Inside Joe Pavelski's red-hot playoff run

joepaid2.jpgIt’s not as if Joe Pavelski was chopped liver before this year’s playoffs. In some circles, the right handed American center was considered among the NHL’s best second centers. He can bring some decent offense (26 goals, 51 points in the regular season) with great faceoff and hustle bonuses, or so it seemed until he bumped up those expectations with his sublime playoff run.

Seriously, when you’re evoking names like Mario Lemieux (who was the last person to produce three consecutive multi-goal playoff games in 1992) and it’s not about having a bad off-season diet, you might just be onto something. I’ve already recommended that fans refer to Pavelski as “Joe Paid” instead of “Joe Pa” but I think there’s more steak than sizzle with this story. So I broke down the great eight games by the NHL’s new great 8. You might even notice in the spreadsheet below that “The Big Pavelski” put an Ovechkinian 11 shots on goal last night.


Saying he’s on a hot streak is a ridiculous understatement. One of the things that stands out is that Pavelski isn’t skimping on the “little things” that made him a productive player before he channeled is inner Mike Bossy. His elite faceoff skills (55.2% success rate so far) remain. He’s the team’s third leading hitter. His 5+ shots on goal average shows that he’s not just in the right place at the right time, either.

It’s a point that’s being made around the hockey world right now, but Joe Thornton is benefiting greatly from the “other Joe” morphing into a playoff phenomenon. If Pavelski keeps this up, who knows how far this thing could go? The Sharks might only be “choking” on champagne from a certain silver chalice …

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    Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

    Connor Brown, Robin Lehner
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    They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

    The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

    In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

    The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

    Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

    The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

    McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.



    Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

    Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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    It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

    Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

    Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

    Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

    “Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

    Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: