In society, we attach certain meanings to numbers. For example, some call the number seven lucky, while the number 13 is considered unlucky for most. So far in the 2022 NHL Playoffs, it is safe to call the number 91 the former, not the latter.
Eight players have worn the number 91 so far in the playoffs. In total, they have combined for 35 goals, 24 assists and 59 points in 73 games. This article will look at the four players leading the charge, Nazem Kadri, Steven Stamkos, Evander Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko, to help determine how dominant those that wear the No. 91 have been this postseason.
Nazem Kadri – Colorado Avalanche
Kadri has been everything the Avalanche hoped for since arriving in Colorado. After shattering his career-high in points with 87 points in 71 games, he has been an offensive catalyst for the Avalanche posting five goals and 10 points in his first eight playoff games. He has also posted a Corsi of 60.64% during this postseason run, with eight of his 10 points coming at five on five. Teams already have to game-plan for players like Cale Makar and Nathan MacKinnon. Now, they have to find a way to slow down the former Leaf as he is tearing it up in the postseason so far.
Unfortunately, Kadri’s postseason has been filled with vile acts from fans, including death threats and Islamaphobia after an incident that saw St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington leave the ice with injury. It is a situation no one should go through. In the next game, which was Game 4 against the Blues, he posted a hat-trick and an assist despite being a target on the ice. He and his family have been the center of negativity for a long time going back to his day with the Maple Leafs, so it is nice to see him have some success with a dominant playoff run this year.
Steven Stamkos – Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning captain Stamkos was arguably the best player to wear the No. 91 in the regular season and has continued his strong play with four goals and four assists through his first 11 playoff games. Not only is he helping out on the scoresheet, but he has also been strong defensively, blocking eight shots and throwing 27 hits. He is doing everything he possibly can to help Tampa claim their third straight Stanley Cup and is a major reason they are in the third round right now.
While his series versus Toronto was average, it was the four games against the Florida Panthers that showed how dominant he can be. In the sweep, he put up four points, including two goals, while getting 13 shots on goal. He also blocked five shots, including three in Game 4, which were crucial in Tampa Bay closing out the series. Teams need their captain to step up in the biggest moments to have success, and he is showing why this postseason could turn out to be the best of his career.
Evander Kane – Edmonton Oilers
Kane is a polarizing player due to his off-ice conduct. There is a reason many teams around the league were hesitant to give him a second opportunity in the NHL. Just based on his performance on the ice, it looks like the Oilers’ decision to give him that opportunity has paid off. In his first 11 games of the playoffs, he has 12 goals and 15 points. To put that into perspective, he had 22 goals in 43 games during the regular season. He is second across the league with 46 shots on goal and first with 53 hits. This playoff, he has become the player everyone thought he would become when the Atlanta Thrashers selected him fourth overall back in 2009.
It is safe to say Kane is taking full advantage of his second chance in the NHL. When he is placed on a line with McDavid, the Oilers have outshot the opposition 94 to 67 and outscored them 15-4. Since the 2011-12 season, no player has had more the 15 goals in a playoff run. That was Alex Ovechkin during the 2018 Playoffs, where he scored 15 in 24 games. If the Oilers winger continues his play, he may hit 15 goals and set a new record before the start of the third round.
Vladimir Tarasenko – St. Louis Blues
Last but certainly not least is Tarasenko. At the beginning of the season, there were rumblings that St.Louis was looking to trade the Russian sniper after he submitted a trade request, but good thing they didn’t, as he has six goals and nine points through 11 playoff games so far. He shows up in big moments, including in a Game 5 victory versus Minnesota, where he scored a hat-trick and Game 5 against Colorado, where he scored and had an assist to keep the Blues’ season alive.
Tarasenko has one of the best shots in the NHL and is putting it to good use this playoff. His shot has led to not just the six goals but five rebounds created which is tied for the team lead. Lastly, he has generated four or more shots in five of the 11 games he has played in. Despite age and injuries, he is still a major part of this Blues team and a player that can dominate a game at any time during the year.
The Year Of 91
It’s not just players wearing the No. 91 who are dominating, as those born in the year 1991 are having a strong playoff as well. That includes Ryan O’Reilly of the Blues, Chris Kreider of the Rangers and Ondrej Palat of the Lightning. Overall, the No. 91 is turning heads this postseason as it is one of, if not the most dominant number of the 2022 NHL Playoffs so far.
(Stats as of end of day, May 25, 2022)
Adam is excited to be joining The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks team. His work can also be found at area51sportsnet.com where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.