3 Stars of the Night: May 12

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.

May 12, 2016

#3) Martin Jones, San Jose: 20 saves/20 shots, Shutout Win

It took a while but the Sharks may have finally found Evgeni Nabokov’s successor in their crease. Traded twice in the offseason, Jones is one of the four goalies left in the NHL playoffs and the two teams that traded him (Los Angeles and Boston) are home watching on tv. He only faced eight shots over the first two periods as San Jose had control of the game from the git-go, but it’s not easy to get a shutout in a Game 7 and Jones denied 12 third period shots from the Preds.

#2) Logan Couture, San Jose: goal, 2 assists

Very, very quietly, Couture is leading the NHL in points during these playoffs with 17 (7G-10A), so quietly that this is his first appearance on my nightly list. He had a miserable injury-plagued regular season, but now he is hitting his stride and the Blues better pay attention to him in the West Final or they could be in trouble.  He also had a team-high four shots on goal. With both he and Pavelski hummin’ and the Beardos (Thornton and Burns) doing their thing, the Sharks have finally exorcised some demons and could advance to their first Cup Final.

#1) Joe Pavelski, San Jose: GW-PPG

As Joe goes, so go the Sharks and the Big Pavelski got the party started early, almost midway through the first period when he cashed in a power-play goal after getting knocked down in front of the crease seconds earlier. His ninth goal of the playoffs tied Tampa’s Nikita Kucherov for the NHL lead and San Jose’s captain isn’t showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. Right now he is my leader for the Conn Smythe Trophy, with Kucherov and St. Louis’ Brian Elliott closely behind. The Sharks have surprised a lot of folks by surviving the Pacific Division and Pavelski is a huge reason why.

3-Stars Standings:

Joe Pavelski (SJ): 11

Brian Elliott (StL): 9

Braden Holtby (Wash): 8

Nikita Kucherov (TB): 7

Victor Hedman (TB): 6

Michal Neuvirth (Phil): 5

John Tavares (NYI): 5

Pekka Rinne (Nash): 5

Tyler Johnson (TB): 5

Matt Murray (Pitt): 5

Patric Hornqvist (Pitt): 5

Ben Bishop (TB): 5

Troy Brouwer (StL): 5

Alex Ovechkin (Wash): 4

Nick Bonino (Pitt): 4

Thomas Hickey (NYI): 3

Antti Niemi (Dall): 3

Evgeni Malkin (Pitt): 3

Artemi Panarin (Chi): 3

TJ Oshie (Wash): 3

Radek Faksa (Dall): 3

Kris Letang (Pitt): 3

David Backes (StL): 3

Mike Fisher (Nash): 3

Kari Lehtonen (Dall): 3

Carl Hagelin (Pitt): 3

Phil Kessel (Pitt): 3

Robby Fabbri (StL): 3