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Third Time's The Charm(?) - Atlanta Firebirds

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Old 01-13-2019, 07:28 AM   #33
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Re: Third Time's The Charm(?) - Atlanta Firebirds

March 2018: Around The League

STANDINGS


ATLANTIC: The division has settled on a Top 3, they just need to decide what order they'll finish in. Toronto and Atlanta at 97 points, Tampa at 96 -- it's anyone's game. The Florida Panthers, currently at 85 points, would get in as the lower wild card, but there are still a lot of teams in the hunt. Ottawa is technically the only team eliminated.

METRO: Columbus and Pittsburgh definitely in are battling for the division title and probably home ice through the Conference Final. Carolina's 89 points currently have them in the #3 seed and the Isles at 88 have the inside track for the other wild card. Again, the only team technically eliminated is Philly, though a few others have a really unlikely path.

CENTRAL: Nashville and Chicago are in and are probably going to finish 1-2. Winnipeg has the inside track for the 3 seed and COULD mathematically catch them, but it's pretty close to "Jets have to win out/Preds and Hawks have to lose out" territory, so probably not. Officially nobody's eliminated, though the bottom three teams (Red Wings 78, Wild 79, Avs 80) are on death's door. The Blues at 87 would get the higher wild-card slot at the moment.

PACIFIC: Nothing's settled (except for poor Calgary) but a top three of LA, Arizona, and Edmonton are starting to gel, and most of the other teams would have to get pretty lucky to sneak into 3rd. San Jose has dibs on the low wild card, but it's a pretty shaky grip.

In fact, here... have a bonus data visualization:



The bars represent the range of potential points each team could generate based on their remaining games. Bottom of the bar is where they are now; top of the bar is the best they could do if they won out.

LEAGUE LEADERS



CALDER WATCH


Sbruev had a slow month, but so did some of the other leaders, so he's probably got enough cushion to win the rookie scoring title -- that and his team making the playoffs are a pretty strong Calder case. Ottawa's Zadina is the big mover here, and Elias Pettersson has finally started scoring goals.

Pheonix Copley is the only goalie who would qualify for the leaderboards in the rate stats, but he's not plaing that well -- sub-.500 record and a GAA around 3.40. Don't think that's Calder material, though I could be wrong.

Last edited by PFellah; 01-13-2019 at 07:51 AM.
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Old 01-13-2019, 07:37 PM   #34
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Re: Third Time's The Charm(?) - Atlanta Firebirds

April 2019: Firebirds Come Up Short In Atlantic, Settle For 2nd



I’m going to do these last few games a little differently, tracking the Firebirds and the rest of the league in quasi-realtime. It’s an experiment. The first few days are a bit wordy while there’s a lot of teams to track, but it thins out after a few days.

Setting the table, the Firebirds are battling for seeding. Conference champs/home ice throughout is mathematically possible for a few more games, but really unlikely unless Columbus, Pittsburgh, and Toronto ALL crater and Atlanta wins out or close to it. Really, we’re focusing on the division where we’re in a dead heat with Toronto and one point (and one game in hand) ahead of Tampa.

League-wide, I’ve organized it into four categories: In (guaranteed one of the top three slots in the division), Bubble (Top 3 or Wild Card), WC only, and Eliminated. Here’s how things stand at the start of April.
EASTERN CONFERENCE
  • IN: CBJ 104, PIT 102, TOR 97, ATL 97, TB 96
  • BUBBLE (WC or Top 3 possible):CAR 89, NYI 88, NJ 83, WSH 81, NYR 80
  • WILD-CARD ONLY: FLA 85, BOS 84, BUF 81, MTL 80
  • ELIMINATED: OTT 63, PHI 63

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  • IN: NSH 96, CHI 95
  • BUBBLE (WC or Top 3 possible):LA 92, ARI 92, EDM 90, WPG 88, STL 87, SJ 84, ANA 84, DAL 84, COL 80, MIN 79, DET 78
  • WILD-CARD ONLY: VAN 80, VGK 79
  • ELIMINATED: CGY 60

Let’s get to it!

APRIL 1 – 7 CLINCHED, 3 ELIMINATED, 22 STILL IN PLAY
FIREBIRDS: Atlanta in action at Detroit – the Red Wings aren’t eliminated, but their backs are against the wall. Early action is pretty even (2-2 through 1), but the Firebirds pull away in the 3rd – Kevin Hayes, Dylan DeMelo, and an empty-netter by Cogliano end the Wings’ divisional hopes and make their wild-card chances pretty slim. 5-2 W.

