Nikita Kucherov has been suspended one game for his hit on Markus Nutivaara on Friday. Fair or not, that’s about what I thought he would receive.
Although Art Ross Trophy winner Kucherov was the top-ranked player in playoff pools, he has been held without a point in two games so far and will still be scoreless in the playoffs after Game 3 because of his suspension. Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point, who were projected to go second and third, have also been held without a point in the first two games (see our Dobber Hockey Experts Panel picks for more). In addition, Kucherov has been held to just two goals in his last 14 playoff games. He’s been getting it done and then some in the regular season, but not so much in the playoffs when the intensity is turned up several notches.
So if the Lightning are eliminated in the first round, does that mean the folks that didn’t pick any Lightning players will win their playoff pools? It probably isn’t that simple, but it goes to show that playoff pools aren’t as easy to predict as you might think and sometimes a counterintuitive strategy (although more risky) wins in the end. The silver lining is that if the Bolts come back and win this series, you’ll probably get the same four or five games of production out of them than you thought you would receive from them in the first round anyway.
It's funny how in two short games that the narrative on the Lightning has shifted from being the model franchise to the ultimate choke team. A win in Game 3 would go a long way toward righting the ship. A loss, well…
Not to worry, Connor McDavid owners. It sounds like he won’t need surgery for a small PCL ligament tear. The injury from the final game of the season looked a lot worse.
On to Saturday’s game action:
Noted goal scorer Brooks Orpik scored 1:48 into overtime to give the Capitals a 4-3 win in Game 2 and a 2-0 series lead heading back to Carolina. Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, and Evgeny Kuznetsov each recorded two points for the Capitals. Ovechkin also dished seven hits (not sure if any playoff pools out there count hits).
Man, was Rod Brind&rsqu