2012 Surging Playoff Sleepers: Sullivan, Dupuis, Voracek, Simmonds, Turris
(4/2/12) As you lock in your final starting roster for the last week of the regular season, all you can do now is sit back and watch. Hopefully you're cruising to a championship or surging toward a comeback, but now that the work is done it's time to begin turning one eye toward playoff pools. There were a number of key performances Sunday that might give some clues as to who's primed for a playoff explosion.
First off, the Penguins and Flyers are likely first round opponents, and their game yesterday gives a preview of what's to come - a healthy serving of animosity and intensity. The Flyers won the game 6-4, and both teams sent a message that they won't be backing down. The game featured goals, brawls, fan taunting, and jawing between the benches. Check out the highlights...
As for the playoff sleepers making a contribution, Steve Sullivan scored a couple of goals, and he's a slippery veteran who could be huge if the Penguins make a run as expected. He has 9-points in his last seven games, and 25 in 29 games since the All-star break. Another Penguin who is absolutely on fire is Pascal Dupuis. He recorded a pair of assists, and he now has a point-scoring streak of 14 consecutive games! He's notched 19-points over that stretch, and he's one of the hottest players in the league going into the playoffs. Make sure to put a star beside the names of both of these guys on draft night.
While we think the Penguins are definitely the favorite to win the series, judging by what we witnessed yesterday, the Flyers will give them everything they can handle. Jakub Voracek had a terrific game, netting a pair of goals and adding a helper. He now has 7-points in his last four starts, and he's looking like a smart pick if you decide to go with the underdog. As well, Wayne Simmonds was a thorn in the side of the Pens all game, and his goal turned the tide and put the Flyers ahead for good. Simmonds has 6-points in his last four games, and he has the exact type of skill-set that translates to the second season.
Elsewhere, the Senators look to be heading for a showdown with the defending champion Bruins, and they're quietly playing very good hockey the last few games. Kyle Turris had a 4-point night as the Sens downed the Islanders 5-1 yesterday, and he now has 8-points in his last four games. It'll be a tough matchup in round one, and the Sens will have to play perfectly to score the upset, but based on his recent performance, we'll bet Turris is productive and bump him a few pegs up the ladder in the final edition of the playoff guide.