Who Are the Most Clutch Scorers in the East?

It’s overtime. Game six of the series. If you win, you send the series back to your building for a game seven. If you lose, the season is over. Who’s starting that overtime for you? Who’s getting the majority of the minutes?

Probably the player who time and time again has proven themselves to be one of the most clutch scorers in the league.

“Clutch” is not an easy thing to quantify but in my opinion, the best way to look at it is to see who racks up the most points and chances in “close-game” situations. For the purpose of this article, close-game situations are when the score is within one goal in the first and second periods or tied in the third and overtime periods.

If you want to see this already done for the Western Conference, you can find that here.

Now it is time for the Eastern Conference. I have broken down several key statistics in close-game situations for the players in the East. Each statistic is given a point value and those are totaled up to decide who has the highest “clutch score”. Here is how the score is broken down:

  • Goal = 1 point
  • Game-Winning Goal = 1 point
  • Primary Assist = 1 point
  • Secondary Assist = .75 points
  • Individual High-Danger Scoring Chance = .2 points
  • Individual Scoring Chance = .1 point
  • Individual Corsi-For Event = .05 points

Remember, the statistics were only taken into account if they happened during a “close game” scenario. All statistics are from war-on-ice.com other than game-winning goals which were taken from NHL.com. All statistics calculated before the games on 3/13/16.

#5 – Brad Marchand – Boston Bruins – Clutch Score: 76.65

Brad Marchand defended by Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin
Marchand has proven to be one of the more clutch scorers in the East. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

Well isn’t that just obnoxious. The man everyone loves to hate is also one of the more clutch scorers in the entire league. His 22 goals in close-game scenarios is only bested by one player in the NHL. He has already demolished his career-high in overall goals with 34 so far this season and he looks like a threat to hit 40 before it is all said and done. Along with Patrice Bergeron, you could make the case that the duo is the most clutch duo in the league at both ends of the ice. If he doesn’t agitate you with his antics, he probably will find a way to score an important goal instead. Here is Marchand’s score breakdown:

  • Goals – 22
  • Game-Winning Goals – 6
  • Primary Assists – 8
  • Secondary Assists – 3
  • High-Danger Scoring Chances – 58
  • Scoring Chances – 152
  • Corsi-For Events – 232

#4 – John Tavares – New York Islanders – Clutch Score: 80.85

By many accounts Tavares is having a down-year with only 54 points so far this season. He’s made the points he has scored count, however, as 34 of the 54 points he has accumulated have occurred in close-game situations. His 18 primary assists in close-game situations is tied for second in the Eastern Conference this season. He hasn’t racked up a ton of goals in close-game scenarios but that isn’t for lack of trying. He is one of the top players in the East at generating high-danger scoring chances, especially in close contests. Here is the breakdown for Tavares:

  • Goals – 13
  • Game-Winning Goals – 5
  • Primary Assists – 18
  • Secondary Assists – 3
  • High-Danger Scoring Chances – 71
  • Scoring Chances – 160
  • Corsi-For Events – 248

#3 – Patrice Bergeron – Boston Bruins – Clutch Score: 82.50

Is there a more clutch player in the NHL than Patrice Bergeron? (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Is there a more clutch player in the NHL than Patrice Bergeron? (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Just ask Maple Leaf fans how clutch Bergeron is. The Boston duo of Bergeron and Marchand is only topped by the Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin duo in terms of their overall “clutch score”. What you have to add with Bergeron that isn’t included in these calculations is clutch defensive takeaways and face-off wins. If you add in defensive categories, Bergeron is likely the most clutch player in the entire NHL. This season, he’s getting a lot of chances around the crease-area and cashing in on many of them. Here is the breakdown for Bergeron:

  • Goals – 19
  • Game-Winning Goals – 5
  • Primary Assists – 10
  • Secondary Assists – 9
  • High-Danger Scoring Chances – 61
  • Scoring Chances – 164
  • Corsi-For Events – 263

#2 – Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins – Clutch Score: 85.05

He’s still got it, folks. If the game is on the line, Crosby is probably lurking somewhere on the ice. Think back to all of the postseason overtimes the Penguins have had since Crosby joined the team. He may not have always been on the ice for the goal but he often had quality chances no matter what. He is doing it once again this year, as he has been one of the more clutch players in the league in close games this season. Crosby has racked up more primary assists than almost everyone in the Eastern conference in close-game situations. He is one of the more clutch set-up guys in the East. Here is Crosby’s breakdown:

  • Goals – 14
  • Game-Winning Goals – 6
  • Primary Assists – 18
  • Secondary Assists – 10
  • High-Danger Scoring Chances – 66
  • Scoring Chances – 147
  • Corsi-For Events – 233

#1 – Alex Ovechkin – Washington Capitals – Clutch Score: 91.35

Ovechkin and Oshie
Nobody is as clutch as Alex Ovechkin this season. (Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports)

Edging out Patrick Kane in the Western Conference, Ovechkin has been the most clutch offensive player in the NHL this season. Nobody really came close to touching Ovechkin’s 26 goals in close-game situations this season. He is the ultimate-scorer right now in the NHL and there isn’t a question about it. The big question will be if he can carry this clutch play into the postseason where the Capitals have failed for many years now. When the playoffs hit, all games seem to stick around the “close-game” situation. If the Washington Capitals do find a way to finally break through in the playoffs, Ovechkin’s timely goals will be a big reason why. Here is his breakdown:

  • Goals – 26
  • Game-Winning Goals – 6
  • Primary Assists – 2
  • Secondary Assists – 10
  • High-Danger Scoring Chances – 49
  • Scoring Chances – 191
  • Corsi-For Events – 419


Honorable mention to Steven Stamkos, who finished sixth in the East with a score of 74.25. Erik Karlsson was the top defenseman in the East with a score of 59.2.


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