Detroit winning in Dallas and Dallas winning in Detroit. After losing to Detroit in a close game in Game One of this series, the Stars have the good news of getting Tyler Seguin back for Game 2.

GAME 1: Detroit at Dallas:


(Jamie Benn scoring on Jimmy Howard in the third period.)

What a difference having a superstar player like Tyler Seguin in the lineup can make. For the first 36 minutes of this game, these two teams battled like they did in Game One for the first two periods, a scoreless game. But once Seguin got the Stars on the board with his goal at 16:39 of the second period, that seemed to fire up the whole team. And once Seguin set up Jamie Benn for the Stars second goal just 26 seconds into the third period for a 2-0 Dallas lead, the floodgates opened and the Stars started to play a lot more like the #2 team in the NHL last year. After getting 13 shots on goal combined in the first two periods, the Stars get 15 shots on net in the third period in this game.

The Dallas Stars put three more goals past Jimmy Howard in the third period and goalie Kari Lehtonen is perfect in nets, making 27 stops for a shutout as the Stars end up winning 5-0 to tie the series at one game apiece heading back to Detroit. Antoine Roussel, Patrick Sharp and Jason Spezza all score for Dallas in the third.


Scoring: 1 2 3 Tot
Detroit 0 0 0 0
Dallas 0 1 4 5

First Period:
No Scoring.


Second Period:
Dal.
Seguin 1 (Nichuskin, Jamie Benn) GWG 16:39

Third Period:
Dal.
Jamie Benn 1 (Seguin, Klingberg) 0:26
Dal. Roussel 1 (Eakin, Klingberg) 5:20
Dal. Sharp 1 (Spezza) 9:15
Dal. Spezza 1 (Hemsky, Demers) 9:39

Shots: 1 2 3 Tot
Detroit 10 7 10 27
Dallas 7 6 15 28

pp Det. 0-3, SHG Dal. 0-1

Det. Howard (23-28) Dal. Lehtonen (27-27)

THREE STARS: 1) Tyler Seguin Dal. 2) Jamie Benn Dal. 3) Kari Lehtonen, Dal.

Series B tied 1-1
 
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GAME 3: Dallas at Detroit:



Bad news for Dallas on a couple of lineup changes. After starring in Game 2 and leading his team to a win, Tyler Seguin is back OUT of the lineup for Game 3. After returning from an Achilles tendon injury, he hurt his calf on the same leg in Game 2. And although the Stars led the league in scoring in 2015-16, it's a bit deceptive as just 3 players (Jamie Benn, Seguin, Jason Spezza) accounted for 40% of those goals. Aside from those three players, no other Stars player had more than 20 goals. The other bad lineup change for Dallas is the Red Wings putting Peter Mrazek in goal in place of Jimmy Howard.

Between those two lineup changes, the Detroit Red Wings end up taking a 2-1 series lead on a 2-0 shutout win tonight in Detroit. The Wings D holds the Stars to just 18 shots on goal for the game and Mrazek stops all of them. Dylan Larkin scores his second goal of the playoffs in the second period for the game winner and Darren Helm adds an insurance goal.

Detroit is now one win away on home ice in Game 4 of being the second team to pull off a first round playoffs upset in as many series. (The Minnesota Wild knocking off the #1 seeded Capitals in the first series.)


Scoring: 1 2 3 Tot
Dallas 0 0 0 0
Detroit 0 2 0 2

First Period:
No Scoring.


Second Period:
Det.
Larkin 2 (Marchenko) GWG 3:47
Det. Helm 1 (Tatar, Ericsson) 15:54

Third Period:
No Scoring.


Shots: 1 2 3 Tot
Dallas 5 5 8 18
Detroit 11 9 4 24

pp Dal. 0-0 Det. 0-2

Dal. Lehtonen (22-24) Det. Mrazek (18-18)

THREE STARS: 1) Peter Mrazek Det. 2) Dylan Larkin Det. 3) Jonathan Ericsson Det.

Detroit Red Wings lead Series B 2-1
 
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GAME 4: Dallas at Detroit:



Although Kari Lehtonen has played well in goal for the Stars in the first three games (1.35 GAA, .945 save percentage), Stars coach Lindy Ruff makes the controversial decision to go with Antti Niemi in goal for tonight's game in a hope of energizing the rest of the team, who is still playing without superstar Tyler Seguin. They need a spark of some kind or their season is over tonight.

The teams play a scoreless first period for the fourth game in a row, but it's not long into the second period when Gustav Nyquist puts the Red Wings up 1-0 and sends the Joe Louis crowd into an uproar. Luke Glendening scores to make it 2-0 Detroit before the period is over and the Red Wings are 20 minutes from advancing with a 2 goal pad.

Early in the third period, Dallas finally scores their first goal in 111 minutes when Patrick Sharp scores a power play goal with Nik Kronwall in the sin bin. Can Dallas pull off the big comeback? 19 year old Dylan Larkin answers that question with a "NO!" with his game winning goal five minutes later. Justin Abdelkader (pictured above) gets an insurance goal and the series is over. Jamie Benn scores with 1:46 left in the game to make it 4-2 but Dallas cannot get any more goals. The Detroit Red Wings eliminate the Dallas Stars 3 games to 1 to move on to the second round. Young Dylan Larkin was the star of the game and the series, with three goals, 2 of which were game winners. The Stars were just not the same team without Seguin in the lineup.

NEXT SERIES: Philadelphia Flyers vs. Florida Panthers

Scoring: 1 2 3 Tot
Dallas 0 0 2 2
Detroit 0 2 2 4

First Period:
No Scoring.


Second Period:
Det.
Nyquist 1 (Sheahan, Larkin) 3:33
Det. Glendening 2 (Athanisiou, Ericsson) 16:56

Third Period:
Dal.
Sharp 2 (Klingberg, Spezza) PPG 1:23
Det. Larkin 3 GWG 6:10
Det. Abdelkader 2 (Ericsson) 9:54
Dal. Jamie Benn 2 18:14

Shots: 1 2 3 Tot
Dallas 7 12 15 34
Detroit 5 14 8 27

pp Dal. 1-5 Det. 0-1

Dal. Niemi (23-27) Det. Mrazek (32-34)

THREE STARS: 1) Dylan Larkin Det. 2) Peter Mrazek Det. 3) Jonathan Ericsson Det.

DETROIT RED WINGS WIN SERIES B 3-1
 
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This series is the Florida Panthers (#3) versus the Philadelphia Flyers (#14). They played three times during the regular season, with the Panthers winning twice. One of those Panthers wins was a shootout win so this was a pretty even matchup. The first two series saw the higher seed being upset. In real life, the favored Panthers were upset in the first round against the New York Islanders while the Flyers took the Capitals to 6 games before bowing out. Can Florida reverse the favored team losing the series trend or will they mimic their real life first round showing?

GAME 1: Philadelphia at Florida



The Panthers win Game One at home against the Flyers on the basis of the outstanding play in goal from goalie Roberto Luongo and a Gordie Howe hat trick from 22-year old Jonathan Huberdeau. (A Gordie Howe hat trick is when a player scores a goal and an assist AND gets in a fight.)

The previous series saw NO goals scored in the first period by either team in any of the four games. This first game of this series sees three goals scored in the first five minutes. Reilly Smith opens the scoring for the Panthers, but Sean Coturier and Sam Gagner answer for Philadelphia a 2-1 lead. Philadelphia would swarm the Florida net in the first period, putting 20 shots on Luongo.

But after those first two Flyers goals in the first five minutes of the game, Luongo shuts out the Flyers for the last 55 minutes, turning aside 44 of 46 total Flyers shots on goal for the game. Huberdeau would tie the game in the second period and Rocco Grimaldi from the checking line scores the game winning goal a few minutes later. Tempers would flare in the third period with Wayne Simmonds of the Flyers dropping gloves with Huberdeau. Brandon Manning and Erik Gudbranson would lock up later without throwing any punches. Alexsander Barkov gets an insurance goal with 1:09 to play on an assist from Huberdeau to complete his Gordie Howe HT. The Panthers lead the series 1-0 with Game 2 also in Florida.

Scoring: 1 2 3 Tot
Philadelphia 2 0 0 2
Florida 1 2 1 4

First Period:
Fla.
R.Smith 1 (Hudler) 3:02
Phi. Coturier 1 (Manning, VandeVelde) 3:41
Phi. Gagner 1 (Streit, Gostisbehere) 4:55

Second Period:
Fla.
Huberdeau 1 (Barkov, Campbell) 1:22
Fla. Grimaldi 1 (Kindl, Thornton) GWG 11:57

Third Period:
Fla.
Barkov 1 (Huberdeau, Kulikov) 18:51

Shots: 1 2 3 Tot
Philadelphia 20 14 12 46
Florida 10 14 15 39

pp Phi. 1-5 Fla. 0-3

Phi. Mason (35-39) Fla. Luongo (44-46)

THREE STARS: 1) Roberto Luongo, Fla. 2) Jonathan Huberdeau, Fla. 3) Alexsander Barkov, Fla.

Florida Panthers lead Series C 1-0
 
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GAME 2: Philadelphia at Florida



In a virtual repeat of the first game in the series, the Panthers win Game 2 of the series and put the Flyers on the brink of elimination with a 4-0 shutout win. While Roberto Luongo did not need to make 44 saves in this game, like Game One, he did turn EVERYTHING away this time. And Jonathan Huberdeau also was a major contributor like the first game, setting up linemates Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir Jagr with beautiful passes for goals. Jussi Jokinen and Nick Bjugstad also scored for the Panthers. The Flyers hurt themselves with penalties, giving up two power play goals on 4 shorthanded chances. The series also saw its first fight with Brandon Manning and Alex Petrovic dropping gloves in the third period.

