May 27 — Playoff Disappointments & Art Ross to Conn Smythe

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

CANADIANS COME BACK: Down 3-0 heading into the third period, Team Canada scored three goals—including two in the final two minutes with their goalie pulled—to force overtime against Sweden. Ottawa Senators forward Drake Batherson finished off a pass from New York Islanders Mathew Barzal on the power play to send Canada to the IIHF World Championship semifinals.

AMERICAN PUCK LUCK: In the other quarterfinal featuring a North American team, the USA survived a surge from undefeated Switzerland to earn a semifinal matchup against Finland. Jeremy Swayman made 33 saves for the shutout victory, as the Americans relied on two fortuitous first-period goals to hold on for the 3-0 win. 

HOCKEY CANADA, CHL SETTLE LAWSUIT: Hockey Canada and the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) settled a lawsuit from a woman who alleged sexual assault by eight CHL players. The alleged attack took place in June 2018 in London, Ontario, during a two-day event in which Canada’s gold medal-winning World Junior team was being honored.

CANES STAY HOT AT HOME: The Carolina Hurricanes beat the New York Rangers 3-1 last night in Raleigh to take a 3-2 series lead. Carolina got a shorthanded goal in the first period, a power-play goal in the second, and an even-strength goal in the third. This postseason, the Hurricanes are 7-0 at home and will attempt to break their five-game road losing streak in Game 6.

McDAVID EXTINGUISHES FLAMES: Thursday’s Game 5 in the Battle of Alberta had a little bit of everything, including a historical second period. Heading into the middle frame of a 1-0 game, the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers combined for seven second-period goals, including an NHL record for the fastest four goals in a playoff game scored in 1:11. Following a scoreless third period that included a disallowed Flames game-winner, Connor McDavid scored 5:03 into the extra stanza to send the Oilers to the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2005-06.

Friday Favorites

Let’s look back at our favorite moments of the week.

Tampa on Way to a Three-Peat

After an intense battle with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Tampa Bay Lightning steamrolled past their rival Florida Panthers in four games. Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy has unlocked a cheat mode and has played 69 straight playoff games without being pulled. Steven Stamkos and his team are likely heading to their third consecutive Stanley Cup Final, as there is little faith the Carolina Hurricanes or New York Rangers will be able to stop them. Nobody has won three straight Cups since the New York Islanders won four from 1980 to 83, and for the Lightning to do it during the salary cap era is even more impressive. 

MacKinnon’s Filthy Hat Trick

The stage was set for Nathan MacKinnon to have a historic night at Ball Arena on Wednesday night, as the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues found themselves tied with three goals apiece with under five minutes remaining. That’s when the Avalanche’s former first-overall pick decided to take matters into his own hands. He grabbed the puck behind his own goal, skated up 200 feet of ice, and got the puck past Ville Husso, securing the hat trick and momentarily the series-winning goal. The entire sequence made fans realize they deserve a Western Conference Final with MacKinnon and Connor McDavid. 

Puck Personality: Cup Moment 

Fans look forward to the release of the newest Puck Personality videos. In the latest edition, players like Matthew Tkachuk, Seth Jones, and Roman Josi discuss their favorite playoff moments. Your favorite players enjoyed the Detroit Red Wings-Colorado Avalanche rivalry as much as the rest of us. Click here to see which of your favorite players skipped a day of kindergarten to go to a Stanley Cup parade. 

Playoff Check-In: The Disappointments

Yesterday, this playoff check-in segment was all about the positives, focusing on the pleasant surprises that have emerged thus far in the 2022 NHL Playoffs. Just as production from unexpected sources is a common theme at this time of year, so too is a disappointing lack of production from the players that teams leaned on for scoring.

It may seem counterintuitive to highlight those whose teams remain in playoff contention but struggle individually, as their slow starts haven’t hurt the team too much. Nonetheless, these players still have the chance to help their teams stand out from the pack by getting their postseasons on track and starting to produce.

Recent Top Draft Picks – New York Rangers

When it comes to elite talent, the New York Rangers check plenty of boxes—superstar goaltender (Igor Shesterkin), star forwards (Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad), 50-goal scorer (Chris Kreider), and No. 1 defenseman (Adam Fox). Still, imagine if they were getting more out of their top two picks from the 2019 and 2020 NHL Entry Drafts. Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafrenière have combined for just three goals and four assists, lagging behind the production of players taken after them like Bowen Byram and Seth Jarvis.

