3 Stars of the Night: April 28

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 28, 2016

#3) Braden Holtby, Washington: 42 saves/45 shots, Win

Holtby faced 30 shots during the second and third periods as the Pens found their legs and started getting quality chances like they are accustomed to. The future Vezina Trophy winner answered the call overtime he needed to make a key save. Look, he’s had a great season, and an unreal start to the postseason, but he can’t and won’t give up one goal a game every game going forward, even though he gave up three goals on the night (to a stacked team), he still was an important part of the game.

#2) Nick Bonino, Pittsburgh: goal, assist

His stickhandling through about three Caps players set up the Penguins initial goal of the game and then he netted his own midway through the third period to tie the game. Bonino was flying all night alongside Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin and this will be the key line to keep producing to alleviate some pressure off of their star players; and hey, he certainly picked a good time to score his first goal of the playoffs. The threesome combined for 13 shots on goal in the Game 1 loss, can they replicate it in Game 2? Definitely Pittsburgh’s best skater on this night.

#1) TJ Oshie, Washington: 3 goals/GWG in OT

Oshie left his stamp on this game starting at the midway point in the second period with his team trailing 2-1. He scored the tying goal, then the go-ahead goal in the third period, and then capped off the hat trick with a wraparound goal on a move that was something out of a video game. Three goals, on five shots; and he blocked three shots too. His addition in the offseason was one of the big moves the Caps made in an attempt to take that next step in the playoffs, so far so good I guess. The third goal was a bit controversial, but video evidence seemed to confirm the referee’s call of a good goal. We picked the video from his first goal though, because that was a filthy, twisted shot.

3-Stars Standings:

Braden Holtby (Wash): 6

Joe Pavelski (SJ): 5

Brian Elliott (StL): 5

Michal Neuvirth (Phil): 5

John Tavares (NYI): 5

Pekka Rinne (Nash): 5

Nikita Kucherov (TB): 4

Tyler Johnson (TB): 3

Thomas Hickey (NYI): 3

Alex Ovechkin (Wash): 3

Antti Niemi (Dal): 3

Evgeni Malkin (Pitt): 3

Artemi Panarin (Chi): 3

Troy Brouwer (StL): 3

TJ Oshie (Wash): 3

Patric Hornqvist (Pitt): 2

Roberto Luongo (Fla): 2

Tanner Pearson (LA): 2

Frederik Andersen (Ana): 2

Ben Bishop (TB): 2

Mikko Koivu (Minn): 2

Sami Vatanen (Ana): 2

Shane Prince (NYI): 2

Nick Bonino (Pitt): 2