Well, considering the Anaheim Ducks are now 2-0 in the 2007 playoffs without stud defenseman and Mensa candidate Chris Pronger, my guess is that we can officially scratch him off the short list of Conn Smythe trophy contenders.
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Pronger's hotly debated second suspension was weathered by the Ducks' remaining defensemen and especially goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who was stellar for most of game four.
Andy MacDonald, who took a high elbow from Ottawa agitator Chris Neil in game three, scored twice and assisted on Dustin Penner's game winner. Mac Donald has nine goals, which leads the Ducks in the playoffs. IMO, that pushes MacDonald into the Smythe discussion.
However, he's still behind Giguere, who has been the epitome of a money goalie. After missing games in the first round while his child dealt with health issues, Giguere has been next to unbeatable. He's yet to lose back to back games and his numbers are superb.
It's easy to knock his game watching on TV-his lateral movement looks awkward, he looks as if he's fighting the puck, his stickhandling is awful....yet the guy makes almost every save he needs to make.
At the other end, I have to toss a lot of praise at Ray Emery. He's been almost as spectacular. He's kept a couple of games from being blowouts, and really had little or no shot on all three Anaheim goals this evening. If nothing else, Ray-Ray should have managed to shut up erstwhile NY commentator Stan "The Maven" Fischler, who called Emery a sieve during the Eastern conference finals.
Now, that brings me to Daniel Alfredsson. Alfredsson enjoys a reputation as a classy player. However, he lost a lot of respect when he deliberately shot the puck at Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermayer at the end of the second period. It was an utterly classless move, and could have caused a serious injury had the shot gone awry and hit Niedermayer in the face.
Alfredsson should be suspended for game five. His actions disgraced his team. It should also remove him from any consideration for awards, which prior to tonight, his name was deservedly mentioned in discussions for.
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