1. The PK is being praised for winning this series for us. Sure the numbers look great, and I guess it got the job done, but by no means am I impressed or happy with how it performed. Truthfully, the Isles should have had a couple last night for sure. Our PK was successful in killing off the penalties, but man did the Isles work the puck and create some unreal chances. We never seemed to thwart any of their setups, nor intercept passes, and lost a lot of races and battles for the puck. I doubt we can continue to be that lucky going forward. I just don't have the confidence in the PK like I had last season. We rarely create SH chances anymore, whereas it seemed we used to get at least one SH odd man rush a game last year, maybe even more. I hope to see a more stable unit going forward.
2. We found a way to win and good teams will do that. Even though Bylsma's coaching was doing nothing for them, they found a way to overcome a system that did them no favors and won the series. This can only build confidence going forward, knowing they didn't play well and still won.
3. Vokoun - ..and that's why he's here. Calm, poised, steady, and a big part of why we were able to steal this series.
4. Our blueline - Yikes. What happened? Honestly, could some of these guys look any worse? Douglas Murray definitely wasn't as effective as he was during the regular season, but with the Isles speed you have to expect that. However, Martin, Letang, and Niskanen have no excuse. Martin was made to look like a pylon about 3-4 times in just the last two games. Okposo, Tavares, and Bailey all made him look ridiculously bad. His refusal to play the body is embarrassing. An Isles player would be looking for the puck in his skates and Martin stands there whacking at the puck instead of knocking him down or at least separating him from the puck. He's also shying away from taking a hit to make a play when being forechecked hard. Letang is Letang, I've come to expect the boneheaded plays after all these years. He can look so good, then a minute later he looks like he has zero clue. For some reason I just get the idea that Letang isn't very smart, not just hockey-wise, but overall. Niskanen was also atrocious this series. The turnovers, the slow puck movement, the inability to clear the puck, it was all just bad. We need these 3 to play at a higher level if we're going to challenge for Lord Stanley.
5. The PP - It can look great, it can look horrible. Even if it looked horrible this series, Nabokov helped make it look great. Anderson won't do the same. Gotta cash in when we can.
6. Geno - Huge plays down the stretch to bring this team to victory. His defensive effort when compared to game 5 was less than stellar, but he's the reason we ended it in game 6. His consistency has to improve, let's see that defensive effort every game, let's see that dangerous offensive play for 60 minutes. He could be one of the most talented players in the NHL but his consistency and effort hold him back. Sid probably isn't the most talented player in the league, but his effort and consistency overcome that and that makes him the best player in the league.
7. Bylsma - His insistence to go back to the stretch pass non stop this game was asinine. After cutting WAY back on the stretch pass and having success in game 5, he completely abandons that strategy and goes back to what wasn't working. Because of this the Isles dominated play again. It was painfully obvious last night that every time we brought a forward down low and skated the puck up, we gained the zone. Either by the dman gaining the redline, or making a short pass to the forward that came down low. Go back and watch the amount of times we turned the puck over using the stretch pass....our D would have the puck, standing STILL, and not a forward in sight, they're all at the far blueline or at best at the redline, while our D are standing at the faceoff circles in our zone. TSN announcers were even in disbelief.
8. Grinders - TK, Vitale, Cooke, etc. Thank God we have them. I've said from the start of the year that Vitale should be playing full time. If these last two games don't cement him into a full time role, then Bylsma is a cement head himself. Great job by these guys! Dupuis deserves a ton of props too, this guy just brings it every night, he even scores with Vitale as his center. He deserves his pay day and I hope we can give it to him.
Hopefully guys like Kunitz and Neal can find their way this series. We just didn't seem to find any soft spots to get these guys any shots. I think Iggy will start to become more effective playing with Sid. I love our lines right now, we just need to figure out our defensive zone play and breakout. This is on the coach and on our D playing better too.
I have a lot more confidence going in against the Sens. They just don't have that puck swarming speed and ability like the Isles have. However, they have an unreal goaltender, and we've seen those before in Halak and Rollason. I still think that Montreal's lack of top end talent made Anderson look better than he actually was. He's a great goaltender, but we have the talent to beat him and we will.