Standings and such after the jump
|Cab Ride With Citizen Kane||79||63||8||.553||--|
|Dale City Mages||72||68||10||.513||6|
|Deb's Goon Emporium||64||69||17||.483||10.5|
|Two Prongered Assault||97||41||12||.687||--|
|My Jokes Getzlafs||86||53||11||.610||11.5|
|The Royal Tenenbaums||47||88||15||.363||48.5|
|Two Bit Crew||87||55||8||.607||12.5|
|Ice Warriors X||66||72||12||.480||31.5|
|Let's Go Whalers!||42||96||12||.320||55.5|
|Don't Toews Me Sombrero||66||75||9||.470||12.5|
|Polar Bear Rebellion||61||70||19||.470||12.5|
|Champaign Ice Beagles||60||78||12||.440||17|
|Williamsburg Face Wash||50||85||15||.383||25.5|
We're coming down to the home stretch of the regular season, there are only seven more match-ups until the playoffs begin. Gould's Grinders has opened up a 12.5 category lead on a strong Two Bit Crew squad that's going to be difficult to overcome, although anything can happen. Want an example? Here you go. Last week, the Polar Bear Rebellion lost 0-9-1 to the Grinders when the PBR squad collectively decided to stop playing for the week. The week? PBR 10-0-0'd Let's Go Whalers! Not a single lost category. Not one.
In the bigger picture, the dogfight for the top overall seed has intensified with a couple of strong weeks from that Grinder team and a few off weeks (by its standards) from Two Prongered Assault. For the first time since very early in the season, 2PA doesn't hold first place for the entire league. I'm not going to say that either of them have their divisions sewn up, but twelve categories in five weeks is a lot to overcome when the rosters for each squad are as stacked as they are. 2BC and My Jokes Getzlafs are very, very good teams in their own rights and would be leading both the Gartner and Hunter divisions pretty healthily if they happened to reside there instead.
Speaking of the Hunter Division, the top 3 are all within 6 categories of each other - it's going to be tight all the way to the finish.
Cab Ride With Citizen Kane vs. The Royal Tenenbaums: 7-2-1
CRWCK lucked into a
Nate Josh Harding start against Los Angeles, then got Backstrom's only good game of the week before benching him against Chicago. Less that piece of phenomenal good fortune, two categories down against a pretty damn fine week from Thomas Vokoun. Both Evgeni Malkin and Daniel Sedin put up 5a for TRT, which would have been enough for a tie in and of itself, but the rest of the squad put up 9 more, including 3 from Jeff Schultz. Suck it, haters.
Dale City Mages vs. Williamsburg Face Wash: 7-3-0
Alex Burrows. Alex Burrows. Alex Burrows. Thrice named, thrice scoring in two separate games. Two consecutive hat tricks for the Canucks pest this week, a +6 and 0pim. Who is this player and what's he done with the guy that normally skates in that jersey? When did Zach Parise get shipped out west? Via Rotowire: Roberto Luongo's record in the last 9 games? 7-0-2 with a 1.53 GAA. Yeesh. Travis Zajac tried valiantly to keep WFW in with 3g 3a, +3 2pim and 1ppg in 3 games (what a monster week, that's a fabulous line for 4 games, forget 3)
Polar Bear Rebellion vs. Let's Go Whalers!: 10-0-0
This is as decisive as it gets on the big scoreboard, but it wasn't this bad on closer inspection. However, like they say, the only stat that matters in the end is the final score. The Rebellion took ppgs by one, a's by 1, atoi by 16 seconds, pims by 4, sog by 4, and a measly 1% on sv%. Everything broke that way, tough week for LGW, who'll have to content themselves with Olli Jokinen having a decent week after a season of underperformance.
