01 May 2007
♦When I returned from this vacation I logged into the website I am using to host the Jibblescribbits playoff challenge. It gives a breakdown of the top point scorers for each participant. One name that seemed to be at the top of everyone's points list was Danny Heatley, as he seems to have come on strong lately. Then I thought about it, and remembered that Vincent Lecavalier was one of the top point getters in the first round. Coincidentaly they both played against New Jersey in their series. So I took a quick look at how New Jersey has done against their opponants top line this postseason.
Tampa's Top line of Lecavalier, St. Louis and Richards combined for 11 goals and 12 assists in 6 games. Ottawa's top line of Heatly, Spezza and Alfredsson have combined for 5 goals and 8 assists in just three games. For a team that boast solid Defense (Matvichuck, Colin White, Rafalski, Luckowich) and pretty solid Defensive forwards (Pandolfo, J. Dowd, Brylin, Langenbrunner, Gomez) including a perennial Selke Candidate (Madden) , this development is pretty shocking.
This inability to contain the top lines of their opponants can't be all the players faults. This has to start at the coache's level. That means the blame needs to fall squarely on Lou Lamorillo for firing his coach with a few games left to go in the season. This was one of the best defensive teams in the league, and has a lot of talnted defensive players. The coaches are really letting this team down.
UPDATE: Pandolfo is a finalist for the Selke too, makes New Jersey's inability to stop the top opposing forwards even more precarious.