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THE REPLAY ZONE
 
By Jeff Polman
 
June ruminations from your trusty Strat-O-Matic replay addict. Check out all four of my season replay-inspired baseball novels on Amazon.
 
 
The 2015-16 Canada Cup!
 
 
On May 25th of this year, Pittsburgh’s Chris Kunitz scored five minutes into the second overtime to win a thrilling Eastern Conference Game 7 over the Ottawa Senators, sending the Penguins back to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second straight year. It also crushed Canada’s hopes for the first Canadian entry in the Finals since Vancouver lost to the Boston Bruins in 2011. Last year things were even worse, as no Canadian team even made it into the 16-team Stanley Cup playoffs!
 
Well, thank heavens for Strat. Last week I took all seven Canadian teams from 2015-16 and staged a single elimination tournament to give our neighbors to the north a taste of fantasy playoff glory.
 
Ranking the clubs by final point totals and giving the leader a first-round bye to make the seven-team format workable, here’s how the first round of the mini-tournament shaped up:
 
TORONTO at MONTREAL
EDMONTON at WINNIPEG
VANCOUVER at CALGARY
 
(*OTTAWA got first place bye with 83 points)
 
 
FIRST ROUND
 
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 0
 
TOR: Bozak (Parenteau)
TOR: Van Riemsdyk (Reilly, Komarov)
TOR: Marincin (Kadri, Gardiner)
 
A shocker! Lowest-ranked Leafs score three times in the first period on Mike Condon and never look back, as the Habs can get nothing going offensively.
 
 
Oilers 3, Jets 2
 
WIN: Little (Wheeler)
WIN: Wheeler (Little, Enstrom)
EDM: Pouliot (McDavid, Eberle)
EDM: Draisaitl (Hall, Maroon)
EDM: Driasaitl (Maroon, Nurse)
 
For the second game in a row, all scoring happens in the first period, but this time Edmonton roars back from a quick 2-0 deficit and scores three straight before stifling Winnipeg with their defense.
 
 
Flames 2, Canucks 1 (OT)
 
VAN: Tanev (H. Sedin, Eder)
CALG: Brodie (Colborne)
CALG: Ferland (Benett, Brodie)
 
The best game of the first round sees the Flames’ Micheal Ferland take a pass from Bennett and shovel it past Ryan Miller for the overtime winner.
 
 
SEMI-FINAL ROUND
 
Senators 6, Maple Leafs 3
 
OTT: Hoffman (Karlsson, Stone)
OTT: Zibanejad (Larlsson, Ryan)
OTT: Ryan (Karlsson, Turris)
OTT: Turris (Karlsson, Stone)
OTT: Ceci (Ryan, Phaneuf)
TOR: Komarov (Gardiner, Van Riemsdyk)
OTT: Methot (Karlsson, Turris)
TOR: Bozak (Parenteau, Hunwick)
TOR: Grabner (Gardiner, Boyes)
 
Oh, so this is why the Senators got a first round bye. They pummel the Leafs with the first five goals of the game—four of them assisted by the great Erik Karlsson—and win in a chuckler. Up 6-1 in the third period, Ottawa gets a little bored and lets Toronto toss a few in the net just to be polite.
 
 
Oilers 4, Flames 2
 
CALG: Backlund (Giordano, Hamilton)
EDM: Hall (Maroon, Sekera)
EDM: Fayne (Hall, Sekera)
CALG: Bennett (Brodie, Wideman)
EDM: McDavid
EDM: Nugent-Hopkins (Korpikoski)
 
In a thriller in Calgary, Connor McDavid snaps a 2-2 tie with a dazzling unassisted goal in the third period to help put Edmonton into the championship game with Ottawa.
 
 
CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP
 
Senators 6, Oilers 3
 
OTT: Smith (Karlsson)
OTT: Smith (Ryan, Ceci)
OTT: Smith (Phaneuf, Zibanejad)
OTT: Lazar (Phaneuf, Pageau)
OTT: Ryan (Smith, Zibanejad)
EDM: McDavid (Sekera, Hall)
OTT: Lazar (Phaneuf, Pageau)
EDM: Nugent-Hopkins (Yakupov, Nurse)
EDM: Nurse (Yakupov, Nugent-Hopkins)
 

Continuing a trend, the Senators score the first five goals of the game—including a hat trick in the first period by Zack Smith before goalie Jonathan Bernier’s gloves are even warm. It’s 5-zip when the Oilers finally manage to score in the third period, but they’re already dancing in the Ottawa streets by then. Congrats to the Senators!