One of the things that stood out to me about hockey when I was younger was the “Three Stars of the Game” after each game. It was, different, like everything in hockey was to me when learning the game. It was reminiscent of the “Hero & Goat” caricatures by the late, great Bill Gallo that I read in the NY Daily News after playoff games involving professional teams in New York City.
Needless to say it was a bit surreal being able to one day actually vote for the three stars of the game sometimes while covering New Jersey Devils games. The 2015 Stanley Cup Final is now underway between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Chicago Blackhawks and for the duration of the series in this space we will take a look at who we thought were the three stars of each game.
— NHL (@NHL) June 14, 2015
2015 Stanley Cup Final
Game 1: Chicago 2 Tampa Bay 1 — 3 Stars of the Game
Game 2: Tampa Bay 4 Chicago 3 — 3 Stars of the Game
Game 3: Tampa Bay 3 Chicago 2 – 3 Stars of the Game
Game 4: Chicago 2 Tampa Bay 1 – 3 Stars of the Game
Game 5: Chicago 2 Tampa Bay 1
3) Kris Versteeg (Chicago) He hasn’t played in every game this postseason, but when called upon he has responded every time, sometimes in ways that don’t always show up on the stat sheet either. In Game 5 though he not only assisted on the game-winner but he also had a team-high four shots on goal. This was definitely his best game during the Final and he was a noticeable player on the ice during almost all of his 23 shifts. The true mark of a champion is getting contributions from each and every player and that is why Chicago is one win away from their third Cup in six years.
Crawford with some solid, in tight saves on Ryan Callahan:
2) Corey Crawford (Chicago) After a serious shaky start in the first period Crawford recovered and played a very solid game. Tampa had stretches where they were taking it to the Hawks and one of the league’s underrated goalies finished up with 31 saves in his third, 2-1 victory in these Finals (second on the road). He stopped 26 of 27 over the final forty minutes with lots of quality stops. There you go Matt Bowen, Pro-Crow choice!
Antoine ‘Mr. June’ Vermette…who knew!?!?
1) Antoine Vermette (Chicago) Looks like the acquisition of Vermette has turned out to be the best of all the trade deadline pickups, and if I’m not mistaken it was one of the final deals made/announced that day. He has four goals this postseason and three of them have been game-winners (two of which have been in Chicago’s three wins in this Final); not bad for a guy that was brought in basically as insurance if Patrick Kane couldn’t recover fast enough from his broken clavicle. The 32-year-old center was a beast in the face-off circle in Game 5 too, winning eight of the eleven draws he took (73%). His goal two minutes into the third period turned out to be the decider and it was a great play by him trailing the play — he was in perfect position to cash in on Versteeg’s rebound.
Another Antoine Vermette game winner, guys.
— Catherine Silverman (@catmsilverman) June 14, 2015