ATLANTIC (TOR 99, ATL 99, TB 96): Toronto beats the Hurricanes 4-3 to stay tied with Atlanta at 99 points. Tampa is not in action.

METRO (CBJ 106, PIT 102, CAR 89, NYI 88, WSH 83, NJ 83): Columbus beats Pittsburgh head-to-head 4-2, firming up their lead and putting the Jackets’ on the brink of home ice throughout. Carolina’s loss wastes their game in hand for the #3 position but still lead the Isles by a point. The Rangers lose to the Jets, moving them from the bubble to wild-card only; they can no longer catch Carolina.

WILD CARDS (NYI 88, BOS 85, FLA 85, WSH 83, NJ 83, BUF 81, NYR 80, MTL 80): Islanders still hold the high wild card at 88. Boston suffered an overtime loss to San Jose, but it’s good enough to catch Florida for the lower wild card for now at 85. Washington beat Montreal, but both are still viable for now.

CENTRAL (NSH 98, CHI 95, WPG 90, STL 87, DAL 84, COL 82): Predators beat the Kings 2-1, using their game-in-hand to widen their lead on Chicago. Winnipeg’s win solidifies their claim on the 3 spot, though they haven’t clinched yet. Minnesota and Detroit fall from bubble to wild-card only, and just barely since San Jose’s win moved the bar for the lower wild card to 86 points.

PACIFIC (LA 92, ARI 92, EDM 90, SJ 86, ANA 84): LA lost their game-in-hand, San Jose’s win keeps them mathematically viable. Still mostly wide open.

WILD CARDS (STL 87, SJ 86, DAL 84, ANA 84, COL 82, VAN 80, MIN 79, VGK 79, DET 78): Still wide open, though Detroit, Minnesota, and Vegas are pretty much at the brink of elimination thanks to San Jose’s win.

CLINCHED: NONE
ELIMINATED: NONE, though Rangers, Wild, and Red Wings fall from division bubble to wild-card only.

APRIL 2 – 7 CLINCHED, 3 ELIMINATED, 22 STILL IN PLAY
FIREBIRDS: Not in action.

ATLANTIC (ATL 99, TOR 99, TB 96): Toronto loses. Tampa not in action. Buffalo beat the Rangers to keep their wild card hopes alive. Florida lost, giving Boston a game in hand again. And just to be a completionist, Ottawa went down in overtime.

METRO (CBJ 106, PIT 104, CAR 89, NYI 88, WSH 83, NJ 83): The Pens beat Anaheim 4-3 in the shootout to gain back ground on Columbus. The Rangers’ loss to Buffalo all but eliminates them. Washington not only lost their game to Dallas 6-2, but Ovechkin is injured for 7 weeks, so… draw what conclusions you will about their chances going forward.

WILD-CARDS (NYI 88, BOS 85, FLA 85, WSH 83, NJ 83, BUF 83, NYR 80, MTL 80): No change in the numbers, but Buffalo helped themselves; the Panthers, Rangers, and Caps did not.

CENTRAL (NSH 100, CHI 96, WPG 90, STL 87, DAL 86, COL 82): Nashville beats Chicago in overtime to reach 100 points and solidify their lead. Dallas and wins to stay on the fringes of the #3 discussion and also ties San Jose for the second wild-card. Minnesota and Detroit win to keep their wild card hopes on life support.

PACIFIC (LA 92, ARI 92, EDM 92, SJ 86): Edmonton wins to make it a 3-way tie in the Pacific. San Jose loses but Anaheim’s shootout loss coupled with Edmonton’s win means they’re out of divisional consideration.

WILD-CARD (STL 87, SJ 86, DAL 86, ANA 85, COL 82, MIN 81, DET 80, VGK 79). Unchanged. Dallas tied SJ in points, but SJ still wins the tiebreak for now.

CLINCHED: NONE
ELIMINATED: NONE, though Anaheim leaves the bubble and becomes wild-card only.

APRIL 3 – 7 CLINCHED, 3 ELIMINATED, 22 STILL IN PLAY
FIREBIRDS: The Arizona Coyotes come to town and hand the Firebirds a 3-2 loss in overtime. On one hand, it opens up their first real lead in the Atlantic and officially makes it a 100 point season; on the other hand, every point is precious this time of year. Oliver Ekman-Larsson sidesteps the shootout with 39 seconds left in extra time. 3-2 L (OT).

