All-time Draft Second Round: #5 Las Vegas Thunder @ #1 Detroit Falcons

Discussion in 'All Time Draft' started by EagleBelfour, May 29, 2007.

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  1. EagleBelfour

    EagleBelfour Registered User

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    Taking in 7 games an exausting serie against the Portland Buckaroos, The Las Vegas Thunder will face the Detroit Falcons, #1 seed in the Foster Hewitt division in a best-of-seven series. Will the fresh and well prepared Falcons take away their first ever series victory, or will the Las Vegas Thunder cause yet another surprise and beats the early favourite?

    The Detroit Falcons
    [​IMG]
    Coach: Jacques Demers

    Alex Delvecchio (A) - Jean Béliveau (C) - Bryan Hextall Sr.
    Rick Middleton - Mike Modano - Gordie Drillon
    Tommy Phillips - Doug Jarvis - Jack Darragh
    Marcel Bonin - Dan Bain - Larry Aurie
    Lynn Patrick

    Marcel Pronovost (A) - Larry Murphy
    Ching Johnson - Hod Stuart
    Flash Hollett - Edward Ivanov
    Goldie Prodgers

    Jacques Plante
    John Vanbiesbrouck
    Paddy Moran



    vs.

    [​IMG]

    Las Vegas Thunder

    General Managers: shawnmullin and Van Islander
    Coach:
    Scotty Bowman
    Captain: Ron Francis
    Alternate: Butch Goring
    Alternate:
    Brian Leetch

    Valery Kharlamov (LW) - Igor Larionov (C) - Vladimir Vikulov (RW)
    Red Berenson (LW) - Ron Francis (C) - Jari Kurri (RW)
    Esa Tikkanen (LW) - Butch Goring (C) - Mark Recchi (RW)
    Jay Pandolfo (LW) - Terry Crisp (C) - Jerry Toppazzini (RW)
    Milan Novy (Extra)

    Serge Savard (D) - Dave Burrows (D)
    Dallas Smith (D) - Brian Leetch (D)
    Gennady Tsygankov (D) - Tomas Jonsson (D)
    Ron Stewart (D)

    Tiny Thompson (G)
    Tom Barrasso (G)
    Nikolai Khabibulin (G)

    PP: Kharlamov - Larionov - Kurri - Leetch - Francis
    Berensen - Goring - Recchi - Savard - Jonsson

    PK: Goring-Tikkanen-Savard-Burrows
    Francis-Kurri-Leetch-Tsygankov/Smith

     
    Last edited: May 29, 2007
  2. shawnmullin

    shawnmullin Registered User

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    Eagle can you replace our line-up with the updated one from the previous series?
     
  3. EagleBelfour

    EagleBelfour Registered User

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    I'm not very good at arguing with others (and they are two against me :amazed:), but I'll try to do my best, starting with my view on this serie:


    OFFENCE:
    1st line: Edge – Detroit: I think I have rather easily the best 1st line in this serie. The Delvecchio-Beliveau-Hextall is an explosive line with scoring and playmaking abilities, grit, heart and leadership. They can face anybody and be efficiant. The Russian linme will score their fare share of goals, but they don’t match the overall abilities of my first line.
    2nd line: Edge – Las Vegas: While I think that Berenson shouldn’t be on a second line and he’s easily the weaklest link of the two team second line, the Francis-Kurri is an excellent duo that will make up for the poor LW. The Middleton-Modano-Drillon will be able to score goals while being efficiant in their own zone, but the edge goes too the Las Vegas
    3rd line: Edge – Las Vegas: Jarvis was one of the most effective defensive player of all-time, Phillips was a very good scorer and a great backchecker and defensive player and Darrash was a playoff performer who won 4 cups and 2 Conn Smythe, but the Tikkanen-Goring-Recchi is a well built all-around line. I have 2 unknown player on my line, that may play agaisnt me, but even will full conscience of the abilities of Phillips and Darragh, the edge goes to Las Vegas
    4th line+extra forward: Edge – Detroit: I believe my 4th line could be the 3rd line of a few team in this draft. They show grit, defensive awareness and they play huge come playoff time. Moreover, I may have one of the best extra forward in this draft in Lynn Patrick, and he could play on any forward if injury occured.

    DEFENCE: Edge – Detroit: it’s a slight edge, but I feel I have the best builded defense of the two. It’s true that they have the best two defenseman of the two team in Savard and Leetch, but my first duo of Pronovost-Murphy is better one than the Savard-Burrows duo, the Johnson-Stuart is near to equal the Smith-Leetch duo and at last, my third duo of Edward-Hollet is superior to Tsygankov-Jonsson. Also, I feel the partners on all three duos cover the other weaknesses.

    GOALTENDING: Edge - Detroit: I think it's clear I have a huge edge over the Thunder. Thompson is a number 1 goaltender in a 28 teams all-star draft, but I wonder if Barrasso will be trown on the ice at some point in the serie. On the other side, Plante is one, if not, the best golatender off all-time. He's able to stole a serie on his own, and he will show his dominancy in every games during this serie.

    COACHING: Edge - Las Vegas: The Thunders assured themselves of having the best coach of all-time early in the draft. Bowman his winningest coach of all-time, and one of the smartest. Demers is no slouch though; a good strategist, but more importantely, an awesome motivator, but there's no doubt that the Thunders get the edge in that category.

    GRIT: Edge - Detroit: Esa Tikkanen may be the meanest and grittiest player on Las Vegas side, but his effectiveness will be reduced, as he will faced Bryan Hextall Sr. most of the time, a player who was more than capable of countering and distributing checks and grittiness. While Terry Crisp, and to a lesser extent, Dallas Smith and Jerry Toppazzini are the only players you could qualify as gritty, I have my entire 4th line, Edward Ivanov, but more importantly, Marcel Pronovost and Ching Johnson, who will play a more important role in this serie. I also have the biggest team overall, which his an advantage too.

