Monster Stat Lines from First Round of 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Much to the delight of hockey fans everywhere, there was zero downtime between Round 1 and Round 2 of the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The first round featured some quick exits by the Minnesota Wild and Vancouver Canucks, and some knock-down, drag-out hockey out of squads like the New York Islanders.
There's a lot of good stuff to choose from, but several stat lines from the first round stick out as "monster."
The Top Line of the Boston Bruins
It really didn't matter that the second line of the Boston Bruins was a non-factor in the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The combination of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton was unstoppable. They posted a combined 29 points across the seven-game series and used their big bodies and strong frames to impose their will upon the likes of Dion Phaneuf.
All three had a hand in the incredible Game 7 comeback, with Lucic putting up a goal and an assist in the final 11 minutes of action to help force overtime.
Marc-Andre Fleury's Meltdown
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Anyone who thought that a team could get through the NHL playoffs without sound goaltending received a rude awakening in the first round when the New York Islanders managed to hang with the Pittsburgh Penguins because Marc-Andre Fleury's awful performances.
In Games 1 through 4, Fleury posted an abysmal .891 save percentage—making it more of a lack-thereof percentage—while giving up nearly four goals a game to the upstart Isles.
If not for the mild heroics of backup Tomas Vokoun, we could all be talking about one of the most unlikely upsets in recent memory.
Instead, the Penguins have won three straight games since making the goaltending change and appear to be rolling now that Fleury is on the bench. He'll likely remain there, given that Vokoun doesn't suddenly start yielding four goals a game.
Total PIMs from Game 3 Between the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators
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I've always hated the "I went to a boxing match and a hockey game broke out" joke, but Game 3 between the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens embodied the classic Rodney Dangerfield more so than any game in recent memory.
Line brawls broke out, and players resorted to taking penalties while trying to hurt each other in what was one of the most embarrassing displays of "hockey" ever witnessed on national television. There were outright muggings taking place on the ice, with players using their sticks as weapons and intentionally attempting to injure one another.
The third period became a mess after the Sens took a commanding lead, going up 4-1 on a Kyle Turris goal. Montreal coach Michel Therrien responded by putting an all-goon line out on the ice. Paul MacLean countered with his tougher players, and a line brawl erupted.
All told, there were 210 PIMs in the third period alone, 14 fighting majors and eight ejections.
Montreal never recovered from the embarrassing loss, dropping every game after the moronic display and eventually losing the series.
Jonathan Quick Since Getting into the Playoffs
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Jonathan Quick has become one of the best big-game goaltenders in the NHL.
He was stupid-good as the L.A. Kings ran to the Stanley Cup last year, but any goalie can get hot for a handful of games and lead his team to victory. It takes a special kind of individual to be able to find that gear two years in a row.
Quick has seemingly done just that—so far in 2013 playoffs he has been outstanding, as signified by two shutouts through seven postseason games played. He has only given up more than two goals on one occasion so far in the playoffs, giving the Kings a chance to win every single night.
He shut out the San Jose Sharks in Game 1 of that series, continuing his domination and extending his playoff-win streak to five games.
Number of Hits Between the L.A. Kings and St. Louis Blues
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Odds are no one touched the puck in this series without swiftly receiving a body check. Unlike the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators—which turned from physical to ugly quickly—the L.A. Kings and St. Louis Blues showed that you can play a tough and bitter playoff series without things spilling over.
All told, the two teams combined for 485 hits through six games played.
That's an average of 80 hits per game, and if that isn't a monster number, then I don't know what is.
It turns out that the Kings were the last ones standing and appear to have plenty left in the tank for the San Jose Sharks. In Game 1 of that series, the two teams combined for 76 hits.
Pittsburgh Penguins and Their Power Play
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There are a handful of teams left in the playoffs that have strong power plays. The Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks are both clicking around 25 percent of the time—pretty much the perfect number for any team trying to charge its way to the Stanley Cup.
Ahead of those two squads are the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are currently converting at a rate of 36 percent. Which is outrageous.
Looking up and down the lineup, and it should come as no surprise that this team is just destroying the opposition on the power play. Yet there's a difference between being excellent and then executing. There are plenty of teams that should be good with the extra man that just aren't.
Sidney Crosby, James Neal, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Pascal Dupuis and Jarome Iginla have all found ways to get the job done on the power play, and anyone looking to take the Pens down needs to stay out of the box.
Chicago Blackhawks and Their Penalty Kill
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During the regular season the Minnesota Wild were a middle-of-the-pack power-play team. They converted on 17 percent of their chances—not great, but not bad either.
They ice an impressive unit that includes Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, so power-play goals are expected every now and again. Yet in the first round, the Wild didn't manage to score a single goal with the extra man.
The Chicago Blackhawks, for all their offensive firepower, were able to lock down Minnesota an incredible 100 percent of the time. The series was only five games long, but that doesn't detract from the fact that the 'Hawks PK dominated the Wild's power-play units.