3 Stars of the Night: April 15

It’s the most, wonderful time, of the yearrrrrrrr! Who doesn’t love playoff hockey right? This is what we wait all season for, this is why most of us became fans of the game, as the postseason captivates us year after year after year. My personal favorite part is the dying minutes of a one-goal game when everything is a scramble, bodies are diving everywhere, pucks are zipping around the zone and the intensity is as high as can be. Until we get to overtime that is, when it become full-on, tighten your butt cheeks, gasp and cringe with every shot end-to-end action (WITH NO COMMERCIALS!!).

Who will hoist the 2016 Stanley Cup?


With the team I cover out of the playoffs (again), I relish the opportunity to write a little out of character and enjoy the playoffs as a fan of the game, and pick my three stars of each night like our friends over at Yahoo!/Puck Daddy blog do throughout the season. You can find player standings at the bottom of each  post with three points for being the no. 1 star, two for no. 2 and one for no. 3 and on some nights we’ll have an honorable mention.

April 15, 2016

#3) Corey Crawford, Chicago: 29 saves/31 shots, Win

Crawford held the Blues to one goal for the second consecutive game (until a goal by Kevin Shattenkirk at 19:58 of the third) and his stellar performance will likely be overshadowed by all of the reviews on goals and non-goals in the third period. Crow now has the most playoff wins ever by a netminder in a Blackhawks uniform, which is kind of hard to fathom considering how long that franchise has been around, but when props are due, you give the dude his props. He’s not considered to be in the upper echelon of the current NHL goalies, but his success in games that really matter most definitely has him just outside that group.

#2) Roberto Luongo, Florida: 41 saves/42 shots, Win

It’s been a long time coming for Bobby Lu to get a playoff win for the Panthers. Sure he had multiple playoff wins and a deep run with the Canucks, but he really made a name for himself in the league with Florida and his return via trade was a huge part of pushing this current crop of Cats back to the postseason for the first time since 2012. The only goal @strombone1 surrendered was to the white-hot John Tavares with under four minutes remaining in the game and the Islanders goalie on the bench; when it mattered most, he stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced over the final forty minutes. An Ex-Islander also, Luongo and the Panthers will look to regain home-ice advantage Sunday night in Game 3 at the first NHL postseason game in Brooklyn for the Isles.

#1) Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay: 2 goals, 2 assists, GWG

Mr. Undrafted tied a team record with his four-point performance in Game 2 as the Lightning doubled their lead in the series and drubbed the Red Wings at the same time. His whole line is dominating Detroit at the moment, as if they picked right up from where they left off at the end of last season’s first round, seven-game series. Johnson had an up and down season, oft beset by injuries – but he’s showing the hockey world that he is a primetime player and his performance in the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs was no fluke. In addition to the four points, TJ also was a plus-3, had three shots on goal, two takeaways and won ten of the 18 face-offs he took.

3-Stars Standings:

Joe Pavelski (SJ): 3

Brian Elliott (StL): 3

Tyler Johnson (TB): 3

John Tavares (NYI): 2

Patric Hornqvist (Pitt): 2

Roberto Luongo (Fla): 2

Nikita Kucherov (TB): 1

Reilly Smith (Fla): 1

Corey Crawford (Chi): 1