    INTANGIBLES - Edge: Detroit: I have two players that can singlehandely stole a serie on their own with Jean Béliveau and Jacques Plante, while the only player on the Las Vegas Thunder that ''could'' be considered as that is Valeri Kharlamov. Moreover, we are loaded with Stanley Cup winners (60 Stanley Cup distributed among 19 players and a coach), 9 team captains and 7 Conn Smythe distributed among 5 players (each of my forwards line have one CS winner).

    MONSTER MATCH-UP: 3rd defensive line vs. 1st offensive line. Will the Tikkanen-Goring-Recchi be able to stopped the Delvecchio-Beliveau-Hextall and will the Phillips-Jarvis-Darragh line be able to contain the russian line? I feel this will dictate the allure of thi serie.

    PREDICTION: I'm bias of course, but I don't see how they will be able to solve the best goaltender of all-time, of the best 1st line in this draft and a well builted, all around team 4 time. Detroit in 6.
     
  4. pitseleh

    pitseleh Registered User

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    Las Vegas has the unfortunate task of going up against two of the top three goaltenders of all time (IMO) in back to back series. Plante is a huge advantage in net over Thompson.

    Las Vegas will have to rely on their scoring depth to take this series. Both teams have very good first lines, Las Vegas earns a big edge on the second and third lines. They also have a big edge behind the bench, with Bowman hopefully maximizing the talent on their roster.

    I also think the defenses are fairly close, especially if Savard and Leetch play big minutes. Las Vegas has more game breaking potential from the back end, while Detroit's defense should be steadier.

    Detroit has a very good first line, but the second line pales in comparison to Las Vegas'. They will need it to step up to pull this series out. It was a good thing that they got two very solid defensive players in Middleton and Modano to play with Drillon though, as he is a pretty big liability on the ice. They have enough talent to pot some goals, but I wouldn't count on that line to be able to be game breakers.

    Detroit will need Plante to also step up and have a big series. He will be tested by the offensive talent of Las Vegas and he will need to hold up. Detroit will also look to get more offense from the blueline than Las Vegas, with some very good puck movers in Murphy, Stuart and Hollett.
     
  5. shawnmullin

    shawnmullin Registered User

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    This is an ironic match-up. Do you all remember the first round of the draft? Van's drama occurs and I have to take over. Did Van or Did Van not agree to trade our first round pick? I agreed to live up to trade discussion and follow through on a deal in light of strange circumstances and no firm offer. That trade means Detroit takes Beliveau and ends up with the Canadiens duo of him and Plante in the first round.

    However, that trade leads to our team's direction of filling our team with a bunch of top 100 players so we can have the best depth of two-way, reliable talent in the draft. How interesting that the 2nd biggest trade of the first round comes back into the limelight as we now face each other in the playoffs. How often do you have an opportunity to partially decide who won a deal in such a strait forward way?

    I wish I had time to address things fully right now but I don't.

    I will address the claims that while our second line is better (I agree) Berenson doesn't belong. He's not the primary scoring option (he's the third option on the line), but he is a guy that was the first superstar on an expansion team. He led a team in scoring and took them to the cup finals (yes I realize only beating out other expansion teams) 3 times and was the best player on a team coached by Bowman. He's fast, he's a smart defensive player, and he's shown that when called upon to be the top scoring option he can deliever. He's not needed to do that on this line, he just keeps up with the other two and plays smart, mistake free hockey.

    The other thing is by spreading things out we have high powered units capeable of breaking games open on all three lines. We took risks with Vikulov and Berenson jumping into our top two, but those re guys who compliment their line-mates well and allow us to have a deadly two-way third line with scoring punch and awesome checking.

    I like this match up for us because we will lean heavily on Savard and Leetch on D - both guys who stand out in comparison to Detroit's D. Despite our unheralded D, Detroit does not have an obvious advantage here since they were forced to give up two of their top picks to move up into the first round. We have a better top 2 guys and we have a top 6 that will not make mistakes. These may not be guys you'd take in the top 100, but they are guys you can rely on to be in the right place and handle pressure while making the play.

    Their top line tops ours IMO only in the RW match-up. Obviously their top line is terrific and I won't deny it being stronger, but we built this roster for depth not for single line strength. We could re-jig things surely and have a more powerful top unit, but we love that any of our 3 lines could burn you offensively. That's why our 2/3 is better than their 2/3 and 1-12 I'd say our forwards are faster and smarter.

    Plus I'd say despite their top line being better, our top PP unit is better than theirs with Kharlamov, Larionov, Kurri, Francis and Leetch. That's a fierce unit with enough skill and scoring left over to have a powerful second unit.

    Their biggest advantage is clearly in net. Im not going to sit here and try to discount Jacques Plante. He's an all time great and one of the best of all-time. The question to me is when you have a guy in Thompson who IMO is top 10 or at least top 15 all time, how much of a difference can Plante make? Is he so much better than Thompson - another all-time goalie and hall of famer - that he can make up for other aspects in the series? Maybe in one game, but not in 7 games IMO.

    Finally the amount of cups... you have more cups and playoff MVPs but they are focused on less players. We have a team of playoff winners. Almost everyone on our team with 1 or 2 exceptions is a cup winner or multiple time winner... or the VERY least a multiple time finalist like Red. There's of course our Russian players who are all winners on an international level and in the Russian league. And we got guys who not only play Bowman's style and will be on message, but we even have guys who have played for Bowman with great success.

    Plus the ultimate playoff coach.

    To sum up? Depth vs. Top End talent. In my opinion, depth wins in 6 or 7.

