Regan Bartel writes in his blog today:
In the playoffs, despite what some would believe because of some great individual efforts by the Hawks, it’s teams that succeed in the post season not one or two players carrying the bulk of the load.
That is kind of an interesting statement considering that the Kelowna Rockets have got five of their 14 goals scored in the series off the stick of Shane McColgan. In fact, McColgan has been a factor in 50% (7 points on 14 goals) of the Rockets output this series. And the Hawks are relying on one or two players to carry the bulk of the load?
The facts are that the Hawks have nine players who have at least one goal in the series and six players averaging at least a point a game. The Rockets have eight players with at least one goal in the series and five players averaging at least a point a game. So, the offense has been fairly close between the two teams with the Hawks spreading out the scoring just a bit more than the Rockets.
Ryan Johansen, Joe Morrow and Nino Niederreiter each have seven points in four games while McColgan has matched that.
To me, it is not who scores the goals in the post-season, but when they score them that is most important. We’ve seen it from the Hawks through the first eight games of the post-season, the Hawks strike quickly a lot of times when they score or when the other team scores. The biggest goal of the series right now is Tyler Wotherspoon’s goal in Game 3 to give the Hawks the lead back late in the second period. Wotherspoon is not known as a goal scorer, but his goal came just 40 seconds after Brett Bulmer had knotted the game at 3-3. That goal turned the momentum back to the Hawks and it propelled them to the two game sweep in Kelowna.
It’s been that way all playoffs long…some examples:
Game 1 vs. Everett – Brendan Leipsic and Johansen score 41 seconds apart in the first period to take a 1-0 game to 3-0.
Game 2 vs. Everett – Derrick Pouliot and Troy Rutkowski score 38 seconds apart in the third period to increase the Hawks lead from 5-1 to 7-1.
Game 3 @ Everett – Brad Ross scores 27 seconds after Ryan Murray ties the score at 1-1 in the first period to regain the lead for Portland. Also, Niederreiter and Rattie score 13 seconds apart in the second period to break a 2-2 tie and send the Hawks to a 4-2 lead after two periods.
Game 4 @ Everett – Sven Bartschi and Niederreiter score 29 seconds apart in the second period to take a 3-1 game to a 5-1 lead.
Game 4 @ Kelowna – Rattie and Taylor Peters score 39 seconds apart to take a 2-0 lead in the first period.
What will happen tonight is still to be determined, but to play off the Hawks success as some great individual efforts by one or two players is grasping at straws, IMO.
Game 5 is tonight at the Rose Garden…hope to see you all there!