ATLANTIC (ATL 100, TOR 99, TB 96): Toronto not in action. Tampa loses – they’re still mathematically in it, but their window is closing. An Atlanta win or Tampa loss eliminates them from the division title.

METRO: (CBJ 108, PIT 104, NYI 90, CAR 89): Columbus’ win over the Flyers ensures that whoever wins the Metro – they or Pittsburgh -- will win the Presidents’ Trophy and have home ice throughout the playoffs. The Islanders beat Colorado in overtime to pass Carolina and move into the third spot. It’s not clinched, but it reduce the #3 spot to a two-team race, since nobody else can reach the Isles’ 90 points.

WILD-CARDS (CAR 89, BOS 87, FLA 85, WSH 83, NJ 83, BUF 83): Now we’re starting to see some clarity. Boston beats the Devils 4-2 moving the lower wild-card to 87 points, which ends the post-season hopes for the Rangers and Canadiens.

CENTRAL (NSH 100, CHI 96, WPG 92, STL 89, DAL 86): Winnipeg’s win clinches at least a playoff spot – I’ll let the game grind out the tiebreaks, but even if they lost their remaining games, their 92 points would still be good enough for a wildcard. St. Louis and Dallas still might have a chance to sneak into that #3 spot, but it’s fading.

PACIFIC (LA 94, ARI 94, EDM 92, SJ 86): Apparently all three teams at the top clinch playoff spots. I don’t know the tiebreaks, but I’ll leave SJ on here for now; maybe they could grab the #3 from Edmonton or maybe they can’t.

WEST WILD-CARD (STL 89, SJ 86, DAL 86, ANA 85, COL 83, MIN 81, VGK 81, DET 80). I suspect Detroit is mathematically eliminated but I can’t prove it, and… it’ll probably work its way out in the wash.

CLINCHED: Winnipeg, Los Angeles, Arizona, and Edmonton are in, though Winnipeg could still be a wild card OR an automatic seed, and divisional position in the Pacific is still TBD.
ELIMINATED: Rangers, Canadiens.

APRIL 4 – 11 CLINCHED, 5 ELIMINATED, 16 STILL IN PLAY
FIREBIRDS: Not in action.

ATLANTIC (ATL 100, TOR 100, TB 96): Toronto suffers an overtime loss, pulling them even at 100 points, but giving the Firebirds game-in-hand advantage.

METRO: (CBJ 108, PIT 106, NYI 90, CAR 89): Pittsburgh whoops on the lowly Senators to keep the race for the Presidents’ Trophy alive until the last possible minute. Islanders and Canes both idle for that #3 seed.

EAST WILD-CARDS (CAR 89, BOS 87, FLA 87, BUF 85, WSH 83, NJ 83): The leaders stay put, but behind them Florida and Buffalo win, and the Caps lose, putting them at the brink of elimination.

CENTRAL (NSH 102, CHI 96, WPG 92, STL 89, DAL 88): Nashville wins and Chicago loses, wrapping up the Central AND the #1 seed in the West for the Predators. Winnipeg and St. Louis are idle, Dallas wins to keep whatever divisional hopes they have alive.

PACIFIC (LA 94, ARI 94, EDM 93): Edmonton falls a point behind LA and Arizona with an overtime loss, but it’s good enough to lock in the top 3 as San Jose can no longer catch them in the divisional race.

WEST WILD-CARD (STL 89, SJ 88, DAL 88, ANA 87, COL 83). San Jose pushing the bar to 88 snuffs out Minnesota, Vegas, and Detroit. Colorado is only still alive because they have a game in hand.

CLINCHED: Nashville – Central champs and #1 seed in the west. LA, Arizona, Edmonton all clinch top 3 automatic bids, but too close to call yet.
ELIMINATED: Minnesota, Vegas, Detroit.

APRIL 5 – 11 CLINCHED, 8 ELIMINATED, 13 STILL IN PLAY
FIREBIRDS: Boston comes to town in a game with playoff implications on both sides. The Firebirds are playing for seeding; Boston holds a slim lead for the final wild card. And it’s pretty quickly apparent which team is playing for its life and which is playing for seeding as Boston rattles off three goals in the first period. Things stabilize a little bit from there, but Boston continues to pad its lead as the Firebirds can’t put anything past Tukka Rask. 5-0 L.

ATLANTIC (ATL 100, TOR 100, TB 98): Tampa beats the Golden Knights to tighten things up. Everyone’s at game 80 – two to go.

