3 Stars of the Night: May 6

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 6, 2016

#3) Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay: 27 saves/28 shots, Win

Bishop survived a 16-shot onslaught from the Islanders in the first period which included a four-minute power play after he had already been run into and had a goal scored on him. “You’ve got to tip your hat to Bish, he saved us in that first period,” said head coach Jon Cooper after the game. Slowly but surely the Lightning started generating more and more chances the other way as the game wore on, and every time New York looked to extend their lead Bishop shut the door. The bad news for the Isles is that Tampa’s goalie is starting to play like he did in last year’s postseason and they have to beat him in three straight games now to win the series. He also had some help from his friend the post as well.

#2) Jason Garrison, Tampa Bay: GWG in overtime

Garrison’s first goal of the playoffs came at just the right time for the Lightning as he gave them a commanding 3-1 series lead with his bomb shot just 1:34 into overtime. He was also on the ice for the other Tampa goal in the third period, had three shots on goal and blocked three shots in the game. It doesn’t seem like he scores with as much frequency as he used to, but his cannon shot is obviously still a weapon as the Islanders found out Friday night.

#1) Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay: goal

Right now, Kucherov is the leader in my mind for the Conn Smythe Trophy. Think about where the Lightning are right now (one win away from the East Finals) and Steven Stamkos hasn’t played one second of one playoff game these past four weeks. All Kuch did in Game 4 was fire a team-high four shots on goal, net his league leading eighth playoff goal — which tied the score in the third period for the second (road) game in a row – plus added three hits and a blocked shot. The play of Kucherov and all of Tampa’s team really, is going to make Steve Yzerman’s decision this summer very, very tough on whether to re-sign 91 or not.

3-Stars Standings:

Joe Pavelski (SJ): 7

Nikita Kucherov (TB): 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

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

Mike Fisher (Nash): 3

Ben Bishop (TB): 3