3 Stars of the Night: May 24

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 24, 2016

#3) Matt Murray, Pittsburgh: 28 saves/30 shots, Win

Murray, who turns 22-years-old on May 25, had a somewhat easy first two periods, but the spotlight was on him a lot in the third period, despite giving up two goals. The rookie goalie stopped 17 of the 19 shots he faced in the final period as Tampa surged and threw everything they could towards the net. Even on the two goals, he wasn’t really at fault – the first goal was redirected in by his teammate Phil Kessel, and the second was a seeing eye shot that was across the grain. After being sat down in Game 5, the kid responded with a strong performance in Game 6 to force a decisive Game 7.

#2) Brian Boyle, Tampa Bay: 2 Goals

Tampa’s best players (i.e. Johnson, Kucherov, Hedman) weren’t their best players, but the Lightning still made a game of it thanks to the hustle, hard work and determination from players like Ryan Callahan and Boyle. The latter scored on two of his four shots on goal, won 58% of the face-offs he took, had two hits and blocked one shot in the home loss in Game 6. The first goal was credited to him after a defender redirected it, but the second goal was a thing of beauty – over the shoulder and under the cross-bar, on the far side. Good stuff.


#1) Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh: GWG, Assist

No. 87 made a phenomenal, crisp, cross-ice pass to Kessel during a 5-on-3 that opened the scoring in the first period, but it was his breakaway goal with 26 seconds left in the second period that made the game 3-0, really broke the backs of the Lightning and ended as the game-winner after a push from Tampa in the final twenty minutes. Big-time players step up in big-time moments of big-time games and that’s exactly what Crosby did. He’s certainly left his impression on this series, as he now has all three of Pittsburgh’s GWGs this series. Sorry Lightning fans, but win or lose in Game 7 you are going to see the highlight of that goal across all platforms and promotions until the end of days.

3-Stars Standings:

Joe Pavelski (SJ): 16

Brian Elliott (StL): 11

Nikita Kucherov (TB): 9

Braden Holtby (Wash): 8

Victor Hedman (TB): 8

Troy Brouwer (StL): 8

Tyler Johnson (TB): 8

Phil Kessel (Pitt): 7

David Backes (StL): 6

Martin Jones (SJ): 6

Sidney Crosby (Pitt): 6

Matt Murray (Pitt): 6

Michal Neuvirth (Phil): 5

John Tavares (NYI): 5

Pekka Rinne (Nash): 5

Patric Hornqvist (Pitt): 5

Ben Bishop (TB): 5

Carl Hagelin (Pitt): 5

Andrei Vasilevskiy (TB): 5

Alex Ovechkin (Wash): 4

Nick Bonino (Pitt): 4

Kris Letang (Pitt): 4