METRO: (CBJ 110, PIT 106, NYI 92, CAR 89): The Islanders punch their ticket to at least the playoffs with points 91 and 92. They could still lost that 3rd seed to Carolina, but the worst that could happen is Carolina and Boston could pass them and push them to the #8 seed.

EAST WILD-CARDS (CAR 89, BOS 89, FLA 87, BUF 85): The Isles’ win makes Washington and New Jersey spectators the rest of the way. It’s basically. Florida or Buffalo still stand a slim chance of moving into the #8 seed but a lot would have to go right.

CENTRAL (NSH 102, CHI 96, WPG 94, STL 91): Winnipeg and St. Louis both win, putting Dallas out of the divisional picture for good and on the outside of the wild-card picture.

PACIFIC (ARI 96, LA 95, EDM 93): This looks like it’s going to go down to the last day, but for today, it’s Arizona with the slim lead.

WEST WILD-CARD (STL 91, SJ 88, DAL 88, ANA 87, COL 85). About the same as yesterday. Colorado won, so their slim path to the 8 seed still exists for one more day.

CLINCHED: Isles clinch a playoff berth, though like Winnipeg, it could be a divisional spot or a wild card.
ELIMINATED: New Jersey, Washington.

APRIL 6 – 12 CLINCHED, 10 ELIMINATED, 10 STILL IN PLAY
FIREBIRDS: Not in play.

ATLANTIC (TOR 102, ATL 100, TB 98): Toronto rights the ship with a win and briefly pulls back into the lead. Atlanta and Tampa have the night off.

METRO: (CBJ 110, PIT 108, NYI 92, CAR 89): Pittsburgh wins their 50th game of the season but Columbus has two chances to put it away. Isles and Canes not in action.

EAST WILD-CARDS (CAR 89, BOS 89, FLA 89, BUF 85): The Canes and Isles are idle, but Florida gets a win to move up into a tie with Boston. The Sabers, on the other hand, lose and are hanging on by a thread.

CENTRAL (NSH 102, CHI 98, WPG 94, STL 91): Chicago likely locks up the #2 seed in the Central, as Winnipeg can do no better than a tie, and St. Louis can’t even do that. The Jets and Blues are idle.

PACIFIC (ARI 96, LA 95, EDM 93): Edmonton loses which doesn’t technically change the math – they could still win the division if LA and Arizona both lose out – but feels like they’re headed for the 3 seed.

WEST WILD-CARD (STL 91, DAL 90, ANA 89, SJ 88). Dallas and Anaheim both pass San Jose for the #8 seed. As a side effect that puts Colorado out of their misery, even with a game in hand.

CLINCHED: Chicago probably clinches the #2 seed in the Central, but that’s about it.
ELIMINATED: Colorado.

APRIL 7 – 12 CLINCHED, 11 ELIMINATED, 9 STILL IN PLAY
FIREBIRDS: The recently eliminiated Devils roll into town and likely play spoiler on the Firebirds’ hope of raising an Atlantic Division banner with a 3-0 win. New Jersey held a 1-0 lead into the third, but Travis Zajac and Taylor Hall scored within the span of about a minute midway through the third, and that was all she wrote. 3-0 L.

After the game, Calgary placed D Matt Bartkowski on waivers. He’s got a decent contract for next year (850k) and and could replace Bieksa as the swing defenseman or sit in the minors with no harm done, so whatever. Claim submitted, and we got him.


ATLANTIC (TOR 102, ATL 100, TB 99): The Lightning get an overtime loss, and they can no longer win the division – they’ll either be a #2 or #3.

METRO: (CBJ 112, PIT 108, NYI 92, CAR 91): The Columbus Blue Jackets wrap up the Presidents’ Trophy and home ice throughout the playoffs. I suppose that also backs Pittsburgh into a clinch of the 2 seed. Meanwhile, the Islanders lose and the Hurricanes win, so the race for the #3 seed will go down to the last days of the season.

EAST WILD-CARDS (CAR 91, BOS 89, FLA 89, BUF 85): Boston still holds a tiebreak against Florida, but missed an opportunity to pick up ground. Buffalo… also still there.

CENTRAL (NSH 102, CHI 98, WPG 94, STL 93): The Blues beat the Jets head-to-head, which puts them in the playoffs as no worse than a wild card, and there’s still a chance to pass the Jets in Game 82.