    BTW big props to Eagle who had a great draft and has an obviously terrific depth of knowledge in the history of hockey.
     
  6. shawnmullin

    shawnmullin Registered User

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    Incidently for the record I'm not saying Larionov = Beliveau I'm saying as a unit they're better only because Vikulov is no where near the known quantity that Hextall is despite his international success and chemistry with Kharlamov.
     
  7. EagleBelfour

    EagleBelfour Registered User

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    I have a big headache, so I won't answered to every thing tonight. The only thing I will point out his:

    7 Conn Smythe between 5 players (Beliveau(x2), Drillon, Darragh(x2), Bonin, Plante)

    59 Cups among 20 players. The only players who don't have a cup are: Rick Middleton (a proven playoff performer have have put up numerous good playoffs run like in '79, '82 and '83) John Vanbiesbrouck (another proven playoffs performer, especially with the Florida Panthers in 1996) and Edward Ivanov (Have won the Olympics gold medal).

    I would say that my Cups and MVP's are far from focused on less players.

    I only went through your text without analyzing it (sorry if I misinterpret you), but I think you're underevaluing my 1st line. I think they're superior by a good margin (But I don't think we will be able to settle that). Also, I think my third line is underrated too. There's no way I'm saying my third line is better than yours, but Tommy Phillips is one of the best two-way player of his era. He had a terrific shot, while he was able to comeback in the play with his backchecking abilities. Moreover, Doug Jarvis is undeniably one of the best defensive forward of all-time, he will be able to cover the flying russian (new nickname) and dimmish their scoring chances. At last, Jack Darragh is one of the best playoff performer of ALL-TIME. He was coming huge in every playoffs series, and he won 2 Conn Smythe in a row (he could of won another one, but the retroactive SC only cover the NHL era). It's a bit of an unortodox line, but as good as the Tikkanen-Goring-Recchi line is (and they're great), I don't think you can say that my 3rd line his vastly inferior to them.

    Even though you don't discount Plante, I think you're overrating Tiny Thompson. I never saw anyone stating that Thompson was one on 10 best goaltenders ever. I would place him between 15 and 18. In a previous ranking of my own that I've made a couple of month ago, I had him sit at 17. While he was a good goaltender, you can't dismiss the goaltenders such as Gardiner, Benedict, Hainsworth, Tretiak, Brismek, Holocek and the playoff studs like Broda, Parent, Smith, Fuhr an Cheevers (3 of them I wouldn't take before in regular season). If you had the top-7 of Plante, Sawchuk, Roy, Hasek, Hall, Brodeur and Dryden, I don't see how you can place Thompson at top-15, let alone top-10 goaltender of all-time.

    Wow, good luck with that. You just played an exausting 7 games series against Portland, were you utilize the same strategy. Playing Savard and Leetch 30-35 minutes a game will 'cause them to be less effective and will probably make more mistakes, giving me an advantage. If you decide to utilize them less, well the other 4 will have more ice-time, and they will cause more mistakes. That's why I think I have the edge on defense.

    I don't think I can consider your team as having a ''depth'' team. It's true you have a lot of depth with your top-9 at the offense, but your 4th line is pretty weak, and beside Leetch and Savard, you have no detph at defense. For my team, I don't think you can consider it as a top-end talent team with no depth. It's true I have an awesome goaltender and an excellent 1st line, but I may very well have one of the best fourth line of the draft, and my third pairing at defense is also impressive IMO. Lynn Patrick is also one of the best 13th forward in the draft.

    To sum up, I have been voted 1st in the division, and since I have built my team to be even better come playoff time, as everyone on my teams are playoffs performer (60 cups, 7 Conn smythe), I don't see any surprise coming off this serie ;)

    Wow, I wrote much more than I thought ;). I'll read your post carefully tomorrow and comeback wiht some more fire :D

    Thanks, really appreciate! It's learning process, but I widely enjoy it. ;)
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2007
  8. shawnmullin

    shawnmullin Registered User

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    You know what, I'll give you that, clearly I was wrong there.

    However there are over 40 cups among my players despite the fact that my best player never even played in the NHL and almots everyone on my team with NHL experience won the cup or at least made the final, so I don't feel your team's winning experience stands out above ours. Especially given we have the most winning coach in playoff history.


    It's the playoffs, D-men commonly lace up those skates tightly and go out and play 30 minutes a game. They put it on the line and deliver at the most important time of year. That's what superstars do anyway.
     
  9. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    I respect your relatively balanced and thoughtful analysis EagleBelfour! Though I disagree on each of your points about the defenses.

    This is one match-up where the Thunder's defense is better, imo.

    ---------------

    Pronovost-Murphy better than Savard-Burrows? Not as a pairing, as shown here below.

    Pronovost, the first one to pick up an octopus off of Detroit ice, had 312 pts in a 20-year 1206 career game career, yes. But his offensive contribution int he many playoff runs was limited, in 134 playoff games had a mere 8 goals, 23 assists. He was a kamikaze injury-prone 5'11 guy who loved to bang along the boards but who also:

    A better Jovo, granted.

    The thing is: Larry Murphy needs a hard rock defenseman, a defensive stay at home type, not a guy who loves going end-to-end and hitting bodies:

    http://www.legendsofhockey.net:8080/LegendsOfHockey/jsp/SearchPlayer.jsp?player=11161
    Notice how Ulf and Nik take care of things defensively around the net?

    Pronovost-Murphy is NOT an ideal combo.

    Savard-Burrows

    6'3 Serge was known for his ability to clear creases, block shots, passing and deking players heading up ice with the puck, doing the original "Spin-o-rama" pivot move, elevating his game in the postseason even higher with 68 points in 130 games and a Conn Smythe.

