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 4, 2016
#3) John Carlson, Washington: goal
Carlson seemed like he was everywhere in Game 4, which makes sense since he almost played half the game, leading all skaters in ice-time with 30:15. He’s been leading the way on the offensive side also, which is a bit surprising considering all of the weapons the Caps have — Carlson’s ten points are two clear of his closest teammate, Alex Ovechkin. With Washington now facing elimination, except more heavy minutes for JC going forward.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) May 5, 2016
The feed. The goal. The celly. 💯
— NBC Sports Bet (@NBCSportsBet) May 5, 2016
#2) Trevor Daley, Pittsburgh: goal
With Kris Letang and Olli Maatta out of the game due to suspension and injury respectively Daley had a huge game, and not just because of the goal he scored. He played a team-high 28:41 (the most he’s played in the last 18 games), had two hits and was on the ice for all three of the Pens goals tonight. He also was a big factor in keeping the Caps stars off of the scoresheet — Ovechkin, Backstrom, Kuznetsov, Oshie and Burakovsky all combined for zero points.
Daley was a warrior tonight. He did more than just ease the burden of no 58. Really, really strong showing.
— Mike Necciai (@Michael29Angelo) May 5, 2016
Daley ties the game! 🚨🐧🚨🐧🚨 pic.twitter.com/wayTltO0Kl
— 🐧PensNPucks🏒 (@PensNPucks) May 5, 2016
#1) Patric Hornqvist, Pittsburgh: GWG, assist
The hero of Game 4 assisted on Daley’s goal and then was in the right place at the right time on the winning goal when Mike Weber’s ill-advised attempt at moving the puck landed right on Hornqvist’s stick and in his wheelhouse 2:34 into overtime. He also played the physical game in this one, with a game-high six hits on Washington players. Teams that go on to win the Stanley Cup always have multiple players step up over the course of the postseason and tonight that was Hornqvist, just like on the opening night of the playoffs when he had a hat trick and an assist. He had gone goalless in six straight after that one, but now has goals in each of the last two games.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 5, 2016
Joe Pavelski (SJ): 7
Braden Holtby (Wash): 6
Brian Elliott (StL): 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
Nikita Kucherov (TB): 4
Alex Ovechkin (Wash): 4
Thomas Hickey (NYI): 3
Antti Niemi (Dall): 3
Evgeni Malkin (Pitt): 3
Artemi Panarin (Chi): 3
Troy Brouwer (StL): 3
TJ Oshie (Wash): 3
Radek Faksa (Dall): 3
Kris Letang (Pitt): 3
David Backes (StL): 3
Victor Hedman (TB): 3
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
Joel Ward (SJ): 2
Carl Hagelin (Pitt): 2
Shea Weber (Nash): 2
Trevor Daley (Pitt): 2
Dan Rice is in his 9th year of reporting for THW & has covered NJ Devils home games for 15+ years at various websites. He began his journey working for legendary broadcaster/writer Stan Fischler from 2002-04 & completed an internship at the ECHL; he also has been writing features for the NWHL (nwhl.zone) website since 2016.