PACIFIC (ARI 98, LA 97, EDM 93): Arizona and LA both win, which locks Edmonton into the #3 seed.

WEST WILD-CARD (STL 93, DAL 90, ANA 89, SJ 88). The lesser of St. Louis and Winnipeg has locked in the 7 seed, so it’s Dallas, Anaheim, and San Jose for the 8th (though I think Dallas has tiebreak over San Jose, so they may be eliminated).

CLINCHED: Columbus claims the Presidents’ Trophy, making Pittsburgh the #2 in the Metro. St. Louis clinches at least the higher wild card, still in line for the division. Edmonton is locked into #3 in the Pacific, will play the loser of Arizona-LA.
ELIMINATED: NONE

APRIL 8 – 13 CLINCHED, 11 ELIMINATED, 8 STILL IN PLAY
FIREBIRDS: Not in play.

ATLANTIC (TOR 104, ATL 100, TB 99): With a 3-1 win over the Wild, the Toronto Maple Leafs claim the Atlantic Division championship. Tomorrow, Atlanta and Tampa will figure out who’s hosting their first-round playoff matchup.

METRO: (CBJ 112, PIT 108, NYI 92, CAR 91): Isles and Canes gonna leave it until the last day. Both are idle today. Pittsburgh loses what became a meaningless game to finish at 108 points on the year.

EAST WILD-CARDS (CAR 91, BOS 89): Florida lost to the Anaheim Ducks and Boston holds a tiebreak over the Panthers, so they’re done. The lesser of Carolina-Isles and Boston will be the wild cards in the East.

CENTRAL (NSH 104, CHI 100, WPG 94, STL 93): Again, Jets and Blues will leave exact seeding for tomorrow night, but both are in the playoffs.

PACIFIC (ARI 98, LA 97, EDM 93): Arizona and LA both win, which locks Edmonton into the #3 seed.

WEST WILD-CARD (STL 93, ANA 91). Edmonton formally bounces the Sharks and the Dallas Stars lose, so Anaheim comes from behind to clinch the #8 seed out west! St. Louis and Winnipeg will be the #7 seed (currently the Blues).

CLINCHED: We know all 16 teams, now we’re just figuring out the last few seeds.
ELIMINATED: The other 16 teams.

APRIL 9 – LAST DAY OF THE REGULAR SEASON
FIREBIRDS: The Blues come to town trailing the Jets by a point for the #3 spot in the Central; Atlanta squandered their lead in the Atlantic, but can still wrap up home ice in the first round. Atlanta winning simplifies; St. Louis winning complicates – for both races. Well, it’s over quick – Atlanta puts up 4 first period goals en route to an easy win. Atlanta is #2 in the Atlantic and hosts Tampa; the Blues will be the upper wild card and face whoever wins the West (Atlanta or LA). 6-1 W.

ATLANTIC (TOR 104, ATL 102, TB 100): Tampa did their part with a win, but it’s not going to matter.

METRO: (CBJ 114, PIT 108, NYI 94): The Canes win, but so do the Isles, so the Isles “win” the right to be slapped around by the 108-point Pens. The Hurricanes arguably get the better draw, going up against Toronto in Round 1.

EAST WILD-CARDS (CAR 93, BOS 90): Boston pulls a point out of an overtime loss to officially break the tie with Florida, but they’re still the #8 seed. They’ll get the regular-season Champs, the Blue Jackets.

CENTRAL (NSH 104, CHI 100, WPG 96): Don’t feel bad, Blues. Winnipeg won anyway. Winnipeg will travel to Chicago for round 1. St. Louis will face the west winner, which will be… (wait for it)….

PACIFIC (ARI 98, LA 97, EDM 95): Arizona backs into the West title – they lose, but so do the Kings. Arizona will get the Blues; the Kings will host the Oilers.

WEST WILD-CARD (STL 93, ANA 91). Finishing up the bracket, the Ducks get the Predators in Round 1.


MONTHLY SUMMARY

STANDINGS REPORT
MONTH: 2-2-1
YEAR-TO-DATE: 47-27-8, 102 points
DIVISION: 2nd in Atlantic Division.
CONFERENCE: : 4th in total points.

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS: Perron 64, Kesler 58, Fast 56, Rick Nash 50, Sbruev 50
GOALS: Kesler 24, Rick Nash 22, Hayes 22 (11 for us), Fast 20, Perron 20, 3 players at 18
ASSISTS: Perron 44, Fast 36, Kesler 34, Sbruev 32, both Nashes 28
PLUS-MINUS: Djoos 25, Riley Nash 15, Petrovic 15, Murphy 12, Smith 12, Perron 12.


