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.

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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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    So it looks like Mike Ribeiro is a healthy scratch for the Predators

    Nashville Predators' Mike Ribeiro (63) gets off a pass as he lies on the ice during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Thursday, March 31, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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    Mike Ribeiro isn’t playing in Game 3 for the Nashville Predators against the San Jose Sharks, and it doesn’t appear to be for health reasons.

    Well, his production hasn’t been very healthy.

    The polarizing playmaker has only mustered a single assist and zero goals in nine playoff games; Ribeiro hasn’t scored a point against the Sharks so far.

    Ribeiro isn’t exactly known for his offensive acumen, either, so there’s not much motivation to keep him in the lineup if he isn’t producing offense. Ultimately, it’s easy to see why he’s a healthy scratch.

    Pontus Aberg looks to make his NHL debut via this big playoff game while Craig Smith is believed to play.

    It should be interesting to see how Nashville responds to this challenge.

    WATCH LIVE: Game 3 of Sharks – Predators, Stars – Blues

    Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn (14) skates with the puck against St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (22) during the first period of Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinals, Sunday, May 1, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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    The Nashville Predators hope to get back in their series now that the San Jose Sharks are visiting “Smashville.” Meanwhile, the Dallas Stars and Blues jostle for a 2-1 lead in St. Louis.

    You can keep up with Game 3 of the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders (which is in progress) right here and on NBCSN.

    Game 3 of Sharks – Predators is on USA Network and can be streamed via the link below.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

    Finally, Game 3 of Stars – Blues airs on NBCSN. Keep an eye out for notes if there’s overlap with Bolts – Isles (which would bump it temporarily to NHL Network), but either way, you can stream the action below.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

    Video: Jonathan Drouin shaken up by huge Thomas Hickey hit

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    Jonathan Drouin‘s strong playoff play has been a big story for the Tampa Bay Lightning, but his health is in question after taking a huge hit on Tuesday.

    As you can see from the video above, Drouin was shaken up by an enormous check from New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey. It’s believed that Drouin went to “The Quiet Room” to see if he suffered a concussion; PHT will pass along whatever information becomes available.

    (NHL teams aren’t exactly forthcoming with this information.)

    The Islanders actually ended up with a power play from the fallout, as Hickey’s hit didn’t earn a penalty. The general reaction is that it wasn’t a dirty hit, yet some might disagree with that sentiment.

    Update: Drouin didn’t come out during the beginning of the third period. He did, however, return midway through the final frame.

    2016 Foundation Player Award finalists: Giordano, Martin, Subban

    Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban walks away after taking with reporters during an end of season availability at the team training facility Monday, April 11, 2016 in Brossard, Quebec. None of the seven Canadian NHL teams was good enough this season to reach the Stanley Cup playoffs, a dismal milestone in the home of modern hockey and the first time it has happened since the 1969-70 season. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)
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    The NHL named the three finalists for the 2016 Foundation Player Award on Tuesday: Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano, New York Islanders forward Matt Martin and Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban.

    The awarded is handed to “an NHL player who applies the core values of hockey — commitment, perseverance and teamwork — to enrich the lives of people in his community.”

    The winner gets to hand $25K to the charity of his choice.