Thursday, March 23, 2017

Five things to watch: Oceanic vs Sea Dogs

Playoff time is here.

Here's five things to watch out for in the Saint John Sea Dogs' first round series against the Rimouski Oceanic, which begins on Friday night at Harbour Station.

1. Will the Oceanic win a game?
This is a wild stat from TVA Sports' Mikael Lalancette:
While the Oceanic are heavy underdogs, it doesn't feel as lopsided as some of the first round series during Saint John's glory days felt.

2. Welcome back
There will be some familiar faces in the lineup of both teams. The Oceanic's roster former Sea Dogs forward Nico Blachman and defenceman Vincent Martineau - although Martineau has not played with the team since January.

The Sea Dogs feature former Oceanic captain Simon Bourque. The Montreal Canadiens prospect spent his entire QMJHL career in Rimouski before being dealt to Saint John during the holiday trading period.

3. Just the start
The Sea Dogs have a bizarre playoff history, essentially going on either a huge run or getting wrecked in the opening round. Saint John has been in the playoffs eight times in their history, being eliminated in the first round three times while making it to at least the semifinals in each of the other five.

4. Tyler Boland is good
If there is one player on the Oceanic to keep an eye on, it's Tyler Boland. The 20-year-old Newfoundlander finished the regular season second in league scoring with 103 points and second in goals with 48.

Saint John's Matthew Highmore, meanwhile, finished eighth in league scoring with 89 points.

5. Beast of the East
The Sea Dogs finished the regular season with an impressive record of 10-1-1-0 against East Division teams. The Oceanic went 3-9-0-0 against Maritimes Division teams.

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