    6'1 Burrows is one of the greatest defensive defensemen in NHL history, played in three all-star games and Canada Cup '76 for his play in his own zone and his excellent first pass, and is in the Penguins Hall of Fame alongside Murphy as first pairing starters.

    Both Savard and Burrows can provide rock-solid defense against a top line and get the puck up ice, Savard joining the play, while Burrows staying back (along with a winger if Bowman does his wing-lock). NEITHER Pronovost nor Murphy, despite their many skills, was premier in the defensive end, especially around the net. Decent but not great.

    Your goaltender is going to have less blueline help in handling tip-in attempts, rebounds, surges against three Thunder lines than LV's netminder will have from the blueline dealing with the Falcons top line, plus disappear-prone Modano line. That needs to be factored into the defense/goaltending considerations. I think, overall, your team has an edge defensively, but not as much as it could have been, as the Falcons blueline aren't defensive enough nor forwards offensive enough to avoid having to rely on Beliveau and Plante to win a playoff series.

    ------------------
    I disagree here as well.

    Flash Hollett - Edward Ivanov

    Ivanov, a 5'10 semi-defenseman roamer akin to a midfielder in soccer, was named best forward at the Olympics for his scoring under the innovative Tarasov coaching strategy. Paired with the great defensive Ragulin, Ivanov could roam, though he also was so dedicated he sacrified his body in any situation, blocking shots, abuse in the corners, anything, a real competitor.
    http://internationalhockeylegends.blogspot.com/2006/08/edward-ivanov.html

    Hollett was the first NHL defenseman to score 20 goals in a season, known best for RUSHING the puck. Both Hollett and Ivanov deserve a stay-at-home pairing partner, not each other! Especially on a Falcons team NOT built on three scoring lines.

    The Falcons defensive pairings are NOT ideal. They certainly are not together a competitive advantage over the Thunder.

    Hollett or Ivanov should have a Tsygankov type, of the Thunder's third pairing. Tsygankov was the premier Soviet defensive defenseman for all those competitions from the Summit Series in '72 straight through to the ealy 80s. He was the man. NOT to score, but in his own zone to break up plays, win battles, clear pucks, fast and fearless and later in his career the one chosen to pair up with a young Fetisov. He goes well alongside the Thunder's other third pairing mate Tomas Jonsson, a 9-year NHLer who scored 344 points in 552 games, is one of the few in the Triple Gold Club: Stanley Cup, Olympics Gold, World Champ gold. He knows how to be part of a winning team. His "brilliant skating and speed" was his main skill, though his passing and positional play were also respected. He is well partnered with Tsygankov's style.

    There's no way in hell that the Falcons third pairing is "superior" to Tsygankov-Jonsson.
     
  10. shawnmullin

    shawnmullin Registered User

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    I don't want to turn this into a big gang-up but when Eagle you say we aren't depth team I think that's clearly false. I don't think anyone has a top 9 like ours in the entire league. I think our fourth line isn't going to provide as much offence as some others in the draft, but all 3 are key shut-down defensive forwards and excellent penalty killers.

    Our defence is admittedly abit different in that we have two super top end talents with 4 guys who aren't considered in the same light. However, to me our 3 defensive d are all underrated based on lack of flashy play and point totals. The key to our team's depth is that everyone is going to subscribe to Bowman's philosophy and there aren't going to be mistakes or blunders for other teams to take advantage of.

    With Bowman as a coach and a lineup like this we won't give you any goals, you have to earn every single one of them.
     
  11. Frank the Tank

    Frank the Tank Blue, you're my boy!

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    Game 1 – Béliveau, Falcons too ‘Large’ for Thunder

    DETROIT, Michigan (AP) – Jean ‘le Gros Bill’ Béliveau's hat trick was a great way to start the series for the Detroit Falcons.

    Béliveau had two goals and an assist in the opening period, then capped the scoring with 52 seconds left in the game as the Falcons opened their playoff series against Las Vegas with a 5-2 victory Tuesday night.

    "It's a good start," Béliveau, captain of the Falcons, said of his hat trick. "It's nice to be able to contribute.

    "The first game is always tough in the series, especially after such a long layoff. I am pretty fortunate to be able to play with such great players."

    After a Valeri Kharlamov breakaway goal gave Las Vegas a 1-0 lead at 7:07 of the first period, the Falcons responded by scoring three times -- twice by Béliveau -- on their first nine shots against goalie Tiny Thompson.

    Alex Delvecchio had a goal and assist during the outburst, and Bryan Hextall Sr. assisted on all three goals in the first period.

    Middleton officially put the Falcons up 4-1 midway through the third period, finishing off a pretty three-way pass play involving Gordie Drillon and Mike Modano for his first. Béliveau scored to make it 5-2 on a one-timer from just right of the crease when the Falcons had a two-man advantage in the closing minute of the game.

    "It was great. I had the open net, Middleton said. “Overall, we came out and skated like we wanted."

    The second game of the series is Thursday night in Detroit before the best-of-seven Foster Hewitt division semifinal series shifts to Las Vegas for games Saturday and Monday.

    Thompson faced 31 shots as the Falcons kept the pressure on by crowding in front of the Las Vegas goal. He was replaced by Tom Barrasso after Middleton's goal. Barrasso faced six shots and gave up Béliveau's third goal.

    "I didn't take him out to rest him," coach Scotty Bowman said. "Fatigue was not an issue. I just pulled him because it was 4-1, we're not scoring a lot of goals and I didn't want to take a risk [of injury]."

    Bowman also said the Thunder need to avoid turnovers if they're to beat the Falcons.

    "Those are things you can't do in this series. It's going to hurt us every time, especially when (their top line) is on the ice," he said.
    "Their first line is fast. We talked about it before and it's nothing that surprises us. We probably learned the lesson the hard way tonight, so we need to be prepared for the next game."

