Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews aren’t the only talented young duo in the NHL, but more than any other recent pair, they get results when it matters most. The two have combined for seven of Chicago’s eight game-winning goals so far in the 2014 postseason.
In other words, they combined for as many game-winners as Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby had total playoff goals in 2014. You can make the same comparison with Anaheim’s Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf as that duo has also scored a combined seven markers.
After Toews picked up the winner in Game 5 of Chicago’s second round series against Minnesota, he “kind of winked at me tonight and said maybe that was my time,” Kane said, according to ESPN Chicago. Given what’s happened so far, he probably wasn’t shocked that his words proved to be prophetic, but Kane likely exceeded even his expectations with his series-clinching overtime winner last night:
That was Kane’s fourth career overtime goal in the playoffs. He’s just 25 years old and yet only three players in the history of the NHL have ever netted more postseason overtime winners than him, per the Elias Sports Bureau. They are a trio of Hall of Famers in Glenn Anderson (five), Maurice Richard (six), and Joe Sakic (eight). Those three also have 16 Stanley Cup championships between them.
Kane and Toews are gunning for their third championship. If they succeed, a byproduct of that will be potentially ending the tie between the two in the Conn Smythe Trophy race. Only five players (Patrick Roy, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, and Bernie Parent) have ever won the award twice.
There’s still a lot of hockey left to play and all of the five other teams remaining are all more than capable of winning it all. But right now, Kane and Toews are both looking like serious contenders to join that exclusive list of multiple Conn Smythe winners. They just need to maintain what they’ve been doing throughout their career.
It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.
As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?
If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.
Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.
Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.
The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.
On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.
Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.
The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.
You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.
At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.
Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.
(Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)
As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.
Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.
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.