3 Stars of the Night: April 16

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 16, 2016

#3) JT Miller, NY Rangers: 3 assists

It was Miller Time in the ‘Burgh during the second period of Game 2 as the Rangers’ forward registered three primary assists over a span of 4:14. When New York does well in the playoffs, it’s generally not the so-called super stars on their team like Nash, Staal, or recently St. Louis and others of that ilk. It’s the young stars that do the most damage. Stepan. ‘Ol Dirty Brassard. Zuccarello. Miller. Kreider. Those are the players that have been most lethal among this recent stretch of Blueshirts’ successes. Miller was also a plus-3 in the game, which negates his minus-3 from Game 1.

#2) Joe Pavelski, San Jose: goal, assist

The Big Pavelski, Captain America, whatever you want to call the Sharks captain, just make sure you mention he’s en fuego. The Kings have shown no ability to slow down one of the best American-born players that most people overlook when discussing best players in the NHL. His all-around strong play is a very big reason that San Jose has their cross-state rivals in an early series hole, but we’ve seen this fish before…regardless, Pavelski is once again rocking it in the playoffs with four points in two games and a game-winning goal.

#1) Braden Holtby, Washington: 41 saves/42 shots, Win

Holtbeast has picked up right where he left off in the regular season, as the Flyers have lost the first two games in DC while scoring only one goal over 120 minutes. He was under siege in the opening period of Game 2 and stopped all 19 shots he faced while being the backbone of the Caps that he has been for the past few seasons. If Philly has any dreams of making this a series, they will have to find a way to solve Holtby more than once in the two games back in the city of brotherly love, and maybe have to play a smudge better defense than they did in Games 1 & 2. Good luck with that. As the stat below explains, Holtby doesn’t give up much in the playoffs when he wins; related: this season, all he does is win.

Honorable Mention) Nicklas Backstrom/Marcus Johansson, Washington: goal, 2 assists/2 assists respectively

Backstrom and Johansson have been showing their wizardry and passing skills thus far, carrying and creating plays while finding open teammates. MoJo picked up his second straight two-assist game and Backstrom had a three-point night (1g-2a) and has four points through the opening games of their first round matchup. The duo also each won 50 percent of the faceoffs they took in Game 2, helping to keep the Flyers grounded.

3-Stars Standings:

Joe Pavelski (SJ): 5

Brian Elliott (StL): 3

Tyler Johnson (TB): 3

Braden Holtby (Wash): 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

JT Miller (NYR): 1