    Delvecchio was impressed with Thompson, saying, "He's an unbelievable goaltender and we got some good bounces. I watched some games of their previous series against Portland and he was outstanding.

    "We have to continue to make sure he doesn't see all the pucks, otherwise it is going to be too easy for him."

    After starting the game relatively slowly and with the Thunder on the attack for the first few minutes, the Falcons quickly shook off the rust. Detroit hadn't played since wrapping up the regular season two weeks ago after receiving a bye for their first place finish atop the Foster Hewitt division.

    The Thunder didn't really get a day off. They had taken a 3-1 lead in the series against Portland, but lost the next two before finally concluding the series with a Game 7 win on Sunday night. Monday was a travel day.

    Falcons’ goaltender Jacques Plante stopped 26 of 27 shots in the win.

    "He gave us the required net-minding," Falcons head coach Jacques Demers said. "Key saves at the key time and not many rebounds."

    Béliveau's first goal to tie the game at 1-1 came on a power play during a scramble in front. Thompson blocked Larry Murphy’s shot from the blue line, but Béliveau controlled the puck off the rebound. With traffic in front, Thompson had little chance to stop Béliveau's shot, which found the top corner.

    Delvecchio put Detroit ahead 2-1 with a nifty move across the crease. Cutting through the left circle, Delvecchio took Béliveau's pass from behind the goal line, sliced around Dallas Smith and beat Thompson with a wrist shot to the stick side.

    Béliveau scored his second goal of the night to give the Falcons a 3-1 lead at 19:11 of the opening period. On a 2-on-1 rush, Alex Delvecchio skated down the left side, waited for the defender Dave Burrows to commit toward him, then slid the puck across to Béliveau. The Falcons center beat a sliding Tiny Thompson with a quick shot under the glove.

    The Thunder cut Detroit's lead to 4-2 with about six minutes remaining in the third period when Jari Kurri converted a Ron Francis pass from behind the net. Kharlamov nearly cut the deficit to one goal two minutes later when he snuck behind the defence, but the puck rolled off his stick as he tried to deke Plante.
     
  12. Frank the Tank

    Frank the Tank Blue, you're my boy!

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    Game 2 – Thunder Even Series Against Falcons in 2nd OT

    DETROIT, Michigan (AP) -- Goalie Tiny Thompson kept the Las Vegas Thunder in the game. Winger Valeri Kharlamov finished it for them.

    Thompson made 43 saves -- 19 in overtime -- and Kharlamov scored 7:49 into the second overtime Friday night to lift Las Vegas to a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Falcons.

    The win evened their Foster Hewitt division semi-final series at one game apiece.

    Kharlamov scored from the top of a right faceoff circle with a shot that found a crack of daylight between goalie Jacques Plante's right shoulder and the post after Detroit's Tommy Phillips lost the puck behind the net to Las Vegas center Igor Larionov.

    "Igor’s a clutch player, and he's proved it again and again in these situations," Kharlamov said. "It's exciting to be on the ice with him at that time of the game. He got the puck to me at the right time and I just got it away quick.

    "For a second, I thought it was in, and then maybe not, and then all of a sudden I got bear-hugged from behind by Serge. It was great to get the win."

    "Thompson had some big saves and we had some opportunities that were close," the Falcons' coach Jacques Demers said.

    Thompson biggest save came on a Jack Darraugh breakaway at the end of the first overtime period. After getting the edge of his pad on the initial shot, an aware Thompson dove back to bat away the puck that was rolling towards the empty cage.

    Thompson said the Las Vegas defense played well in front of him.

    "After Game 1, it was important to make sure there were no second opportunities in front of the net, and tonight those guys stepped up and did a wonderful job for me," Thompson said, referring back to the Thunder' 5-2 loss in the series opener.

    The Thunder played two overtime games in their first-round series against Portland, winning one.

    The Falcons and Thunder traded goals in the second period, with Mark Recchi scoring for Las Vegas at 6:30 of the period and Gordie Drillon answering for Detroit 4:31 later.

    The series shifts to Las Vegas for games on Saturday and Monday.

    The Thunder, who didn't finish their opening series with Portland until a Game 7 victory on Sunday night, skated with considerably more energy than they had in the opening loss to the Falcons.

    "They were settled into the series a little bit and played better," Detroit captain Jean Béliveau said. "We came out a little slower than we wanted to. We can be better, for sure."

    Butch Goring said the Thunder remained confident despite the lopsided loss in the first game.

    "We knew we could get the job done," he said. "It was our third overtime game of the playoffs, so guys were aware of what needed to be done to get the win

    "We had to stay patient and try not to make any mistakes."

    Detroit had two weeks off between games after wrapping up the Foster Hewitt division title, and dominated Wednesday's opener against Las Vegas. The Falcons were playing their first overtime of this postseason.

    Drillon tied it 1-1 on a rebound after Thompson stopped Mike Modano's shot on a breakaway. The Las Vegas goalie sprawled to his left to make a great arm save off center Mike Modano's shot, but could not control the puck. Drillon, trailing, poked it past Thompson, with the goalie flat on his back as the puck dribbled across the line. The goal was Drillon's first of the postseason.

    Recchi had given Las Vegas the lead with an unassisted goal. He intercepted defenseman Ching Johnson's attempted clearing pass near the blue line along the right boards, sped around defenseman Hod Stuart and got off a shot as he fell forward in the left circle. The puck sailed past Plante high on the stick side to give Recchi his first goal of this year's playoffs.

    The Thunder briefly lost the services of Serge Savard on Thursday after the defenceman was given a hard check by Detroit's Rick Middleton in the first period.

