Here are the stats I took for Saturday's 5-3 win:
|Player||TOI||Shots||Faceoff %||Hits||Blocked Shots|
-Dominic Turgeon continues his solid play on both ends of the ice in this series. Though he was held scoreless in Game 5, he made 2 brilliant back-checking plays on Seattle forwards, taking away scoring opportunities. Like I've said before, Turgeon is a good 2 way player that is built for the playoffs.
-Due to the game being a back and forth rapid pace affair, taking away these chances was very important.
-Also, late in tight games, Nic Petan is Coach Jamie Kompon's go to faceoff guy. He took Portland's last 4 faceoffs, winning 2 of them.
-Oliver Bjorkstrand is really starting to look like himself again in this series. He now has 8 points in the last 2 games and he scored another empty net goal. 10 shots on goal for the Dane, not including one of the 5 posts that the Hawks hit in the game.
-Somehow Bjorkstrand has yet to beat Seattle's starting Goalie: Taran Kozun in the series. Kozun made one particularly impressive save on Bjokrstrand off his shoulder, that ended up on the top of the net. It's only a matter of time before Oliver gets on past him.
-Bjorkstrand and Nic Petan both look to have more room in the opponent's zone then they had through the first 3 games. A lot of this room, I would attribute to Paul Bittner. He's starting to use his size more in corner battles and in front of the net screening Kozun. Both of Bittner's 2 goals came in tight on the net, where his frame is very useful.
-Adam Henry appears to have taken Layne Viveiros' place as the QB on the first unit power play. This is a very smart move by Kompon as Henry has performed this task and is skilled at it. He was one of the league leaders in power play assists, before he was traded to Portland from Saskatoon.
-Henry scored on the power play but had the goal dis-allowed when the referees ruled that Bittner made incidental contact with Taran Kozun, taking away his "opportunity to make a save." The puck appeared to enter the net at nearly the same time as Kozun and Bittner made contact. To be completely honest, I was okay with the goal being dis-allowed, as long as this stays consistent in the series. Yes, Bittner did not mean to collide with Kozun and yes, Kozun was out of the net, but the WHL is making a strong effort to protect their goalies and this decision holds true with that effort.
-Overall, it's certainly starting to look like Portland took Seattle's best punch and it pushed them to play a more rugged, shot blocking, contact making, playoff brand of hockey.
-As long as Portland's top line continues to have room and is being complimented with secondary scoring, Seattle does not have the guns to keep up.
Editor's note: I should have some time on ice stats for Game 6, if time allows.