- Paul Grant
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Goaltender mortality strikes again: We saw the illness befall the Penguins' Marc-Andre Fleury in the first round. The malady hit the Predators' Pekka Rinne in the second round. And it's starting to infect the recently immune Mike Smith, who looked average against the Kings on Tuesday night. He didn't let in a lofty-softie, a la Jonathan Quick, but the secret to being a Conn Smythe-clinching goalie in the playoffs is to repeatedly make the impossible saves. And Smith needs to return to Superman form in order for his Coyotes to have a chance of making the Stanley Cup finals.
Dustin Penner is a winner: Sure, that doesn't really rhyme, but the point is Penner is making the most of his second chance in this second season. Clean slate, relatively new coach, blahddy-blah. He continued to impress in Game 2, working hard and taking names to help solidify a key road sweep. Oh, yeah, and Jeff Carter fired a hat trick. Talk about your second chances.
Speed doesn't kill, but it sure hurts: Watching multiple replays slowed down to the frame, it's easy to think, "That was a late hit." But some guys are just better at adjusting quickly. Some guys aren't (ahem, Raffi Torres). So when you see Shane Doan absolutely clobber Trevor Lewis and get a five-minute major for boarding, it's not as clear a call as it looks frame by frame. In real time, this is split-second decision-making. You're welcome, Brendan Shanahan.
Darryl Sutter needs to turn his frown upside down: The Kings' coach is one droll dude. One can only imagine the chitter-chatter around the Sutter family farmhouse dinner table.
Dan Craig, genius: The NHL's ice maestro has worked some magic while advising Phoenix and L.A. in the past on how to get the most out of their ice. Folks, it was 107 degrees outside the rink before the opening faceoff. When the puck is bouncing around like, er, thawed rubber, it makes for awful passing, dumb giveaways and flubbed shots. It's a miracle there aren't more bouncing beauties going in from center ice.
Goaltender mortality strikes again: We saw the illness befall the Penguins' Marc-Andre Fleury in the first round. The malady hit the Predators' Pekka Rinne in the second round.