Wild West: First Round Playoffs in the Bubble
Playoff Western Leaders
Goals – 6 – Bo Horvat – Vancouver
Points – 9 – Connor McDavid – Edmonton
PPP – 6 – Elias Pettersson – Vancouver
Shots on Goal – 25 – Nathan Mackinnon, Nazem Kadri – Colorado
PIM – 20 – Tyler Myers – Vancouver
Best plus/minus – plus 8 – Reilly Smith – Vegas,
Worst plus/minus – minus 6 – Neal Pionk – Winnipeg
Hits – 42 – Sam Bennett – Calgary
Blocked shots – 22 – Mark Giordano – Calgary
Best FO% (min 50 draws) – 68.6% – Ryan O'Reilly – St. Louis
Worst FO% (min 50 draws) – 30.4% – Kirby Dach – Chicago
Drawn Penalties – 7 – Matthew Tkachuk – Calgary
Save percentage (min 3 starts) – 93.7 – Cam Talbot – Calgary
Quality starts – 4 – Cam Talbot – Calgary
The Coyotes are in tough against a Colorado team that boasts a much better offence and as a result, they are trailing two to one in the series and that one win can be attributed to Darcy Kuemper making 49 saves in game three. Clayton Keller, Taylor Hall and Oliver Ekman-Larsson have all had good series, but Arizona will need some additional offence from Phil Kessel who leads the team in shots on goal with 20 but only has one goal to show for it. The power play is only clicking at 9.5 percent and will need to get better to have any chance to advance.
The series with Dallas is now tied at two, and the apparent head injury to Matthew Tkachuk has turned this series on its ear as a testament to the impact he has. Even with the emergence of Dillon Dube with four goals and Sam Bennett leading the team with five goals, it is becoming fairly apparent that the Flames are stretched thin in the forwards and on the back end. The Flames are extremely hot on the power play with nine goals in 28 attempts for a 32.1 percentage, ranking them 2nd in the playoffs in the NHL. They will just need to play better at even strength against the Stars to advance.
Corey Crawford turned back the clock a little in-game four against Vegas and made 48 saves to extend the series another game. Even with the victory the Blackhawks are still down three games to one and have little chance to advance. The offence has dried up since the play-in series and Dominik Kubalik has two points in the seven games outside of his five-point effort against Edmonton in game one of that series. Olli Maatta has surprised with three goals and three assists in eight games, as well as Kirby Dach with six points, but Dylan Strome has disappointed with only two points.
Even though they lost the last game to the Coyotes 4-2 to bring the series to two games for Colorado and one for Arizona, they still dominated possession and peppered Darcy Kuemper with 51 shots on goal. Nathan Mackinnon leads the team with seven points in six games, while Andre Burakovsky leads the team with three goals. The power play is doing well with five goals in 25 attempts for a 20 percent pace. J.T. Compher has emerged with four points in six games while leading the team at plus five. The Avalanche just has to stick to their game plan and the should emerge easily in this series.
With a hat trick in game four, Joe Pavelski has brought this series even at two games apiece against Calgary. With the injury to Matthew Tkachuk, the Stars might have the edge if he doesn't return to the Flames lineup. Miro Heiskanen has emerged as the star in this lineup as he has eight points in seven games, while Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov have eight points between them. Goaltending and lack of scoring is still an issue for this team, but they looked the better team in the 5-4 overtime win.
With the overtime win on Sunday against the Canucks, the Blues have given themselves a huge boost. You could argue that they were unlucky to be down two to nothing, but they also could easily be down three to nothing going into game four. The team still has power-play issues and will probably start Jake Allen for game four, but they are still the favorite in this series and only some huge performances from Vancouver's young star players will knock this team off. The team will need scoring from anyone other than David Perron and Ryan O'Reilly and with his overtime winner, Brayden Schenn came up huge with his first goal of the playoffs. Vladimir Tarasenko has looked a shadow of his former self, and missing game three is concerning for the team and for anyone that drafted him in a pool.
The Canucks were using house money being up two games to nothing against the defending Stanley Cup champs. They were outplayed in game three but still managed to take the Blues to overtime and had some chances to win it but Jake Allen thwarted their chances. The series is now two to one with the Vancouver up and the Canucks will need to generate more power-play chances than they did in game three. The power play is the best in the NHL currently with 10 goals in 30 opportunities for a 33 percent success rate. Elias Petterson and Quinn Hughes lead the team with nine points while Bo Horvat leads with six goals. The apparent shoulder injury to Tyler Myers will hurt the depth of the Canucks on the back end and will force more minutes for Troy Stecher, Jamie Benn and Oscar Fantenberg, which in a seven-game series, is very good for the Blues.
Vegas lost game four against Chicago but is still up three games to one in this series. The Golden Knights have fifteen players with two points or more and have done a great job of spreading out the scoring, which is one of their best strengths. Reilly Smith and Mark Stone led the team with seven points in six games while defenseman Shea Theodore leads the team with four goals. Even with injuries to Paul Stastny and Max Pacioretty, Vegas should still knock Chicago out of the playoffs sooner than later.
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