On the same day, announced as one of three Norris Cup finalists as the league’s best backguard, Colorado Avalanche star Cal McCar showed us why.
As if we needed any reminders.
After scoring career-highs across the board in goals (28), assists (58) and points (86) in the regular season, Makar got off to a great start in these playoffs, with 10 points already to his name after setting up. on an impressive three-point performance in Game 4 against the Nashville Predators to complete the first round of sweeping their opponents into the Central Division.
He’s set a historic pace, scoring more points than any other man in National Hockey League history in the first four games of the postseason. He won some praise from his teammates.
“He might be the best player in the league right now,” said Nathan McKinnon.
No arguments here.
Makar now has three three-point games so far in the post-season, bringing his playoff total to 41 points in 39 games.
It’s obviously in Beastmode. Well… that might explain it Skittles falling from the crowd?
What next for predators?
For the first time in franchise history, the Nashville Predators find themselves at the losing end of a sweeping streak. It looked like this spring, against this opponent, they were kind of doomed from the start – even before they lost Juuse Saros to injury last month. The playoffs run seems like a victory here, even though the club is not far from a real run in the cup.
So, where to now?
Nashville has seen some amazing performances from players who have desperately needed it this season – Matt Duchenne, for example, finally put in the numbers expected of him after arriving a few years ago. Filip Forsberg posted his career highs across the board just in time to confront a barrage of questions about his future and whether the suspended UFA might ever make it to the open market. Head coach John Haynes also faces an uncertain future as a new deal is set.
The list of questions is long. The same is true for the upcoming season.
Sheshcherkin’s struggles put him in the spotlight
The chants started early and rained a lot in Pittsburgh on Monday night:
… IIIGGOOORRR…! … IIIGGOOORRR…!
Thunderous mockery rolled across the PPG Paints Arena, a relentless reminder to New York Rangers manager Igor Shesterkin that the spotlight after the season can be a very rough and uncomfortable place.
Shesterkin was pulled off after scoring five goals in the second goal, and the crowd chanted again on his way out of what was a 6-2 match at the time before changing their tune (slightly) in the third game to welcome Alexander Georgiev into the match. .
This was the second game in a row that Shesterkin retired after being substituted just 20 minutes into Match 3 after allowing four goals from 15 shots.
Shesterkin’s struggles against his foes in the first round were one of the most striking developments of the post-season so far. Of course, the blame for Monday’s 7-2 loss in Match 4 cannot and should not be placed entirely on Shesterkin’s shoulders. In his defense, New York played with very little defense, as the Penguin dominated the attacking area and fired 34 shots at the net (including 10 against Georgiev in the third, scoring once).
The Shesterkin we saw in those last two games was very different from the one we’ve seen over the course of the regular season – the one whose name will headline the Vezina finalist announcement on Tuesday and whose 0.935 save ratio over 52 times is the best in the league and makes him the potential award winner. He was impressive in Game 1, stopping 79 historic shots in an additional triple marathon loss, and stopping 39 of 41 when Rangers rebounded in Game 2.
Heading into the playoffs, perhaps no team has been as experienced at outsmarting Chesterkin as Pittsburgh. After all, in four regular season meetings in 2021-22, Pittsburgh only managed to top him by four balls. Now, four games in a series that lie at 3-1 for the Penguins, they’ve quadrupled that total by 16. They seem to have cracked the code, going five holes in seven of the 16 targets in this series so far at an advanced level of front-network traffic and crafty redirects.
After the match, Rangers coach Gerard Gallant wasted no time in giving the No. 1 goalkeeper a vote of confidence, telling reporters he would start Chesterkin again in Game Five with the series on the line.
Crosby reaches 200 highlights
Monday’s Penguins win by advancing 3-1 in the series saw 13 different skaters land on the scoresheet – none more impressive than the captain, of course.
Crosby went into Game 4 with 198 career points after the season and by the end of the game he had 201 and an impressive slice of NHL history. With his goal and a pair of assists, he became the sixth player in NHL history to reach 200 points in the playoffs alongside Wayne Gretzky (382), Marc Messier (295), Gary Curry (233), Glenn Anderson (214), and Jaromir Jagger (201). Only Gretsky (95), Currie (143) and Messier (148) needed fewer games than Crosby’s 178 to reach 200 points.
He’s put multiple points in all four games in the first round so far, taking his four-game tally to nine and still counting.
“It’s the best time of the year to be a hockey player,” Crosby told Sportsnet’s Caroline Cameron after the match. “Obviously, competition like this means a lot. It’s what you play for.”
Jake Guentzel joins Crosby in the Penguins history books, who has been a stunner in this playoff so far with five goals in four games against New York. According to the team, he is the first Penguin in post-season history to score in each of the club’s first four games to open the playoffs.
Stepping up his playoff game is nothing new for Guentzel – he earned 21 points in 25 games after the season as a starter to help the Penguins win the Cup in 2016-2017, and met that total in half-games the following spring. In three early exits from three trips to the playoffs between then and now, he’s only managed three goals and six points. He’s on his way to greatness again.
Crosby and Goentzel aren’t the only ones who made some history in Pittsburgh on Monday night – head coach Mike Sullivan Become the most winning coach in the history of the Penguins game No. 44.
Returning cats show there’s been a fight in Florida so far
They’re still not quite sailing on all cylinders – power play is still consistent, now 0-for-13 in the playoffs and the only club not to score a PP goal this spring – but the Florida Panthers looked more like them as they came back late on the regulation Monday night to tie things up. And force overtime to win 3-2 in Match 4.
Carter Verhagé scored two goals, opening the scoring in the first half and closing it in extra time, as Sam Reinhart equalized less than three minutes before the end of the match. Coach Andrew Brunet earned some praise in the win for his audacious decision to call up Sergei Bobrovsky to the bench with more than three minutes of regulation left to get an extra skater for a late (and successful) push.
The Capitals took the lead midway through the third game in a play that could be vetted by the Player Safety Department. When Panthers forward Sam Bennett attempted to enter the Washington area, Capitals forward TJ O’Shea struck him with a powerful blow that seemed to contact Bennett’s head. O’Shea didn’t let go of his feet or raise his elbow, and the two paths for the players clearly cross making it difficult to evaluate. The officials on the ice didn’t ask for a penalty, and in fact the play sparked a rush in the other direction as Evgeny Kuznetsov scored just seconds later to take a 2-1 lead.
After the match, brunette He expressed his dissatisfaction with the incident.
“I didn’t like the hit,” he said. “I thought it was targeted in the head.” He said he hoped the league would look into it.
The flames are finally over OETTINGER… NOW
With 82 regular season games, the Calgary Flames had one of the strongest offenses in the league, ranking sixth in goals per game with 3.55.
Then they met a 23-year-old named Jake Oettinger. The sophomore of the Dallas Stars has been nearly unsolvable thus far in the first round, capturing the Flames with just three goals through the first three games of the series including closing Game 3 on Saturday night.
He was putting together another strong argument for another close in the first half of the game, until Calgary finally put in one goal and added two more in the third period before sealing the 4-1 win with an empty net to tie the series. at 2-2. Finally, it took a whopping 53 shots to score in Oettinger’s three, including Johnny Goudreau’s successful penalty.
It’s been an uphill battle, led by goalkeepers, defense heavy so far between these western clubs, and on Monday the advantage went to Jacob Markstrom and his play that was saved 34 times.