Monday’s Moon Shots
A WISE APPLE: Sidney Crosby’s assist in Monday’s 3-2 overtime loss against the Islanders was a significant one. Not only did it move him into sole possession of seventh place on all-time playoffs point list (191 points), he also moved into sole possession of 10th place on the all-time playoffs assist list (122).
BEEN A WHILE: Morgan Reilly’s Game 3 goal against Montreal made him just the second Toronto defenseman to notch a game-winner against the Canadiens in the playoffs. Blueliner Bill Barilko was the first Maple Leafs player to do it — in Game 5 of the 1951 Stanley Cup Final.
GOOD KNIGHT: Spencer Knight, who became the youngest goalie to make his playoff debut in a potential elimination game, looked anything but young while making 36 saves in the Panthers’ 4-1 win over the Lightning. He also became the first goalie to play in a college hockey game and NHL playoff game in the same season.
QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY: The Wild staved off elimination in their Game 5 win over Vegas, lighting the lamp four times despite only having 14 shots on goal. Conversely, Cam Talbot was superb in net for Minnesota, allowing just two goals on 40 shots.
NOT THAT CONNOR: Winnipeg’s Kyle Connor was the Game 4 hero, scoring in triple overtime and propelling the Jets to a four-game sweep over Edmonton. It was the longest game in Jets/Thrashers history, and the first time the team has clinched a playoff series in overtime.
Do You Know Your Winnipeg Jets Trivia?
- Who is the Jets’ Current All-Time Points Leader?
- Andrew Ladd
- Bryan Little
- Dustin Byfuglien
- Blake Wheeler
- In which season did the Jets 2.0 Qualify for the Playoffs for the first time?
- What is the most goals the Jets have scored in a single game?
- How many goalies have seen regular season-action with the Jets?
- Who scored the Jets’ first-ever overtime game-winner?
- Jason Jaffray
- Randy Jones
- Evander Kane
- Tim Stapleton
Answers can be found at the bottom of the email.
What Went Wrong
In the words of Ferris Bueller — “Life comes at you pretty fast.” It feels like the NHL playoffs just started and already teams are falling by the wayside. The postseason is a time of year when much of the focus is placed on looking ahead and celebrating those teams that remain in Cup contention. However, in the spirit of our new “In Memoriam” segment, we are going to offer some final words on these first round casualties.
St. Louis Blues
First up are the 2019 Stanley Cup champions who just happened to come up against this season’s Presidents’ Trophy-winning Colorado Avalanche — the St. Louis Blues. It’s one thing to be swept against the top team, but another when that sweep comes after your captain assures a series victory. While Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly never uttered the word “guarantee,” he didn’t mince words when he said, “We’re going have some fun and we’re going to beat them.”
So, what happened? Well — that depends on how much time you have.
Up front, St. Louis was unable to break through an unforgiving Avalanche blue line corps and sustain pressure on goaltender Philipp Grubauer. The Blues’ seven goals in four games was hardly sufficient, nor were their 27.5 shots per game — ranked 15th among the 16 playoff teams.
When both teams’ best players were on the ice, the advantage clearly tilted toward Colorado. Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, and Mikko Rantanen finished the series with a combined plus/minus of plus-17 (plus-6, plus-6, and plus-5, respectively). In contrast for the Blues, sniper Vladimir Tarasenko posted a minus-8, while O’Reilly — aka Mr. “We’re going to beat them” — finished with a minus-7 (to be fair, he did own the performance after).
Then there was the play in net, as St. Louis was left longing for the 2019 version of Jordan Binnington. The 27-year-old compiled a 3.59 goals against average and .899 save percentage throughout the four-game series and didn’t exactly look composed.
To be fair — there were signs that this wasn’t going to be the Blues’ year long before they came up against the powerhouse Avalanche. Both Alex Steen and Jay Bouwmeester retired just before the 2020-21 season got underway and, combined with the loss of former captain Alex Pietrangelo in free agency, they lost a lot of playoff-tested, veteran talent from their lineup.
All of those factors — plus the continued dominant play of the Avalanche — left St. Louis singing the Blues (sorry, we held off for as long as we could)!
Please join us in a moment of silence for these recently eliminated teams – gone, but never forgotten. We can’t wait until we meet again (the 2021-22 season, of course!), but for now we’ll take this opportunity to reflect on a their brief — but memorable — playoff run.
Dates Active: 1/13/21 – 5/24/21
Cause of Death: Jet Sweep (lost 4-0)
Last Words: Someday all of this scoring will go to good use.
- Blake Wheeler
- Evander Kane