Not to get all nationalistic, but here’s a country-by-country look at the leading scorers in the 2018 NHL playoffs. Fourteen countries are represented, with Australia and Slovenia icing just one player, while usual suspects Canada (136 skaters) and the United States (97 skaters) lead the way.
Leading scorer: Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington (25 points)
There were only 12 Russian skaters in the NHL playoffs this spring, and three of them suited up for the Capitals. Kuznetsov, whose playing status was up in the air entering Game 3 due to an apparent hand/arm injury, is the post-season scoring leader. Right behind him, as you probably already know, is Alex Ovechkin, with 13 goals and 24 points. Defenseman Dmitry Orlov (eight points) is Washington’s third Russian agent.
Leading scorer: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh (21 points)
He’s not going to win his third straight Stanley Cup, but Crosby might lead all Canadian NHL players in points. The Golden Knights’ Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith (19 points apiece) will have something to say about that before all is said and done, though.
Leading scorer: (tie) Jake Guentzel, Pittsburgh, and Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg (21 points)
Guentzel has put on quite the offensive display in two post-seasons on Crosby’s line, racking up 23 goals and 42 points in 37 games, including an astounding 10 goals and 21 points in 12 games this spring. Still, it wasn’t enough to get back to the Cup final. Wheeler counted 18 helpers among his 21 points in 17 playoff games – he still leads the post-season in assists, in fact. Washington’s T.J. Oshie and John Carlson (17 points apiece) have to finish strong to catch Guentzel and Wheeler, while rookie Alex Tuch (9 points) leads the Golden Knights’ U.S. contingent.
Leading scorer: David Pastrnak, Boston (20 points)
The Bruins’ top-liner went off for 20 points in 12 playoff games, with five multi-point efforts including a six-pointer against Toronto and a four-assist game against Tampa Bay. And he just turned 22, so he’s going to be doing this for a while. Of the four Czechs in the Cup final, Caps rookie Jakub Vrana leads with seven points, followed by Golden Knights fourth-liner Tomas Nosek with five.
Leading scorer: Nicklas Backstrom, Washington (19 points)
He missed four games with a hand/wrist injury, or Backstrom might be vying for the overall playoff scoring lead. And who knows, with Kuznetsov questionable, Backstrom has a shot at taking over the points race with a big-time finish in the final. Then again, if you’re a Vegas believer, the Golden Knights’ William Karlsson (15 points) could pass Backstrom if he gets hot in June.
Leading scorer: Lars Eller, Washington (17 points)
Prior to the start of the playoffs, a lot of people would have put a lot of money on Winnipeg’s Nikolaj Ehlers (seven points in 15 games), but it is the Caps’ do-it-all Eller who has been the most dominant Dane. Six of his 17 points have been goals, including the overtime winner in Game 3 of the first round against Columbus. If the Caps had lost that game, they would’ve fallen into a 3-0 series hole against the Blue Jackets.
Leading scorer: Patrik Laine, Winnipeg (12 points)
The Jets’ sophomore sniper had a solid if not spectacular post-season, scoring five goals and 12 points in 17 games. Still, that’s pretty good for a guy who was still a teenager when the puck dropped on the first round. Vegas winger Erik Haula, who’s coming off a breakout 29-goal season, is the lone Finn in the final. With eight points, he has an outside shot at overtaking Laine.
Leading scorer: Timo Meier, San Jose (5 points)
The Sharks’ 21-year-old sophomore scored 21 goals in his first full NHL season, and followed that up with a respectable two goals and five points in 10 playoff games. Vegas depth defenseman Luca Sbisa (three assists in nine games) is the only Swiss clock still ticking away in the final.
Leading scorer: Zdeno Chara, Boston (3 points)
The golden oldie beats the Golden Knight. Chara and Vegas’ Tomas Tatar were the two Slovak representatives in the 2018 NHL post-season, with the Bruins’ grizzly-bear veteran outscoring the Golden Knights’ trade-deadline acquisition. Tatar came to Vegas as a potential top-line scorer, but he barely has been able to crack the lineup, with one goal in six games. He hasn’t dressed since Game 3 of the West final against Winnipeg.
Leading scorer: Thomas Vanek, Columbus (2 points)
Vanek posted a goal and two points in six playoff games with the Blue Jackets to edge out countrymen Michael Raffl (one point in six games for Philadelphia) and Michael Grabner (zero points in two games for New Jersey).
Leading scorer: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (2 points)
The Golden Knights’ fast and physical fourth-liner plays a grinding, shutdown role. Only two assists in 17 games, but both helpers have come in the past four contests, so maybe he’s heating up.
Leading scorer: Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles (2 points)
No big surprise here.
Leading scorer: Nathan Walker, Washington (1 point)
The NHL’s first Australian recorded an assist in the one and only playoff game in which he has suited up.
Leading scorer: (tie) Tom Kuhnhackl, Pittsburgh, and Tobias Rieder, Los Angeles (0 points)
Depth forwards aren’t expected to produce much offense, and they didn’t.