Much like other professional team sports leagues, the NHL has its fair share of players who had out-of-nowhere playoff runs. In a way, these players are the one-hit wonders of the hockey world, with obscure characters such as Chris Kontos captivating audiences like metaphorical shooting stars.
Chicago Blackhawks forward Fernando Pisani falls under that category, at least going into tonight’s Game 2 against the Vancouver Canucks. If it weren’t for his magical 2006 postseason run with the Edmonton Oilers, he would just be known for having ulcerative colitis.
Yet there’s no denying how fantastic that 24-game span really was for Pisani. The career .37 point per game player notched 14 goals and four assists for 18 points, connecting on a stunning 28.6 percent of his shots while producing five game-winning goals.*
Pisani hasn’t come close to duplicating those results, although one must note that he hasn’t played in a playoff game since the Oilers’ Game 7 Stanley Cup finals loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. He’ll get his chance tonight, though, as Tomas Kopecky will be sidelined with an upper-body injury. He’s expected to skate alongside Ryan Johnson and Viktor Stalberg in Game 2.
Could Pisani be the unexpected answer to Chicago’s depth problems? It’s unlikely, but then again, so was that red-hot run in 2006 …
* – Yes, that’s more than a series’ worth of GWGs.
Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.
Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.
Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:
That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.
Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.
For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.
Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.
Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:
Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.
Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.
The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.
Saturday’s been unkind to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and not just on the scoreboard (where it’s 3-0 early on against the Ottawa Senators).
The Maple Leafs lost Tyler Bozak to an apparent upper-body injury thanks to a questionable hit by Sens forward Mika Zibanejad.
You can judge that check (which drew a minor penalty for illegal check to the head) in the video above. Again, Bozak will not return to tonight’s game.
It’s unclear if Bozak will miss time beyond this contest.
Update: It didn’t get much better going forward; the Senators beat the Maple Leafs 6-1.
Scary stuff on Saturday: multiple reporters (including the Maine Hockey Journal’s Chris Roy) note that Malcolm Subban was taken to a hospital after a puck struck his throat during warm-ups.
There’s no word yet on Subban’s condition beyond that he was taken away in an ambulance.
The AHL’s Providence Bruins seem like they’ve been left scrambling for a backup goalie in Subban’s absence.
Subban stated days ago that he’s taken some significant steps forward during the 2015-16 season.
Update: This seems fairly positive.