ON THE FARM
The Birmingham Bandits finish with 99 points (46-29-7), good for 3rd place in the North Division. Assuming the minor league playoffs mirror the NHL, that would mean they face the Utica Comets in Round 1. Nail Yakupov finished 7th in the league in scoring with 65 points and 3rd in assists with 47. Dominik Simon led the team with 28 goals, also good for 7th in the league. Linus Ullmark finally cracked the Top 10 in wins and had 8 shutouts, good for 3rd in the league.
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Old 01-13-2019, 07:44 PM   #35
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Re: Third Time's The Charm(?) - Atlanta Firebirds

April 2018: Around The League

STANDINGS


LEAGUE LEADERS


Chicago's Patrick Kane is your scoring leader with 98 points. Ovechkin missed the last few games with an injury, but still led the league in goals with 55. On the goalie side Bobrovsky and Andersen pretty much finish 1-2 in all the major goaltending categories.

CALDER WATCH


Sbruev wraps up the rookie scoring title. Enough to take home a Calder? We'll find out.
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Old 01-13-2019, 08:04 PM   #36
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Nice work making the playoffs, good luck for the road ahead.

Can't believe Ottawa have Zadina! I wonder what Detroit got in exchange for that trade.
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Old 01-14-2019, 09:40 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleBattleCat
Nice work making the playoffs, good luck for the road ahead.

Can't believe Ottawa have Zadina! I wonder what Detroit got in exchange for that trade.
I don't think it was a trade, I was just assuming some combination of pre-draft rosters + adding an 32nd team throws off the logic and some guys end up in different places. I was just happy the Sabres still picked first and still got Rasmus Dahlin. Welcome to the NHL Multiverse!
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Old 01-14-2019, 10:45 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PFellah
I don't think it was a trade, I was just assuming some combination of pre-draft rosters + adding an 32nd team throws off the logic and some guys end up in different places. I was just happy the Sabres still picked first and still got Rasmus Dahlin. Welcome to the NHL Multiverse!
lol NHL multiverse (it's actually quite fitting). ah yes, forgot that the 2018 class becomes re-drafted on expansion mode.

Go Firebirds!
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Old 01-15-2019, 11:36 PM   #39
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Stanley Cup Round 1 - Atlanta Firebirds vs. Tampa Bay Lightning



Duplicating the success of the Vegas Golden Knights, the Atlanta Firebirds were able to make the playoffs in their inaugural season, but the regular season ended on a bit of a sour note, as the Firebirds had the Atlantic division lead and coughed it up in the final days of the season. Time to put that in the rear view mirror and focus on the task in front of us.

The Firebirds come in with a better record, but if you look at the rosters, the Lightning probably have better players up and down the roster. Certainly Steven Stamkos is the best player on either team, and Vasilevskiy has been amongst the goaltending leaders all season. For being the favorites, this may be an uphill climb for the newcomers. But let's get to it!

Editor's Note: The format of these entries is going to be a little ragged because I couldn't really decide what info I wanted to collect. First couple games, I just grabbed the stuff I pulled for the regular season games, but then I decided I should capture more than that. I added scoring, and that was good, but then I decided for the playoffs, I'd even track the three stars. So you'll notice the detail gradually gets better, and I'll do a much better job next season and beyond.

GAME 1 (4/12, ATLANTA)
Game One begins with an exciting back and forth first period. The action is flowing freely, not a lot of stoppages. The Firebirds get the advantage in possession, but don’t have a lot of shots to show for it. In the second, things begin to swing back toward Tampa, and late in the 2nd, disaster strikes. The goal goes to Steve Stamkos in the books, but it’s an own-goal for Atlanta – Grubauer blocks the initial shot, but the puck trickles through to the goal line where Christian Djoos accidentally kicks it in before Grubauer can glove it. Unfortunately, the Firebirds never get it back in the 3rd, and the Firebirds lose the opener. 1-0 L.

DOWN ON THE FARM: The Utica Comets down the Bandits in overtime, 2-1, to take a 1-0 series lead.

