Good to see Kris Letang back on the score sheet. His three points last night represented just his second multi-point game in his last 28 dating back to the end of November. It also gives him a more respectable four points in the playoffs and eight in his last 11 overall. These are more Letang-like numbers. I still believe in him as a near-point- per-game defenseman, I just wonder how many games he plays next year. But he’s still very much protectable in limited keeper leagues as a Top 20 defenseman simply for the upside.
I love how the Pittsburgh fans are overly cheering for Marc-Andre Fleury, chanting his name and showing him tremendous support even though he’s not really doing anything. He’s keeping screw-ups to a minimum but he’s not committing any robberies by any stretch. But the fans are giving him confidence and I believe that will pay off with a key save or two when it matters. Leaf fans should take note, as I’m sure April Reimer will agree.
Jussi Jokinen has points in seven of the eight playoff games so far. He has 78 points in 107 games for the Penguins. Has he earned another contract with them? I think he can get more elsewhere – and I don’t think he can get 55-plus points elsewhere these days, so his value will take a small hit.
New York beatwriter Andrew Gross reports that Chris Kreider is still not taking contact in practice, so you can probably assume that he won’t be ready for Game 3. But I get the sense that if they really need him for Game 4 he’ll be there. Just a hunch.
Here we go again Bryan Bickell. I guess this is Bickell 2.0? With three points yesterday and two goals in Game 1 of the series, Bickell has points in each of his last five. He has eight in eight games after managing just 15 in 59 regular season games. He’s 6-4, 233 pounds and Coach Joel Quenneville is using that size in the crash-and-bang, gritty NHL playoffs. In the regular season? Bah, what’s the point. Coach Q could care less. So when Bickell flounders for a few games to start the campaign, he’s scratched or demoted to the fourth line. He flounders for a couple of playoff games and Coach Q sticks with him. Dating back to last year, he has 25 points in 31 playoff games.
This beauty of shot makes Bickell look more like Stamkos:
Brandon Saad, who is clicking on a line with Bickell and Marian Hossa, has seven points in these playoffs – one more than he had all of last year in 23 postseason games. Here were Chicago’s line combinations Sunday, “free” via Frozen Pool: