3 stars of 4/17 NHL playoff action
Last night featured the opening day of the NHL playoffs with four games being played including a 3-1 Boston Bruins victory against Florida, 2-1 Carolina victory against NYI, a 3-2 (2OT) victory for Minnesota over Dallas and finally a 4-3 (OT) victory for Los Angeles against Edmonton. I thought I would go ahead and give my top three players of the night in a quick list. There are plenty of players who played great last night but these three players really stood out to me. Honorable mentions should be given to Tyler Bertuzzi (BOS), Jonas Brodin (MIN), Linus Ullmark (BOS), Joonas Korpisalo (LAK), Miro Heiskanen (DAL), Brent Burns (CAR), Ilya Sorokin (NYI), Leon Draisaitl (EDM) and Adrian Kempe (LAK).
3. Jake Oettinger – Dallas Stars – GK
It looks like history may be repeating itself with another outstanding playoff performance by Jake Oettinger. The 24-year-old ended up losing the game 3-2 in double overtime, but he made some unbelievable saves during this game. He ended up with 45 saves and a .938 SV% in game one of what should be a terrific series against Minnesota.
2. Filip Gustavsson – Minnesota Wild – GK
Anytime a game goes into double overtime, the goaltenders are going to receive a lot of praise and rightfully so and Filip Gustavsson managed to go toe-to-toe with Oettinger and pulled out the victory for the Wild. The 24-year-old Swedish goaltender had 51 saves and a .962 SV% and the Wild suddenly look like a real powerhouse team in the western conference.
1.Anze Kopitar – Los Angeles Kings – F
The best performance from last night must be Anze Kopitar as the 35-year-old veteran forward was involved in every single Kings goal during a 4-3 (OT) victory against Edmonton. Kopitar had one goal, three assists and he was 52% from the face-off circle last night. These statistics also don’t consider his defensive efforts as one of the best two-way forwards in the league for the past decade. Anze scored the tying goal with 17 seconds left in the third period to force overtime and complete the Kings comeback. A terrific performance by Kopitar and the Kings to win Game 1 in Edmonton.