GAME 2 (4/14, ATLANTA), TB LEADS SERIES 1-0
Brayden Point gets the scoring started 2:30 into the game, and the Firebirds are playing from behind for the second straight game, and things get worse when Yanni Gourde scores with 2:22 left in the first. Kevin Hayes finally puts the first puck of the series past Andrei Vasilevskiy midway through the second, but Nikita Kucherov restores the two-goal margin late in the 2nd. And that’s basically the lead that holds up, though Jesper Fast scores with 1:47 left to make it interesting. Atlanta puts 40 shots on net, but comes away with nothing to show for it, in the game or the series. 3-2 L.

DOWN ON THE FARM: Utica widens their series lead to 2-0 with a 5-2 win. Things not clicking at either level of the organization.

GAME 3 (4/16. TAMPA BAY), TB LEADS SERIES 2-0.
The series shifts to Tampa Bay, but things look promising for the visitors early. Alex Killorn opens the scoring 1:26 in, but Rick Nash answers back a few minutes later. Toward the end of the first, Atlanta finally gets its first lead of the series thanks to Riley Nash. Second period? Smooth sailing. Halfway through the 3rd, Dan Girardi bangs an equalizer past Grubauer, that eventually forces overtime. The Firebirds weather an early penalty kill (only the second penalty in a pretty clean game), and then with 5:34 left in the first OT, Andrew Cogliano FINALLY gives the Firebirds their first playoff win and guarantees the series will at least go back to Atlanta for a Game 5. Tip of the cap to Grubauer, who stopped 36 of 38 shots to keep the ‘Birds alive. 3-2 W (OT).

DOWN ON THE FARM: Utica wins 2-1, closing out a series sweep.

GAME 4 (4/18, TAMPA BAY), TB LEADS SERIES 2-1.
Annnnd the road team has now won every game so far. Tampa’s Ondrej Palat gets the lone 1st-period goal to start things off, but the Firebirds rattle off the next three – Sbruev and Fast in the 2nd, and Riley Nash with 6:26 remaining in the contest. Brayden Point scores with 2 minutes left to add some tension to the finish, but Atlanta hangs on and it’s a best-of-three. 3-2 W.

SCORING
0-1 – 1st, 4:01 -- Palat 1 (Johnson, Gourde)
1-1 – 2nd, 0:48 -- Sbruev 1 (Djoos, Mueller)
2-1 – 2nd, 3:38 -- Fast 2 (Perron, Kesler)
3-1 – 3rd, 13:34 -- Riley Nash 2 (Murphy, Smith)
3-2 – 3rd, 17:57 -- Point 2 (Gourde, Miller), 3rd

GAME 5 (4/20, ATLANTA), SERIES TIED 2-2.

Atlanta pitches a shutout to take their first series lead and move to the threshold of the second round. Craig Smith stakes the team to a lead a little more than 2 minutes in, and that’s all they would end up needing, though Riley Nash and Adam Lowry provided some breathing room with third-period goals. Grubauer naturally was the #1 star of the game, turning aside 32 shots. 3-0 W.

SCORING
1-0 -- 1st, 1:53 -- Smith 1 (Sbruev, Djoos)
2-0 – 3rd, 8:18 – Riley Nash 3 (Smith)
3-0 – 3rd, 18:52 – Lowry 1 (Pitlick, Hagelin)

THREE STARS
* - Philipp Grubauer (ATL) – 32 saves, 0.00 GAA, shutout
** - Craig Smith (ATL) – 1 goal (GW), 1 assist
*** - Adam Lowry (ATL) – 1 goal

GAME 6 (4/22, TAMPA BAY) – ATLANTA LEADS SERIES 3-2.

Kevin Hayes gets things started on the right foot for Atlanta, scoring 2:10 into the game. But Tampa answers later in the period, courtesy of Dan Girardi. Skip ahead to the third period and the action repeats itself – Sbruev give Atlanta a second lead, and the Girardi (again!) restores the tie a few minutes later. But with 3:31 to go in regulation, it’s Tampa’s Ryan McDonagh getting the game winner, and this series is going to go a full seven. (And oddly, that’s the fourth 3-2 result). 3-2 L.

