Oh, this is just great. For Game 6 of their first-round series, the Minnesota Wild will probably employ a 0-5 forechecking system.
That’s because taking the game to the Colorado Avalanche clearly isn’t working, thanks to Jose Theodore who has either rediscovered his game or made a pact with Satan, and it’s not Miro we’re talking about here.
The Wild – a team that sometimes makes watching paint dry look compelling – played firewagon hockey and were thwarted by Theodore and his 38 saves; they now find themselves going to Denver trailing the series 3-2.
Time for the lads to shut it down, get back to rugby on skates and slow the game to a crawl. It might help, too, if somebody informed Marian Gaborik the playoffs have begun.
But you get the feeling the longer this series goes on, nothing the Wild tries will work against Theodore, who finally allowed a first period goal, but was, once again, brilliant. Niklas Backstrom at the other end? Not so much.
Regardless of whether the Avalanche wins the series, Theodore has provided the organization with an interesting and welcomed dilemma. Prior to these playoffs, Theodore’s career looked about as promising as Eliot Spitzer’s. But now he’s put himself in line for either a long-term contract with the Avalanche or a line of suitors come July 1.
But how much will Theodore be worth? Obviously the remainder of this spring tournament will determine that. It’s likely he won’t take up the $5.33 million in cap space he currently occupies, but there’s little doubt Theodore has re-emerged as a very good NHL goalie with the potential to perhaps be great once again.
GREAT JAROME NOT ENOUGH
Calgary Flames assistant coach Rich Preston might want to stay out of Jarome Iginla’s kitchen when the Flames break down the video from Thursday night’s 4-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks in Game 5.
Iginla was, as he often is, the best player for the Flames, and the best player on the ice. But it wasn’t enough because Jonathan Cheechoo, Patrick Marleau and, to a lesser extent, Joe Thornton, were brilliant themselves.
Iginla has long been known as a player who could be counted upon in big games, but it was refreshing to see three players who have been justifiably maligned for their playoff performances over the course of their careers make such a positive contribution.
Marleau, in particular, has really picked up his game after being maligned by his own coach in last year’s playoffs and enduring a terrible start to this season. You could certainly make the case Marleau has been the Sharks’ best player in the playoffs and has been a huge reason behind their momentum going into Game 6.
The way this series has gone, however, momentum has meant absolutely squat. That’s why there’s a pretty good chance these two teams will be going back to the Shark tank for Game 7 next Tuesday night.
THN.com’s Playoff Blogs, featuring analysis and opinion on the action from the night before, with insight on what happened and what it all means going forward, will appear daily throughout the NHL playoffs. Read more entries HERE.
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