Call Sunday a happy day for the Islanders as 2 of their prospects are advancing to their next playoff round. OK all of you who expected that Kirill Kabanov would be the best Islander prospect during the CHL playoffs can stop fibbing as nobody would believe you.
Even when we wrote that for the Maineaics to advance against the Montreal Junior that Kabanov needed to step up; we never did we expect him to play like this. Kabanov with 2 secondary assists helped his Lewiston Maineaics finish off their upset of 2nd seeded Montreal with a 6-3 win to take the series 4-2.
While the Islanders are patting themselves on the back for using a 3rd round pick on Kabanov, we have to say we are sold on his change as being real. Kabanov with the 2 assists now has an 8 game scoring streak with 5 straight being multiple point games.
At 5-11-16, Kabanov has lifted himself from out of nowhere to 16th then 11th and now to 8th in the QMJHL and the Maineaics now are advancing to the QMJHL semi-finals against the St. John Sea Dogs. The Maineaic are not supposed to have gotten this far, not this season but you know if Kabanov can find one more gear in his game you just never know.
While Nino was held scoreless by the Rockets, the story of Portland's 4-2 win was the Winterhawk trio of Sven Bartschi, Ty Rattie and Joe Morrow. If you want to talk about guys who are using the playoffs to enhance their draft status these 3 totally have.
Most mock drafts have these 3 as sure first round picks but the longer the Winterhawks go in the playoffs then the higher they are going to rise. Currently Bartschi is looking like 15th (which is where the Rangers currently pick), Rattie at 20 and Morrow 21.
Morrow in my eyes is going to leapfrog his 2 teammates and inch close to a Top 10 spot. Against Kelowna, Morrow tied a Winterhawk record for most goals in a playoff series with his 4 goals joining Michael Sauer in sharing the record.
Now Portland gets to sit back and wait for the survivor of Spokane/Tri-City to come forward (Spokane holds a 3-2 series lead) as the Western Conference Finals are scheduled to begin Friday night in Portland.
As for the lone Ranger prospect Ryan Bourque; unlike his coach Patrick Roy we do not buy that you work all year for the 7th game to be played at home. The effort shown by the Quebec Remparts during the last 2 games defies logic.
See yes playing at home has it advantages but if you are the Quebec Remparts first you need to show up to play. In game 6 of their series against the Shawinigan Cataractes, the Remparts best players were invisible as they dropped Game 6 4-2 and now have to go to a 7th game Tuesday night.
As we said Bourque and his teammates were invisible but this was the 2nd straight game where the Cataractes fought off elimination. We will see what happens on Tuesday night.
Bourque no points but he was not alone as this has been the kind of play that cost Quebec the 2 seed down the stretch.
In case you missed it that was Carl Hagelin starting at left wing for the CT Whale, it is just the beginning of a journey that will lead him to a Ranger uniform with a number 12 on it.
(Images: Kabanov/Ron Morin-Lewiston Maineaics, Niederreiter/Portland Winterhawks)