Wild West: Second Round Early Impressions
Playoff Western Leaders
Assists – 10 – Nathan Mackinnon – Colorado, Miro Heiskanen – Dallas
Points – 16 – Nathan Mackinnon – Colorado
PPP – 8 – Elias Pettersson – Vancouver
Shots on Goal – 39 – Nathan Mackinnon – Colorado
PIM – 32 – Antoine Roussel – Vancouver
Hits – 54 – Sam Bennett – Calgary
Blocked shots – 41 – Alex Edler – Vancouver
Best FO% (min 100 draws) – 62.7% – Ryan O'Reilly – St. Louis
Worst FO% (min 100 draws) – 41.7% – William Karlsson – Vegas
Giveaways – 18 – Miro Heiskanen – Dallas
Takeaways –10 – Tyler Motte – Vancouver
Goalie wins – 7 –Jacob Markstrom – Vancouver
Save percentage (min 5 starts) – 92.4 – Cam Talbot – Calgary
Quality starts – 8 – Jacob Markstrom – Vancouver
Colorado had their offence clicking on all cylinders heading into the series with Dallas and managed four goals in their game one loss on Saturday night, so the offence is not an issue. The Avalanche lost goalie Phillip Grubauer to injury in the second period and will need to go with Pavel Francouz for the rest of the second round. Erik Johnson also left the game and it is unknown if he will return in game two. Colorado only had one power play in game one which is a concern.
Nathan Mackinnon leads the team with 16 points in nine games (nine points in the past three games) in the Bubble and also leads the league. Mackinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen all played more than 22 minutes in game one with Mackinnon over 24 minutes. The bottom three lines will need to help these three or Dallas could pull off the upset.
Cale Makar led the team with over 27 minutes of ice time, helped by the absence of Erik Johnson. Samuel Girard played over 22 minutes and chipped in with two assists. With the potential loss of Johnson, there isn't much offence from the bottom four defencemen on Colorado. Conor Timmins will probably draw in over Bowen Byram, Mark Barberio or Kevin Connauton.
It is shocking to see the Dallas Stars as the highest-scoring team in these playoffs. What Colorado won't like to see is Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov combine for eight points in game one after they were all fairly quiet in the first eight games in Edmonton (with only 10 points combined). Aside from his four-goal game, Denis Gurianov has only two goals and one assist in the nine other games (I'm a tough critic). Gurianov and the other six goal scorer, Joe Pavelski were both held off the scoresheet in game one. Colorado shut down the wrong line.
Miro Heiskanen leads the Stars with three goals and 10 assists in 10 games and has been the best Dallas player so far. John Klingberg has eight points in nine games and has provided a very valuable even-strength offence. The Stars are essentially deploying four defensemen each game, with the bottom pairing not seeing more than 10-12 minutes of ice time. This might come back to hurt them if this series goes six or seven games. Anton Khudobin has the crease for these playoffs it seems and has been steady, but I won't be surprised if there are 10 goals in each game of this series.
The Canucks defeated the Stanley Cup champs from St. Louis and proved that you can still win four games by only outplaying the other team in one of those games if you have a very good power play and a very good goalie. Vegas showed the Canucks in game one that they are a different, speedier, bigger beast and will no doubt test the young skaters on the Canucks in all areas of the rink and could make this a very short series.
Elias Pettersson leads the Canucks in scoring with 13 points in 11 games, followed by J. T. Miller with 10 points. Bo Horvat has gone pointless in five games after his heroic highlight-reel goals early in the series against the Blues. There is no question that the Canucks will need a better effort from Pettersson, Miller, Horvat and Boeser to create some chances and draw some power plays.
The good news for the Canucks is that they might see Tyler Toffoli in game two or three.
Quinn Hughes was exceptional up until game one against Vegas, and the Golden Knights did what every team tries to do but fail. They took away his space and pressured him successfully and you could see the frustration mount, which is something we've yet to see that often in his young career. Tyler Myers is still injured but could be back in a week, which could help Vancouver if this series goes six or seven games.
Jacob Markstrom was the difference against St. Louis but not even his stellar play will be able to hold off Vegas single-handedly. I think the Canucks will make some adjustments in game two against Vegas and put up a bit more of a fight.
Not even Alan Walsh could distract Vegas in game one against the Canucks. They thoroughly outplayed Vancouver in every facet and will be tough to beat in any game let alone four. Reilly Smith and Mark Stone are pacing this team with 10 points in nine games and it looks like Max Pacioretty is healthy and close to 100 percent which is bad news for the Canucks after he had a goal on eight shots on net in game one. Ryan Reaves plays a big role on this team and had 11 hits in one game, which is something Phil Kessel takes 82 games to do.
Shea Theodore now has nine points in nine games and is the first opposition defender to have the potential to outpoint Quinn Hughes in these playoffs. Nate Schmidt, Alec Martinez, and Brayden McNabb provide a very solid defense or Vegas in all three zones. Vancouver didn't test Robin Lehner even though they had 26 shots on goal, but it doesn't appear that he will be giving up his crease any time soon.
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