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THE REPLAY ZONE - JANUARY 2016
 
By Jeff Polman
 
January ruminations from your trusty Strat-O-Matic replay addict. Check out “Twinbill”, my new baseball novel incorporating two unique replays: one with the 1938 season and one with the Negro League All-Stars in 1941.
 
2014-15 ONE-AND-DONE HOCKEY TOURNAMENT!
 
My first NHL Strat tournament last year ended with the Minnesota Wild outlasting the St. Louis Blues in the final game, 2-1. Who would win this time?
 
Once again, the top two seeds by points (NY Rangers and Montreal) would get a bye for the first round, with the remaining 28 teams going at it in “one-or-done” fashion…
 
 
FIRST ROUND
 
At NY ISLANDERS 8, COLUMBUS 3
We start with an onslaught, as Okposo turns in a hat trick for the Islanders, who score three times in each of the last two periods.
 
PHILADELPHIA 3, at WASHINGTON 2
Claude Giroux with two goals and the #24-seed Flyers surprise the Capitals with the help of tough goaltending by Steve Mason.
 
At TAMPA 4, EDMONTON 2
Yakupov scores early for the Oilers, but the Lightning counter with four unanswered scores from four different snipers.
 
At OTTAWA 3, FLORIDA 2
Zibanejad with two goals to help the Sens to a 3-0 lead, but the Panthers make it interesting with two late third period tallies.
 
At PITTSBURGH 4, LOS ANGELES 2
Sidney Crosby scores on the first two shots of the game and the Pens never look back, Crosby notching the hat trick late in the third to put this one away.
 
At DETROIT 3, COLORADO 2 (overtime)
Tomas Tatar scores a minute into overtime to win a thriller with the Avalanche.
 
At NASHVILLE 3, TORONTO 2
The third straight 3-2 game goes the way of the Predators, thanks to a tying goal in the second period by Fisher and a winner in the third by Jones.
 
At CHICAGO 7, CAROLINA 3
The Blackhawk scoring machine gets into gear big time, as Patrick Kane scores four goals and Duncan Keith adds two in their quashing of the Hurricanes.
 
ARIZONA 4, at ST. LOUIS 2
Huge upset win by the 29th-seeded Coyotes versus the 4th seed Blues, with Arizona goals from Larsson, Korpikowski, Gagner, and Shane Doan.
 
At WINNIPEG 6, DALLAS 4
Goals from Spezza and Segun put the Stars in front early, but the Jets roar in the second period with five scores, two of them by Drew Stafford.
 
SAN JOSE 4, at MINNESOTA 3 (shootout)
Last year’s champs go down in a thrilling shootout, Couture notching the winner to go with his two goals during regulation.
 
At CALGARY 5, BOSTON 1
The Bruins can’t get anything started, as five different Flames score, including a rare short-hander by Lance Bouma.
 
At VANCOUVER 4, NEW JERSEY 1
Bonino with two goals and the Canucks easily handle the Devils up in the Northwest.
 
At ANAHEIM 6, BUFFALO 2
No contest in Orange County, either, as the Ducks score three times in each of the first two periods to crush the lowest-seeded Sabres.
 
 

SECOND ROUND

 

The teams are re-seeded, with the Rangers and Canadians joining the fray…

 
PHILADELPHIA 2, at MONTREAL 0
The first shutout in the tournament sees the Cinderella Flyers blank the Habs, Schenn and Couturier scoring the two goals. A most unexpected quick exit for the Montrealers.
 
At NY RANGERS 3, ARIZONA 0
The second shutout of the tourney follows the first, as Nash, Miller, and St. Louis goals make short work of the overmatched Coyotes.
 
DETROIT 4, at NY ISLANDERS 2
The Isles take a 2-1 lead in the second, but Red Wing goals by Sheahan, Datsyuk and Andersson end the period and end all scoring for the game.
 
At TAMPA 3, CALGARY 2
Stamkos, Callahan, and Palat all score in the second period and the Lightning hold on.
 
At NASHVILLE 5, PITTSBURGH 1
The Penguins run into a defensive wall, and the Preds hammer Marc-Andre Fleury for five scores, the final two by Mike Fisher.
 
At CHICAGO 3, WINNIPEG 2 (overtime)
Hossa scores in overtime to edge the Jets in a thriller. Patrick Sharp’s goal at the very end of regulation ties it after goals by Wheeler and Byfuglien had given Winnipeg the lead.
 
At ANAHEIM 8, SAN JOSE 5
The Ducks survive a “slugfest,” falling behind 5-3 in the second before scoring the final five goals of the game.
 
OTTAWA 3, at VANCOUVER 1
The last two remaining Canadian teams battle it out, and Alex Chiasson scores a hat trick for all three Senator goals.
 
 

THIRD ROUND

 
PHILADELPHIA 2, at NY RANGERS 1
So the 29th seed knocks off the #2 and #1, Steve Mason brilliant in the net again and the Flyers get goals from Giroux and Simmonds after Nash scores early for New York.
 
At TAMPA 4, DETROIT 0
Nikita Kucherov scores twice in the third and Ben Bishop notches the third tournament shutout.
 
At NASHVILLE 5, CHICAGO 4 (shootout)
James Neal scores the winning goal in the shootout, Mike Fisher gets a hat trick, and the Preds outlast the tough Hawks.
 
At ANAHEIM 4, OTTAWA 1
Two goals in each of the first two periods finish off the Senators and Canada’s hopes for taking the tournament.
 
 

SEMIFINAL ROUND

 
At TAMPA 2, NASHVILLE 1 (overtime)
With sudden death overtime replacing shootouts for the final three games, the Lightning prevail on a Stamkos OT winner on a 1-6 chance. In the third period, Stamkos also scored the first goal after missing three other “goalie rating” rolls just before it. Craig Smith notches the only Predator goal late in the third to tie the game.
 
At ANAHEIM 3, PHILADELPHIA 1
The Flyers’ magic luck finally dissolves at the Honda Center, Perry, Cogliano and Beliesky scoring for the Ducks as they move on to the final game against Tampa.
 
 

THE FINAL

 
TAM 2 2 1 – 5
ANA 0 0 2 – 2
 
A truly dismal showing in the championship game by the home Ducks, as they’re unable to get anything going against the tough Lightning defenders for the first two-thirds of the game. Kucherov, meanwhile, scores three times off Frederik Andersen and Johnson once, to crown the Tampa Bay Lightning as the new One-and Done Hockey Champion! The real Lightning did make the finals vs. Chicago that year, so there was definitely some realism involved.