SCORING
1-0 – 1st, 2:10 – Hayes 2 (Smith, Sbruev) PP
1-1 – 1st, 13:07 – Girardi 2 (Killorn, Johnson)
2-1 – 3rd, 3:05 – Sbruev 2 (Hayes, Smith) PP
2-2 – 3rd, 4:08 – Girardi 3 (Sergachev)
2-3 – 3rd, 16:29 – McDonagh 1 (Paquette)

THREE STARS
* - Dan Girardi (TB) – 2 goals
** - Ryan McDonagh (TB) – 1 goal
*** - Kevin Hayes (ATL) – 1 goal, 1 assist

GAME 7 (4/24, ATLANTA) – SERIES TIED 3-3.
Atlanta rolls out to a 2-1 first period lead on goals by Ryan Kesler and David Perron, and things are looking promising for the expansion team. But at the beginning of the third period, Yanni Gourde gets the equalizer, and it’s down to one period (plus overtime if needed). And then, with 5:12 former Firebird castoff Jordan Martinook scores what ends up being the series winner. NOOOOOO! (Hope that 2020 draft pick was worth it!) McDonagh adds an empty netter to avoid a 5th 3-2 outcome, and the Firebirds’ inaugural season is over. 4-2 L.


SCORING
0-1 – 1st, 0:26 – Kucherov 2 (Stamkos, Palat)
1-1 – 1st, 8:54 – Kesler 1 (Fast, Sbruev)
2-1 – 1st, 18:48 – Perron 1 (Fast, Petrovic)
2-2 – 3rd, 0:50 – Gourde 2 (Hedman)
2-3 – 3rd, 14:48 – Martinook 1 (Callahan)
2-4 – 3rd, 19:12 – McDonagh 2 (Martinook, Hedman) EN

THREE STARS
* - Andrei Vasilevskiy (TB) – 38 shots faced, 36 saves, .947 save %, 2.00 GAA
** - Jordan Martinook (TB) – 1 goal, 1 assist
*** - Victor Hedman (TB) – 0 goals, 2 assists, 4 hits

TB WINS SERIES 4-3

Last edited by PFellah; 01-15-2019 at 11:58 PM.
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Old 01-16-2019, 07:04 AM   #40
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Re: Third Time's The Charm(?) - Atlanta Firebirds

2018-2019 Closeout: Playoffs And Awards



STANLEY CUP
The 2018-2019 Stanley Cup champs are the Los Angeles Kings, who defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4 games to 1. LA was probably the least sexy of the division winners, as they were the only one NOT to top 100 points. In a weird bit of symmetry, the Kings won all four of their series (Oilers, Blues, Jets, and the finals) by the same 4-1 margin. Meanwhile, Toronto swept the Hurricanes in Round 1, handled Tampa 4-2 in Round 2, and then swept the Pens to reach the finals.

Other notable results: Winnipeg ousting the #1 seed Predators 4-2 in Round 2 and Pittsburgh losing the regular-season battle to Columbus but beating them in the playoffs, 4-2.

CALDER CUP
The Stockton Heat (minor-league affiliate of the Calgary Flames) defeat the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philadelphia Flyers), 4 games to 2.

PLAYER AWARDS
Hart: Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Columbus -- 44-15-5, 11 shutouts, 1.74 GAA, .940 save percentage.
Norris: Drew Doughty, LA -- 10 goals, 58 assists, 68 points, +32, 129 hits, 120 blocked shots
Vezina: Bobrovsky
Calder: Nikolai Sbruev, LW, Atlanta -- played all 82 games, 18-32-50, -2
Conn Smythe: Jonathan Quick, G, LA -- 20 GP, 16-4-0, 2 shutouts, 1.83 GAA, .938 save percentage
Lady Byng: Patrick Kane, RW, Chicago
Masterton: Jonathan Ericsson, D, Det
Selke: Patrice Bergeron, C, Boston
Lindsay: Bobrovsky

AUTOMATIC (stats-based) AWARDS
Art Ross: Patrick Kane, RW, Chicago -- 98 points (41 G, 57 A)
Maurice Richard: Alex Ovechkin -- 55 goals
William Jennings: Bobrovsky -- CBJ 159 goals against

DRAFT LOTTERY/TOP 10
1. Montreal
2. Colorado (via OTT)
3. NY Rangers
4. Calgary
5. Philadelphia
6. Vancouver
7. Detroit
8. Las Vegas
9. Minnesota
10. Washington

NOTABLE RETIREMENTS (> 500 GP)
Zdeno Chara, David Clarkson, Matt Cullen, Johan Franzen, Tom Gilbert, Matt Hendricks, Marian Hossa, Jarome Iginla, Chris Kelly, Brooks Laich, Ben Lovejoy, Derek MacKenzie, Ryan Malone, Drew Miller, Dominic Moore, Johnny Oduya, Matt Stajan, Joel Ward.

(Odd: Jarome Iginla did not show up on the list of retired players, but then he DID show up on the list of retired players who became scouts.)

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