Harrisonburg Dukes vs. Two Bit Crew: 7-3-0
In a matchup of contendah's Harrisonburg came out the clear victor on the scoreboard, but this was another matchup that was closer than it initially appeared. Kiprusoff outdueled Rask for 3 wins in the goalie cats and in spite of a huge 4 games from Duncan Keith (3g, 3a, +5, anyone else feel like an idiot that they let this guy fall all the way to 51st in our draft?), The Dukes took 4 out of 7 skating categories (including atoi by 1 second. Yes, really.) behind a 6a, 27:09 week from Olympian Drew Doughty.
Gould's Grinders vs. Don't Toews Me Sombrero: 8-2-0
2.5 GAA? What the hell happened, Miller? Just kidding, but it's been that kind of season for the Sabre's netminder. According to the value ranker for our league, he's the most valuable guy in the league, even ahead of Ovechkin. Regardless, he won all 3 categories and a balanced attack from the rest of the GG team took care of the rest. A Caps related note: It's good to see Mike Green's atoi hovering around 25:00 instead of 30:00.
Winnipeg Jets vs. Team Pervertedlyslow: 5-4-1
Last week, I wrote that Ilya Kovalchuk had stolen Evgeni Malkin's mojo. Well, Malkin took it back, or Ilya left it at the airport, or something. I don't know what the hell happened, but here's 17's line for the week: 0g, 0a, -7. Looks awfully familiar. It should; that was Malkin's line last week. A slightly less crappy week from Cris Huet saved the matchup for the Jets, going 2-0-1 in the cats, but only just barely after an awful set of games for Bryzgalov.
Natty's Ice vs. Prestige Worldwide: 6-2-2
No ridiculous heroics from Alex Kovalev or Marian Gaborik this week and consequently the Ice tied for the goals category. You have to give the Ice some credit, they did a great job rotating the WW to get the maximum number of games played per week out of their roster and Jimmy Howard has been playing like Steve Mason was supposed to. Mark Giordano did his best to sour Natty on pizza, but the rest of the PWW squad skated like Lady Byng winners and couldn't produce much by way of pim at all.
Two Prongered Assault vs. Disgruntled Goats: 6-4-0
Don't let anyone tell you that goaltending doesn't matter, Hank Lundqvist turned in a stellar week while Evgeni Nabokov got lit up and the result was a 6-4 matchup instead of a 6-1 as it would have been if you'd only looked at skating categories. How about Chris Pronger this week? 5a, +7 in 24+ of atoi. The guys that were producing like gangbusters for 2PA earlier in the season are starting to cool off a bit - Tomas Plekanac and Mike Fischer have been huge, but not recently, similarly Dustin Penner is regressing towards what looks like his mean. It can't help either Fischer or Penner that the best offensive players on their teams are injured, leaving them the focus of the defense and the top shutdown guys from their opponents every night.
My Jokes Getzlafs vs. Deb's Goon Emporium: 6-3-1
Brandon Dubinsky has been getting top line minutes with Vinnie Prospal and his incredibly ridiculous tan scratched due to injury and it's been showing in a big way - he went 1g, 4a, +2 in almost 22 minutes of ice time this week. Playing with Marian Gaborik seems to be a tonic for struggling offensive players, but the question is can they still produce in his absence? We may find out soon. Marc Andre Bergeron and James Neal had brutal weeks for the Goon Emporium and overcame the efforts of Steve Downie (burr-what!?).
Playoff Preview Time!
If the playoffs had started last week, the matchup would have been Gould's Grinders vs. Cab Ride With Citizen Kane and Two Prongered Assault vs. Harrisonburg Dukes. Those would have looked like this:
CRWCK over Gould's Grinders 6-4-0 on the strength of getting lucky with goalie starts and Scott Hartnell taking a bazillion pims.
2PA over HD 5-4-1 on the skating categories - he'd have gone 5-1-1 in those, although many of them would have been pretty close.
I'll continue doing the projected playoff matchups each week as we get closer to the end of the season using this week's results.
Good week, we're getting down to crunch time. Good luck to all the owners!