Thursday, April 27, 2017

Is Friday's game a must-win for Saint John?

Is Friday's Game 5 a must-win for the Saint John Sea Dogs?

Technically, it's not. A Sea Dogs loss and Saint John could still win the series in seven games. But if the Chicoutimi Sagueneens' playoff run so far is any indication, the Sea Dogs may want to treat it like a must-win game.

Chicoutimi is 10-5 so far in this year's playoffs. But when coming off a loss, the Sags are an impressive 5-0. They have yet to lose back-to-back games this post-season.

Here's how Chicoutimi has performed in games following a loss:

Round 2, Game 2: 5-2 win at Rouyn-Noranda
Round 2, Game 4: 6-1 win vs Rouyn-Noranda
Round 2, Game 7: 4-3 OT win at Rouyn-Noranda
Round 3, Game 2: 3-2 2OT win at Saint John
Round 3, Game 4: 4-3 win vs Saint John

In short, if the Sags win Friday's Game 5, defeating them twice in a row to win the series could be a problem for Saint John.

Friday's game takes place at 7 p.m. at Harbour Station. Game 6 is in Chicoutimi (which sold out in just 23 minutes) on Sunday at 5 p.m. while a Game 7 would be Tuesday night back in Saint John.

The Sags have been very good in this series, but the Dogs could be up 3-1 in this series or even advanced. That's no disrespect to Chicoutimi, they've played well enough to be in this position. But one of their wins came in overtime while the other came via a goal in the final seconds of regulation, games that could have just as easily gone in Saint John's favour. But that's hockey - and now we're treated to longer, entertaining series.

Meanwhile, things are not good on Prince Edward Island. The Charlottetown Islanders have struggled defensively in the past few games and are now down 3-1 in their semifinal series against the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.

Game 5 is on Saturday, but the Isles will be without their best player in Daniel Sprong. The Isles forward has been suspended one game for a "blow to the head, gratuitous gesture and unnecessary at the end of the game," according to the league.

Here's the blow to the head, which came late in Wednesday's Game 4:
The Isles and their fans are not happy. It'll be interesting to see how Charlottetown plays on Saturday, because this could fire them up.

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