    Savard, a shot-blocking machine for the Thunder in the post-season, went to the dressing room favoring his leg, raising fears that he had broken the same leg for the third time. Those fears were relieved when Savard returned for the start of the second.

    Meanwhile, Delvecchio was accidentally hit by teammate Pronovost's stick in Thursday's third period. Delvecchio suffered a cut under his right eye and left for the Falcons' training room minutes later to have the bleeding stopped before returning.


    That is all for this evening, more tomorrow...
     
  13. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    Kuddos to Beliveau and Plante for their excellence making the difference in game one, the extra time off working in their favour. But a turnover-prone Bowman team? Man, that is rare and indeed game two was a different matter. Nice to see Recchi finally score one in the playoffs, he being such a clutch scorer in his career.

    Now the series moves to Las Vegas for games three and four, where Bowman gets last line change to get his desired match-ups. Don't be surprised if Beliveau has 6'3 Francis and 6'3 Savard on the ice for the face-off of every shift of the Falcons' first line. Tikkanen might move up a line to be in Hextall's grill as well. Time will tell.

    No surprise that Modano didn't do much when it matters most. ;)

    Great write-ups Frank the Tank.
     
  14. Frank the Tank

    Frank the Tank Blue, you're my boy!

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    Game 3 – Plante shutout gives Falcons series lead

    LAS VEGAS, Nevada (AP) – Jacques Plante's vintage 31-save performance has the Detroit Falcons up two games to one over Scotty Bowman’s Las Vegas Thunder.

    Plante shook off an average Game 2 to post his 15th career shutout and got goals by Jack Darragh, Rick Middleton and Ching Johnson in a 3-0 victory on Saturday night.

    "In my opinion, he's the best that ever played the game," Falcons captain Béliveau, who line was held in check by the Thunder all evening, said. "He made some unbelievable saves early and I said: 'This is it, he's on top. He's back playing like he did for us in the 1950’s and we're going to get it done."

    The Thunder didn't make it easy. They out shot Detroit 37-14 and had at least ten good scoring chances, and a couple of others taken away by some of the 20 shots the Falcons blocked.

    "I thought our survival mode was great," said Plante, who gave up two goals in each of the first two games. "Guys in front did everything to block shots and get in the way of people. It made a big difference."

    The win gave the Falcons a 2-1 lead in the entertaining Foster Hewitt division semi-final series. Game 4 is Monday evening at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, N.V.

    "What else can you say about our team," Thunder center Terry Crisp said. "If you lose, that's the way you want to lose. We played hard, and a lot of people are probably counting us out. We play better that way. We're looking forward to getting back on the ice."

    The game ended with two fights and a Thunder assistant coach and Falcons head coach Jacques Demers screaming at each other from behind their respective benches.

    It was only a sideshow to Plante's heroics.

    "When you make a couple of good saves early, one on a shorthanded chance, it gets you into the game," said Plante. “It's all about winning in the playoffs. I've been trying to improve every game. It's definitely nice to get the shutout, but for me just another win."

    After getting caught flat-footed in overtime of Game 2, Plante looked like the goaltender who won five straight Stanley Cups. He was sharp, in position, and impregnable in posting his 15th career playoff shutout.

    Plante made a nice pad save in close on a short-handed shot by Jari Kurri in the first period and he was really on top of his game in the second, when Las Vegas held a 14-7 advantage in shots.

    Thompson also was called upon early in Game 3, as Detroit’s Doug Jarvis stripped Red Berenson of the puck and skated in on a breakaway, but the Las Vegas goalie stretched to make a left pad save.

    Darragh, playing the right side with Doug Jarvis and Tommy Phillips, gave Detroit the lead midway in the first period with a shot from the left side boards through traffic in front of Thunder goaltender Tiny Thompson.

    With the Falcons clinging to a 1-0 lead on Darragh’s first playoff goal this post-season, Plante made consecutive stops in close on Valeri Kharlamov and Vladimir Vikulov before Falcons defenseman Ching Johnson made a sliding block on Kharlamov with the net open.

    Plante had the kept the Vegas crowd quiet late in the second period when he stopped a spinarama move in close by Leetch, a point blank shot by Francis, and then Kurri all alone in front with a poke-check the knocked the puck off his stick.

    Less than a minute later, Plante stopped a redirected puck in the crease after it hit off Recchi's leg.

    Early in the third, Plante slid over to rob Larionov who was trying to convert a rebound of a Leetch point shot.

    "We dominated them and didn’t win," Thunder center Butch Goring said. "That's Jacques doing his thing. Hopefully, he won't do that any more."

    Darragh scored in the first period and Middleton tallied in the second. The Falcons then laid back and let the Thunder come to them in the third period. The closest Las Vegas came to a goal was when Kharlamov, who has two goals in the series, hit a post with less than five minutes to play.

    The speedy Phillips set up the shot by carrying the puck around the net and sending it to Darragh.

    Middleton scored halfway through the second period on a two-on-one break with Gordie Drillon. Defenseman Marcel Pronovost intercepted a pass at the Falcons' blue line and snapped a pass to Mike Modano, who sent Drillon and Middleton away.

    Johnson capped the flipping the puck into the empty cage with Thunder goaltender Tiny Thompson on the bench for the extra attacker.

    After Johnson's goal, Dallas Smith and Rick Middleton squared off in a fight that ended with Smith ripping off Middleton's jersey. Smith got a misconduct for instigating. .. Red Berenson of Las Vegas and Ching Johnson of Detroit staged a second fight.
     
  15. Frank the Tank

    Frank the Tank Blue, you're my boy!

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    Game 4 - Falcons rally in OT to stretch series lead

    LAS VEGAS, Nevada (AP) -- Captain Jean Béliveau’s overtime heroics have given the Detroit Falcons' a commanding series lead.

