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 to pick my three stars of each night like our friends over at the 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 7, 2016
#3) Joe Pavelski, San Jose: 2 goals, GWG
The Sharks played follow the leader and rebounded from two straight losses and a Game 4 triple overtime loss by riding the back of their captain who netted two goals in a Game 5 rout of Nashville. Pavelski converted a perfect pass from Joe Thornton less than two minutes after the Preds had tied the score late in the first period and San Jose never looked back. The Sharks captain led all players with seven hits, six shots on goal and is now tied with Nikita Kucherov for the playoff lead with eight goals.
Pavelski's 8 goals in these playoffs are 1 shy of the #Sharks record for a single post-season- shared by he (2010) & Patrick Marleau (2006)
— StatsCentre (@StatsCentre) May 8, 2016
Joe Thornton is one of the best passers in the game.
— NHL (@NHL) May 8, 2016
#2) Braden Holtby, Washington: 30 saves/31 shots, Win
The only goal Holtby surrendered came early in the game and it came via the Penguins’ potent power play, but after that Holtby slammed the door shut on every other chance. With the Caps facing elimination after three straight losses, their goaltender put on a great performance and now the team with the NHL’s best record needs to do that two more times to advance out of the second round. Once Pittsburgh pulled their goalie late in the game, they never got another shot on Holtby, who’s defenders suffocated the Penguins’ last ditch effort.
Just literally gave Braden Holtby a standing O in my living room … WOW #PITvsWSH
— Chris Mason (@cmace30) May 8, 2016
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) May 8, 2016
#1) Brian Elliott, St. Louis: 27 saves/28 shots, Win
The Moose was on the loose in the Lone Star State on Saturday afternoon, denying Dallas on 27 of 28 shots and pushing the West’s top team to the brink of elimination with a win in Game 5. He stopped 18 shots over the final two periods and none of his saves were more dynamic than the two featured below in the video clip on Stars’ forward Cody Eakin. I said last night that Kucherov was my current favorite for the Conn Smythe Trophy, but Elliott is right behind him.
Elliott made the save of the series there on Eakin. #stlblues
— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) May 7, 2016
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) May 8, 2016
Brian Elliott (StL): 9
Joe Pavelski (SJ): 8
Braden Holtby (Wash): 8
Nikita Kucherov (TB): 7
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
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.