The Panthers will now have a chance to eliminate Philadelphia in the next game back in Philly.

Scoring: 1 2 3 Tot
Philadelphia 0 0 0 0
Florida 1 1 2 4

First Period:
Fla.
Jokinen 1 (Hudler, Smith) PPG GWG 8:44

Second Period:
Fla.
Barkov 2 (Huberdeau, Gudbranson) 18:38

Third Period:
Fla.
Bjugstad 1 (Purcell, Petrovic) 8:38
Fla. Jagr 1 (Huberdeau, Campbell) PPG 12:16

Shots: 1 2 3 Tot
Philadelphia 5 13 10 28
Florida 7 15 9 31

pp Phi. 0-2 Fla. 2-4

Phi. Mason (27-31) Fla. Luongo (28-28)

THREE STARS: 1) Roberto Luongo, Fla. 2) Jonathan Huberdeau, Fla. 3) Alexsander Barkov, Fla.

Florida Panthers lead Series C 2-0
 
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This is game 3 of an opening round Best of Five series (first team to win THREE games advances) of my "alternate version" of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs where teams are matched up by #1 to #16 across the whole league by points rather than by division/conference.

This series is the Florida Panthers (#3) versus the Philadelphia Flyers (#14). They played three times during the regular season, with the Panthers winning twice. The first two series in this project saw the higher seed being upset. In real life, the favored Panthers were upset in the first round against the New York Islanders while the Flyers took the Capitals to 6 games before bowing out. One of these teams will reverse their real life fortunes in this series.

The Panthers won Games One and Two in Florida by 4-2 and 4-0 scores. The Flyers return to Philadelphia, seeking to avoid elimination. After going with Steve Mason in goal for the first two games, the Flyers are switching to Michael Neuvirth for Game Three.

GAME 3: Florida at Philadelphia



My apologies to Adam and the rest of the Philadelphia fans, but their season ends tonight as the Panthers complete the sweep of the Flyers with a 4-2 win. The top line of Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir Jagr was just too much for Philly in this series. And tonight, they got a big effort from budding superstar defenseman Aaron Ekblad (pictured above on the boards with Philadelphia's Pierre-Edouard Bellemare). Barkov and Ekblad were sensational tonight. Barkov scored twice, giving him four goals in three games. He had the game-winner tonight. Ekblad scored a power play goal on a wicked blast from the point and also had two assists for a three point night. Jaromir Jagr also had two assists. Derek MacKenzie of Florida and Brandon Manning of Philadelphia had two fights in this game, once in the second period, with a rematch in the third that was enough for the refs for both of them!

The Flyers led after the first period 1-0 when Jakub Voracek scored in the opening minute of play, but Florida erupted with four second period goals to put the game away. A late goal from Philly's Wayne Simmonds was too little, too late. Roberto Luongo turned aside 11 of 12 shots in the third period and 24 of 26 overall. The Panthers now advance to the second round where, as the remaining top seed, they will meet the #16 Minnesota Wild, who eliminated the Capitals in a first round upset.

But there are still other first round series to go. Next up is the only series where the #1 to #16 matchup is the same as the real matchup when the Anaheim Ducks meet the Nashville Predators.

Scoring: 1 2 3 Tot
Florida 0 4 0 4
Philadelphia 1 0 1 2

First Period:
Phi.
Voracek 1 (Simmonds) 0:50

Second Period:
Fla.
Barkov 3 (Campbell, Jagr) 1:47
Fla. Ekblad 1 (Huberdeau, Jagr) PPG 6:11
Fla. Barkov 4 (Ekblad) GWG 7:52
Fla. Campbell 1 (Jokinen, Ekblad) 18:39

Third Period:
Phi.
Simmonds 1 (Giroux, Gostisbehere) 12:14

Shots: 1 2 3 Tot
Florida 9 10 5 24
Philadelphia 9 5 12 26

pp Fla. 1-3 Phi. 0-2

Fla. Luongo (24-26) Phi. Neuvirth (20-24) 59 minutes

THREE STARS: 1) Aleksander Barkov, Fla. 2) Aaron Ekblad, Fla. 3) Jaromir Jagr, Fla.

FLORIDA PANTHERS WIN SERIES C 3-0
 
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David Arlington
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This is game 1 of an opening round Best of Five series (first team to win THREE games advances) of my "alternate version" of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs where teams are matched up by #1 to #16 across the whole league by points rather than by division/conference.