Ivan Barbashev – St. Louis Blues

Ivan Barbashev, St. Louis Blues (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

While still not exactly a household name, Ivan Barbashev enjoyed a bit of a breakout campaign for the St. Louis Blues this season, scoring 26 goals and adding 34 assists. That production hasn’t carried over to the playoffs, where the 26-year-old has managed a meager two assists in 11 games with a team-worst minus-6. 

Defensemen Not Named Ceci or Bouchard – Edmonton Oilers

Cody Ceci and Evan Bouchard both rank among the top-10 point scorers among defensemen. Beyond that, however, the Edmonton Oilers’ blue line hasn’t come close to holding their own, particularly given the production of the team’s forwards. No one expects anyone on the Oilers’ back end to keep pace with Connor McDavid, but the remaining six Edmonton d-men to see playoff ice time have combined for just four goals and 11 assists.

Anthony Cirelli – Tampa Bay Lightning

Anthony Cirelli, Tampa Bay Lightning (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Anthony Cirelli has been far from invisible through two rounds for the Eastern Conference Final-bound Tampa Bay Lightning. The high-motored forward has been all over the ice, filling several different roles. However, the one thing he isn’t doing is hitting the scoresheet with any regularity. Cirelli has a goal and an assist in 11 games despite averaging 19:46 of ice time, second among Tampa’s forward corps behind Nikita Kucherov.

From Art Ross to Playoff Points Leader

Connor McDavid scored the game-winning goal in overtime last night to send the Edmonton Oilers past the Calgary Flames and on to the Western Conference Final. That goal also extended his playoff points to 26, which leads all players not named Leon Draisaitl, and comes after a regular season in which he won his second straight Art Ross Trophy as the league’s top points scorer, finishing with a career-high 123 points (44 goals, 79 assists) in 80 games. 

If McDavid holds on to the playoff points lead, he will be just the fourth NHL player in the last 30 years to lead the league in points during the regular season and the playoffs in the same year. Nobody has accomplished the feat in 13 years, and nobody in the 17 years before that. Here are the three players who’ve done it in the last three decades.

Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins (2008-09)

Malkin had a career year in 2008-09, his third season in the NHL. The 22-year-old center scored 113 points (47 goals, 59 assists) in 82 games. He finished as the league leader in points (three ahead of Alex Ovechkin) and assists, and the Penguins finished the regular season with 99 points, tied for second-most in the Eastern Conference.

Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Malkin also had the best postseason of his career that year. He scored a league-best 36 points (14 goals, 22 assists) in 24 games, helping lead the Penguins to a Stanley Cup title and winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP. His playoff performance included 12 multi-point games, one of which was a hat trick.

Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins (1991-92)

Another Penguins legend, Lemieux finished the 1991-92 regular season with 131 points (44 goals, 87 assists) in 64 games, winning the third of his six Art Ross Trophies. Pittsburgh finished tied for third in the Patrick Division with 87 points, setting up a date with the Washington Capitals in the first round of the playoffs.

Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Then 26 years old, Lemieux scored 17 points, including a six-point and a five-point performance, to help Pittsburgh beat Washington in seven games. He finished with 34 points (16 goals, 18 assists) in 15 postseason games as the Penguins cruised to their second straight Stanley Cup, and Lemieux won his second straight Conn Smythe.

Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers (1982-83, 1983-84, 1984-85, 1986-87)

Gretzky once again shows up on a scoring list, accomplishing the feat multiple times. He won the Art Ross Trophy seven seasons in a row between 1981 to 87, with his single-season point totals ranging from 164 (55 goals, 109 assists) in 1980-81 to 215 (52 goals, 163 assists) in 1985-86. Gretzky also had the most playoff points in four of those years.

Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by B Bennett/Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

In 1983, he scored 38 points (12 goals, 26 assists) in 16 postseason games as the Oilers made it to the Stanley Cup Final, losing to the New York Islanders. He followed that up by leading Edmonton to a Stanley Cup title with 35 points (13 goals, 22 assists) in 19 games in 1984. Gretzky’s 1985 postseason was the best of his career, recording 43 points (12 goals, 31 assists) in 19 games, leading the Oilers to their second straight championship and winning the Conn Smythe Trophy. He led them to another title in 1987, finishing with 34 points (five goals, 29 assists) in 21 playoff games.

Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket

Stanley Cup Playoffs Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule