Latest posts by Omar White (see all)
- Marlies Crunching Ticket to Game Seven – 2 TOR 1 SYR - May 16, 2017
- Go Time for the Toronto Marlies! - May 15, 2017
- Today in the NHL 58 – Ducks Hunting and Worlds Recap - May 15, 2017
Zaitsev Getting Ready
The Leafs won a massive double OT game Saturday night against Washington. Unfortunately, the already depleted blue line was knocked down again with the injury to Roman Polak. Rielly and Gardnier were tested that night each playing 40+ minutes, and its understandable for fans to worry about whether they could play that much again. Well hold on, because Nikita Zaitsev is looking to return for Game Three. The rookie defencemen was initially forced out of play after a hit into the boards in the final regulation game against Columbus. The possibility of him playing soon was slowly starting to become a reality after watching him skate on his own. However, that possibility is starting to look like fact as Zaitsev was skating with the main group at morning skate. The Leafs look to gain the edge in this playoff series, and the fans are ready for it.
— Paul Hendrick (@HennyTweets) April 17, 2017
The main slogan of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is that it is the, “place where heroes are born”. Most fans look for the stars on their respective teams to play really well in each series, and that is usually the case. Although, there are some teams that have a player that kicks it up to the next level. Some (including myself) call this: the clutch gene. The clutch gene is why Joel Ward is feared in the playoffs, Justin Williams is called Mr. Game 7, and Show Time Patrick Kane is a thing. So far in the first round, fans have been introduced to three new awakenings of the clutch gene: Zack Kassian, Alexander Radulov, and Kasperi Kapanen.
Kassian has both of the Oilers’ last two game winning goals. Radulov is starting to heat up with five points in three games. Kapanen scored a goal to tie the game in the second period and got the game winner in double overtime. You could also throw in Penguins forward Jake Guentzel who had completed the hat trick with an overtime winner. Most believe that the regular season is where you make your stamp, but the playoffs is where you’re remembered for being a hero.
It’s a Long Way to the Top…
When you start a playoff series its important to stay in the moment. Deep down, there is a part of you that says, “Boy, I hope we don’t go down 3-0”. Why? Because it’s hard to come back from that, unless you’re the LA Kings of years past. There are two series that have reached that point. The St. Louis – Minnesota series where the Wild is down is probably the easiest to grasp. The Wild have played well, but Blues’ goaltender Jake Allen has played even better. Over the past three games he has sported a combined .974 Sv%.
Pittsburgh is getting past the attempted physicality of Columbus and is looking to move on to the next round. Out of all teams who have gone down 3-0 in a playoff series, only 8.7% of them have come back to win it. You could say the odds are definitely not in either teams’ favour. However, history has shown that weird things happen in the playoffs, perhaps it starts here.