    In Game 3, Detroit's top-scoring trio of Béliveau, Alex Delvecchio and Brian Hextall Sr. was held in check by Las Vegas for the second straight game, prompting speculation that the Thunder had found a way to neutralize Detroit’s big line. With last change, Thunder coach Scotty Bowman used a combination of Serge Savard and Ron Francis to counter the size of 'Le Gros Bill'. The Grate One, Esa Tikkanen, was also in the face of right winger Ron Hextall Sr. all evening long.

    Bowman's plan worked for 59 minutes until Hextall scored late, tying the game up with 31 seconds remaining in the third.

    In overtime, Béliveau broke out and scored at 16:04 of the extra period to rally Detroit to a 3-2 win over the Las Vegas Thunder in Game 4 of the Foster Hewitt division semifinal Monday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.

    Béliveau blocked Thunder defenceman Dallas Smith’s clearing attempt, and then fired a shot that deflected off a diving Esa Tikkanen and over the left shoulder of goaltender Tiny Thompson, making a big difference in Game 4.

    Béliveau's power-play goal stretches the Falcons best-of-seven series to 3-1, and gives the Falcons a chance to clinch the series on home ice as the teams travel to Detroit for Game 5 on Wednesday evening (7 p.m. ET).

    "It's night and day for us right now," Béliveau said. "It's a big momentum shift."

    The power play was made possible when Thunder defenceman Brian Leetch took a costly high-sticking penalty after he accidently clipped Larrie Aurie above his right eye.

    Falcons goaltender Jacques Plante paced Detroit with 25 saves, keeping the game close for Brian Hextall’s tying goal in the last minute of regulation.

    "It took all 60 minutes for us to tie the game," Hextall said. "This is what we do. We've battled hard all year and have been able to rise to the occasion when needed."

    Despite the loss, Thompson was brilliant for Las Vegas, stopping 46 shots.

    Forwards Valeri Kharlamov and Jari Kurri scored the goals for Las Vegas, while Marcel Pronovost was the other Falcon scorer.

    Leading 2-1 with less than a minute to play, the Thunder appeared on the verge of tying the series at 2-2, only to see Detroit force overtime with a deflating goal.

    Winger Alex Delvecchio knocked the puck loose in the neutral zone and fed a pass to Hextall, who squeezed a shot between the left arm and body of Thompson with only 31 seconds remaining in regulation.

    It was the second time in the game that the Falcons scored a goal with only seconds left in a period.

    "We blew the game in the last minute," Thunder coach Scotty Bowman said. "Some people have to take a good look in the mirror why they were in the position they were in on the ice, cheating on the offensive side of things when the other team has pulled their goalie.

    "If you get on the right side of the puck, nothing bad happens and you don't have to worry about overtime."

    The Thunder finally solved Plante and took a 1-0 lead with only 2:08 remaining in the first period, after winger Kharlamov alertly prevented Larry Murphy from clearing the puck.

    Stationed to the right of Plante, Kharlamov buried an Igor Larionov pass for his third goal of the series.

    The point was Larionov's 6th assist in these playoffs.

    Kharlamov, who notched the overtime game-winning goal in Game 2 on Thursday night, has rebounded from an average first-round series against the Portland Buckaroos.

    Las Vegas increased its lead to 2-0 at 8:07 of the second during a delayed penalty call against the Falcons when Kurri ripped a one-timer through the legs of Detroit defenceman Flash Hollett, and by an annoyed Plante.

    "We had a 2-0 lead and we sat back too much," captain Ron Francis said. "Hopefully we learned a lesson. We have to play the same way for 60 minutes."

    The Falcons used Plante's anger as motivation, cutting the Thunder' lead to 2-1 on a power play with only four seconds remaining in the second period.

    After Mike Modano won the draw back to Pronovost, Rick Middleton moved in front of Thompson as Pronovost's point shot beat the unsuspecting Thunder goaltender.
     
  16. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    It's appearing that the Thunder may have lost this series back in the first round of the draft: trading away the first rounder to the Falcons, giving up one superstar in exchange for several stars, is the difference, as Beliveau and Plante are doing it all despite a pretty lacklustre supporting cast.

    Mental note: Don't trade away the first rounder, even if you thought you had a coup by picking up arguably the greatest talent ever (Kharlamov) early in the second round.

    Of all the teams in the division, I'd told shawnmullin I was least worried about the Falcons. Yet they ended up ranked first despite a suspect second line and less than ideal defensive pairings.

    That said, when you have a goaltender and a top line which is stellar, they can pull a lot of games out of the fire, as Frank the Tank is doing a good job of showing.
     
  17. Frank the Tank

    Frank the Tank Blue, you're my boy!

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    Game 5 – Delvecchio’s OT winner eliminates Thunder

    DETROIT, Michigan (AP) -- The Detroit Falcons had the Las Vegas Thunder on the ropes in their Stanley Cup playoff series, and Alex Delvecchio delivered the knockout punch.

    Delvecchio scored the game and series-clinching goal at 13:55 of overtime to help the top-seeded Falcons to a 3-2 victory and 4-1 series win over the fifth-seeded Thunder on Wednesday.

    Jacques Plante was once again sensational in goal for Detroit in Game 5, making 50 saves for the victory.

    "Jacques is the reason we're standing here with smiles on our face, really. He was unbelievable today," said Falcons captain Jean Béliveau. "I mean, they could've ended it so many times – not only in overtime, but in the third.

    "He kept us in and gave us a chance."

    Las Vegas outshot Detroit 11-4 in the extra frame.

    Everyone expected Plante to be a major factor in the series, but few could have predicted the absolute dominance he demonstrated in the last three games of the series.

    "It didn't take long until I felt comfortable," Plante said. "But obviously until you get a couple of games in, and they see that you're really committed and you really want to win. That's the main thing."

    Dan Bain and Béliveau had the goals for the Falcons in regulation. Mark Recchi and Valery Kharlamov scored for the Thunder, while Tiny Thompson stopped 27 shots in a losing effort.

    Las Vegas got on the scoreboard first with a power-play goal 4:25 into the second period.

    Brian Leetch flipped the puck into the Falcons zone to the stick of a streaking Kharlamov, the Thunder’s most dangerous offensive weapon this series. Kharlamov faked backhand, flipped back to his forehand and chipped the puck over Plante for a 1-0 lead.

    Detroit bounced back with Bain's goal at 13:03 of the period. Ching Johnson fired a wild shot from the low sideboards, which Thompson saved, but Bain snuck in from behind the net and banged in the rebound through a small gap between Thompson's leg and the right post.

    In the waning seconds of the third, Las Vegas couldn't clear the puck out of its zone. With Detroit pressing, Thompson did his best to keep the Falcons at bay, but Béliveau managed to reach his stick between his legs and knock in a bouncing puck over Thompson, who was lying prone on his stomach.

    It was the fourth time in the series that a goal has been scored in the final minute of a period.

    That Detroit was leading after two periods seemed unlikely, especially with the way Las Vegas came out firing.

    The Thunder dominated the Falcons through two periods, outshooting them 21-14 and hardly giving them any puck possession. Had Plante not been on top of his game, the result might have different.

    Recchi tied the contest 2:47 into the third when he picked Larry Murphy’s pocket deep in the Falcons zone and wired a low shot in the right corner on Plante.

    Las Vegas got a scare midway through the third when captain Ron Francis got the worst of a clean Hod Stuart hit and crumpled to the ice.

    Francis lay motionless on his back for a few minutes before being assisted to the dressing room by the Las Vegas training staff. He did come back to the ice in overtime to an ovation from the Olympia crowd.

    But even Francis’ return couldn't help save the Thunder.

    "It's frustrating," Francis said. "On paper we are a good team, but we didn't win when it counted."

    Las Vegas nearly stretched the series to a sixth game in the final minute of the third. Serge Savard unleashed a slapshot from the left circle that was deflected by Jari Kurri in front of a crowded Detroit crease. Plante was in position, however, and the puck hit him square in the chest.

    "It's the way it's been for us in the series," Recchi lamented. "The bounces haven't gone our way."

    "When teams are desperate and guys are desperate, the guys seem to play well. We expected to win."

    Both teams had their share of chances in overtime, but it was Delvecchio who ended Las Vegas' Stanley Cup dreams.

    Béliveau's shot into traffic bounced off Delvecchio, who corralled the puck and backhanded it over Thompson for the win.

    The Falcons must now wait for the other Foster Hewitt semi-final series between Seattle and St. Louis to end before knowing the identity of their third-round opponent.


    Three stars of the series as voted by the All-time Hockey Draft managers

    1) Jacques Plante - 4 wins, 1.34 GAA, 0.941 SV%, 1 shutout
    2) Jean Béliveau – 5G, 2A, 2 GWGs
    3) Valery Kharlamov – 4G, 2A, 1 GWG
     
  18. EagleBelfour

    EagleBelfour Registered User

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    I love how you have no respect for my team. Getting it finish in 5 games at my home ice will show that most GM's think my team isn't only a two players show :handclap:

    But as VanI said, awesome job Frank, it's very entertaining to read no doubt about that.
     
  19. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    Plante and Beliveau were the best two players on the ice.

    That was the series pretty much.

    I respect the Falcons' top line and third line and goaltending. Good luck in the remainder of the playoffs EagleBelfour. You made obviously the trade of the draft, unquestionably!
     
  20. kruezer

    kruezer Registered User

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    I think Ching Johnson is the most underrated player in this series, and he was the reason I picked the Falcons, he is their best defenseman IMO, and he provided the difference for me, though I had it going longer I believe.
     
  21. EagleBelfour

    EagleBelfour Registered User

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    Well, if the Eagles pass through, the two biggest trade of the draft might play each other, so it's gonna be entertaining that's for sure.

    I'm surprise this serie ended up in 5 though, I really respect your top-9, and I thought they could make a show to the game 6 or 7.

    Looking at our big trade:

    Jean Béliveau
    Bryan Hextall Sr.
    FOR
    Valeri Kharlamov
    +/- Ron Francis

    I think it was pretty equal, however I have been very lucky to get Bryan Hextall Sr. this late in the draft, so IMO that's why the trade looked good for me.

    All and all, good serie VanI and ShawnMullin.
     
  22. pitseleh

    pitseleh Registered User

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    Congrats to Detroit. I had Las Vegas ahead by a hair (due to depth and coaching), but like all of the other series there was nothing cut and dried. It looks like I had quite a few of the series differently than they ended up.

    Oh yeah, and great work Frank the Tank. Your writeups have been excellent.
     
  23. EagleBelfour

    EagleBelfour Registered User

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    I'm surprised to hear Kruezer and especially your comment pit. Not because you voted for the Thunder (I statred before that I thought they had a great team), but if you took Las Vegas to win and Kruezer took me but in 6 or 7 games, that mean some GM's took me to win it in 4 :amazed:
     
  24. pitseleh

    pitseleh Registered User

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    If JFF did it like Nalyd did last time, they average the number of games that the people that predicted you to win with a number of games determined from the difference in voting. If the average predicted number of games by people who voted for you was 6 games but the majority of GM's voted for your team, then it would probably lead to a 5 game series. I think it's the same thing that happened to Lebda in my series.
     
  25. EagleBelfour

    EagleBelfour Registered User

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    Oh great, now I understand, yea it make more senses.
     

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