resim 72
resim 72

The Toronto Maple Leafs have finally overcome their demons against the Tampa Bay Lightning and advanced to the first round for the first time since 2004. Will this victory give them the momentum they need for what’s next?

The Florida Panthers have surprised the season champions Boston Bruins, but they will face a younger and more explosive team.

Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and William Nylander scored 13 of the Leafs’ 23 goals in the first round. If you add defenseman Morgan Rielly to form a quintet, that goes to 16 of the team’s 23 goals.

Panthers centers Aleksander Barkov, Sam Bennett, Anton Lundell and Eric Staal will share the work to succeed where the Lightning failed.

The Panthers’ offense is less diverse. She relies heavily on the brilliant Matthew Tkachuk, 11 points, including 5 goals, against the Bruins.

Barkov remains the heart of this formation at center, and he will play a pivotal role against the Leafs’ offensive elements, but he was limited to one goal in the first round.

The goalkeepers of the two teams were not expected. Ilya Samsonov of the Leafs was supposed to be the backup this season; Sergei Bobrovsky had a tough season and didn’t even start the series against Boston.

Mitch Marner has been criticized in the past for the Maple Leafs’ playoff woes, but he was excellent in the first round, scoring 11 points in 6 games and a game-high 23:29 OT, a season-high among forwards. the team.

GM Bill Zito may have traded Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar and a first-round pick for Matthew Tkachuk, but he got a 25-year-old power forward not only smoldering in the season with 109 points, but also transcending in the playoffs. He was the big offensive leader against Boston with 11 points in 7 games.

Ryan O’Reilly would be an obvious choice, but rookie Matthew Knies, fresh from his NCAA contract, made a big impact when he entered the lineup in Game 2 with three assists in five games on the left of the third line with Matthews and Nylander.

Gustav Forsling is the most-used defender in the playoffs with 25:20 of ice time per game, ahead of Brandon Montour and Aaron Ekblad. It was taken on waivers in 2021 from the Carolina Hurricanes, another Zito find!

The Seattle Kraken stunned the defending Stanley Cup champions in their second year with a flawless collective effort.

Despite their reputation, the Colorado Avalanche looked nothing like the glory of 2022, due to the departure of second center Nazem Kadri, the injury of captain Gabriel Landeskog and the nebulous withdrawal of Valeri Nichushkin after Game 3. not to mention also the loss of Andrei Burakovsky – 61 points in the season last year – in favor of the Kraken.

The Kraken will face a well-established club. The Dallas Stars had 103 points on the season and won the last three games of the series against the Minnesota Wild, including the last two by a combined score of 8-1.

Dallas and its goaltender, gifted youngster Jake Oettinger, have allowed the Wild an average of just 2.33 goals per game.

Roope Hintz, 12 points, including 5 goals, in 6 games, the NHL’s leading scorer so far in the playoffs, and Jason Robertson, 7 points, are the new powerhouses for the Stars on offense. But Dallas can count on the strong comeback of Tyler Seguin, 6 points, including 4 goals, in the first round against Minnesota.

The Kraken lacks the offensive power of other clubs in the playoffs. Its number one center, Matthew Beniers, was rather shy against the Avalanche with one point in seven games. No player has reached the point mark per game or scored more than two goals.

Despite Hintz’s offensive prowess, defenseman Miro Heiskanen remains, at just 23, the Stars’ most important player, with an NHL playoff-high 29:3 average time. , and six assists on his sheet.

Yanni Gourde gained valuable playoff experience with the Tampa Bay Lightning before moving to the Kraken. He leads the team in scoring after one round with six points in seven games.

Has good old Ryan Suter been rejuvenated by the whiffs of spring? Suter, 38, ran out of breath at times this winter and we had to spare him. He finds himself on the first pair with Heiskanen today with an ice time of more than 22 minutes per game, second in this chapter among Stars defensemen behind his partner.

Unloved in Edmonton after costing Taylor Hall, a popular player at the time, Adam Larsson remains the mainstay in defense for the Kraken despite his offensive limitations. He averaged 25:31 per game in the first round.