This series is the Anaheim Ducks (#4) versus the Nashville Predators (#13). This is the only series of the eight opening round series in my alternate version of the playoffs that is the same match-up as the real opening round playoffs match-up. In real life, the Predators won this series in seven games, BUT if it had gone only five games like this series will, the Ducks would have won the series 3-2. (They lost the final two games to exit in the first round.)

GAME 1: Nashville at Anaheim



In the real game one, Nashville upset the Ducks with a 3-2 win. In this game, the Ducks controlled the game from the outset and for 54 minutes, John Gibson was pitching a shutout in goal for Anaheim. Corey Perry was the star for Anaheim, opening the scoring in the second period after a scoreless first period. Jamie McGinn, a late season pickup from the Buffalo Sabres in a trade, scores the second goal of the game. That turns out to be the game winner. Perry scores his second goal of the game in the third to go up 3-0. After James Neal of Nashville and Anaheim Captain Ryan Getzlaf engage in a rare bout of fisticuffs, Craig Smith scores for Nashville to avoid the shutout. However that's their last gasp and the Anaheim Ducks go up 1-0 in the five game series overturning the real life result.



Scoring: 1 2 3 Tot
Nashville 0 0 1 1
Anaheim 0 2 1 3

First Period:
No Scoring.


Second Period:
Anh.
Perry 1 (Kesler) 9:20
Anh. McGinn 1 (Garbutt, Stewart) GWG 14:38

Third Period:
Anh.
Perry 2 (Fowler, Kesler) 7:04
Nsh. Smith 1 (Ribeiro) 14:10

Shots: 1 2 3 Tot
Nashville 7 9 10 26
Anaheim 11 12 16 39

pp Nsh. 0-1 Anh. 0-3

Nsh. Rinne (36-39) 59 minutes Anh. Gibson (25-26)

THREE STARS: 1) Corey Perry, Anh. 2) John Gibson, Anh. 3) Ryan Kesler, Anh.

Anaheim Ducks lead Series D 1-0
 
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David Arlington
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This is game 2 of an opening round Best of Five series (first team to win THREE games advances) of my "alternate version" of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs where teams are matched up by #1 to #16 across the whole league by points rather than by division/conference.

This series is the Anaheim Ducks (#4) versus the Nashville Predators (#13). This is the only series of the eight opening round series in my alternate version of the playoffs that is the same match-up as the real opening round playoffs match-up. In real life, the Predators won this series in seven games, BUT if it had gone only five games like this series will, the Ducks would have won the series 3-2. (They lost the final two games to exit in the first round.)

GAME 2: Nashville at Anaheim



In the real series, Nashville won the first two games on the road in Anaheim, the lost the next three (two in Nashville, one in Anaheim), before winning the final game for their third road win of the series. In this replay series, Anaheim turns the tables and wins the first two at home to put Nashville on the brink of elimination.

This game was literally over in the first six minutes, when the Ducks scored three times on Nashville goalie, Pekka Rinne, on just five shots on goal. The third goal, just six minutes in, from Chris Stewart (pictured above, about to knock it in past a on-his-knees Rinne) was enough for Nashville coach, Peter Laviolette, to yank Rinne for Carter Hutton. The Ducks would keep up the pressure, pouring another 36 shots on Hutton in the last 54 minutes of the game and scoring three more goals. Rickard Rakell would score two of the six Anaheim goals and get the game winner.

With the Ducks up 6-1 in the third period, the Predators at least made it interesting, scoring three third period goals to put a scare into Anaheim before the end of the game. Too little, too late though and the Ducks take a 2-0 series lead back to the Music City, needing only one more win in three games to avoid their real life ouster from the playoffs at the hands of the Predators.

Scoring: 1 2 3 Tot
Nashville 1 0 3 4
Anaheim 3 1 2 6

First Period:
Anh.
Bieksa 1 (Getzlaf, Kesler) 0:13
Anh. Rakell 1 (Perron, Despres) 2:46
Anh. Stewart 1 6:06
Nsh. Weber 1 (Josi, Johansen) 18:41

Second Period:
Anh.
Kesler 1 (Getzlaf, Perry) 16:51

Third Period:
Anh.
Rakell 2 (Perron, Vatanen) PPG GWG 2:36
Anh. Lindholm 1 (Fowler, McGinn) 4:43
Nsh. Forsberg 1 (Weber) 6:06
Nsh. Smith 2 (Josi) 10:31
Nsh. Jarnkrok 1 (Ribeiro, Smith) 11:06

Shots: 1 2 3 Tot
Nashville 8 10 10 28
Anaheim 14 9 18 41

pp Nsh. 0-3 Anh. 1-3

Nsh. Rinne (2-5) 6 minutes; Hutton (33-36) 53 minutes Anh. Gibson (24-28)

THREE STARS: 1) Rikard Rakell, Anh. 2) Ryan Kesler, Anh. 3) Shea Weber, Nsh.

Anaheim Ducks lead Series D 2-0
 
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