Kind of a blah ending to a one-sided series, the Ducks all over the undermanned Avalanche, who gave up two third-period goals, one into an empty net, and swept for the first time in their franchise's (Colorado) history. Highlights: Todd Marchant scored Anaheim's first goal, set up the clincher with a lovely pass and scored the empty-netter to continue his tremendous playoffs, and Bryzgalov shut the door again:
|Bryzgalov: Just Ducky.|
Playoff save percentage leaders
Bryzgalov, Ana .967
Ward, Car .942
Toskala, SJ .936
Roloson, Edm .932
Playoff goals-against average
Miller, Ward, Toskala, Brodeur 1 each
So the Ducks get a little extra rest, the first team into the conference finals. Like all of the teams thriving at this halfway stage of the tournament, they've been faster and deeper and better in goal than their opponents. But either the Oilers or, more likely, the Sharks will provide a lot stiffer opposition than the Avs, undermanned at the end and barely able to muster a white flag, the official surrender coming with Steve Dowd's late penalty and accompanying misconduct. They went out literally whimpering.
Over at Puck Update, Steve Ovadia posted a spreadsheet last week relating teams to Olympic participation and the Avalanche led all teams with 10 players having played in Turin. There's no permalink, so I'll sum it up thusly:
Next in line after the departing Avs, the Rangers and Detroit (9 each) are gone;
At 8 players apiece, Tampa Bay and Philly are gone and the Senators are barely alive;
With 7 each, Dallas is dead and New Jersey is flatlining. I could go on, but I think there's plenty of gruel there to go with your morning cup.