Ramblings: Stars and Jackets Even Series, the Calder Debate (Apr 28)

by Ian Gooding on April 28, 2019
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Stars and Jackets Even Series, the Calder Debate (Apr 28)


Both series that were in action on Saturday are now tied at one, making them best-of-5 series going forward. With so many lower-seeded teams advancing from Round 1, it may seem fitting that no team seems to be the runaway favorite to win the Stanley Cup. Let’s start with the later game.

It took two overtime periods, but the Columbus Blue Jackets were finally able to earn their split in Boston. Matt Duchene scored at 3:42 of the second overtime to give the Jackets a 3-2 win over the Bruins in Game 2. The overtime winner was on a power play, which resulted from an uncharacteristic tripping penalty that Patrice Bergeron took in the Blue Jackets’ end. This was the second penalty that the Bruins had taken post-regulation, so taking penalties eventually caught up to them. Even though the Bruins had their share of chances in overtime (stopped by a few brilliant Sergei Bobrovsky saves), the more well-rested Blue Jackets were in a better spot to handle a lengthy OT.

Here's the OT winner:
 


After entering these playoffs without a career playoff goal, Duchene now has four playoff goals in six games. The better he plays during these playoffs, the more he drives up his price in free agency this offseason. But the Jackets aren’t too worried about that right now as they live in the moment.

Even though he has scored at least one point in every playoff game this season (six games), Game 2 was Artemi Panarin’s best game of the playoffs. The Bread Man scored two goals and added an assist in leading the Columbus charge on offense. Check out the impossible angle on Panarin’s second goal:
 


Seth Jones literally ran a marathon in this game, leading all players with 38:01 in icetime. The game lasted 83:42, so he was on the ice 45 percent of the time. As he often does, Jones did it all for the Jackets in this game, chipping in two assists with five hits and three blocked shots. Jones now has two points in each of his last three games. I can’t help but wonder whether a Norris Trophy is in his future.

After being a healthy scratch throughout the playoffs, Alexander Wennberg swapped in for Ryan Dzingel, who has slumped during the playoffs with no points in five games. Wennberg totaled just 16 minutes in the lengthy game, and his only special-teams time was killing penalties. Even though he is still only 24 years old, Wennberg’s numbers have been trending in the wrong direction for the past two seasons. Wennberg scored just two goals all season after scoring eight the previous season. John Tortorella isn’t the easiest coach to play for, so I’d be willing to bet a change of scenery would provide the necessary turnaround.

After being considered a game-time decision for Game 2, David Krejci was able to suit up and recorded an assist.

One team is obviously more well-rested than the other in this series. But is rest overrated in the playoffs? Justin Bourne has an interesting take on it, if you have an Athletic subscription. It seems to be situationally based, while rest itself is never bad for the body. However, I think a happy medium is best – the best of both worlds, if you want to call it that. I don’t know if I’d want to be the team starting the next series immediately after a hard-fought seven-game series, but at the same time that playoff intensity might be hard to recapture for a team that has been off for a week.

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Roope Hintz factored into the Stars’ fortunes in Game 2 in more ways than one. Hintz led the charge with two goals and an assist and a plus-2 in the Stars’ 4-2 win over St. Louis. The series is now tied as the two teams travel to Dallas for Games 3 and 4. Hintz has formed a much-needed second line with newly acquired Mats Zuccarello and Jason Dickinson (both two assists in Game 2). Neither the rookie Hintz nor Zuccarello played for the Stars last season while Dickinson played just 17 games, so a brand-new second line has essentially boosted the Stars. Oh, and of course the goalie, who we will get into in a moment.

Hintz did take an untimely puck over glass penalty with just under three minutes in regulation, which allowed the Blues a 6-on-4 opportunity once they pulled Jordan Binnington. However, the Stars killed the penalty, and Hintz scored his second goal into an empty net with three seconds to play. Hintz is tied for the Stars’ playoff goal-scoring lead with four goals, and he is tied for second on the team with seven points in eight games. As the rookie leader in playoff scoring, Hintz’s strong run should give him some attention as a deep sleeper in fantasy leagues next season.

Miro Heiskanen scored a goal for the Stars and recorded a plus-3 with four shots on goal. He’s not among the Stars’ scoring leaders (three points in eight games), but the 19-year-old rookie is already second on the Stars (to Esa Lindell) in playoff icetime. More on him shortly.

Ben Bishop was arguably the true star for the Stars in Game 2. The Vezina Trophy finalist stopped 32 of 34 shots in posting the win, rebounding from a shakier Game 1 in which he allowed three goals on 20 shots. Bishop made this incredible “Gumby” save (as Brian Burke called it):
 


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The NHL announced the three Calder Trophy finalists on Saturday. As expected, they were Jordan Binnington, Rasmus Dahlin, and Elias Pettersson. I’ve mentioned this multiple times before, but I believe that Pettersson deserves to win this award. There may be a recency effect from some voters based on Binnington’s incredible second half while Pettersson had tailed off a bit. Again, my rationale is the Connor McDavid precedent, where the Oilers’ star was not awarded the Calder in 2015-16 because he missed half the season due to injury, even though it was well-known that he was the most talented rookie that season.

This isn’t the only debate regarding Calder Trophy nominees.
 


Compare Heiskanen's season to Rasmus Dahlin’s using the criteria that Cam listed:

 

GP

G

Pts

TOI

Heiskanen

82

12

33

23:07

Dahlin

82

9

44

21:09


Heiskanen received two minutes more per game than Dahlin, yet Dahlin recorded 14 more assists. As impressive a season as Heiskanen had, you’re not nominating him over Dahlin. And definitely not Pettersson, who scored at nearly a point-per-game pace in his rookie season. Which leaves Binnington, which Cam said he would replace in his replies to the tweet. I wasn’t quite as high as Cam was on Petey’s single-season value this season, but I am 100 percent in agreement with my fellow Rambler on his above tweet. There might be more than three great rookies, but unfortunately, only three can be nominated for the Calder Trophy.

Speaking of Cam, you can listen to him on Sportsnet 650 radio in Vancouver on a new show called Prospect Central, which airs every Saturday at 4 pm PT. Here he describes the bottom half of the first round of his draft rankings from Dobber Prospects. Looking forward to next week, where the guys will dive into the top half of the rankings. There’s also an Apple Podcast version.

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Andrei Svechnikov is listed as a game-time decision for Game 2 against the Islanders on Sunday. You’ll remember that he was injured in a fight with Alex Ovechkin in Game 3 of the first round. Before the fight, Svechnikov had been impressing in the playoffs with two goals and three points in his first two games.

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For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me directly, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.