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From The Point: Sidney scores and so do all the Hawks

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

So Alex Ovechkin, the game’s most lethal sniper, has a league-leading 10 goals in 13 playoff games?


Sidney Crosby, the game’s best set-up man, also has 10 goals (and in one less game than Ovechkin, too). And the Pittsburgh Penguins center also has eight assists for 18 points in 12 playoff games, heading into Game 7 against Washington.

Crosby’s pace of nearly a goal per playoff game this spring (0.83) is almost double his career scoring frequency of 0.46 goals per game (132 goals in 290 games). Last year, when Pittsburgh advanced to the Stanley Cup final, Crosby managed six goals in 20 playoff contests.

On the flip side, Ovechkin has 10 assists in 13 playoff games, including three in Game 6 against Pittsburgh (which Washington won in overtime) and it was the Capitals left winger who was leading all NHL scorers in the playoffs, with 20 points in 13 games. His plus-11 rating led all NHLers, too.

Other top-flight NHL goal-scorers: Eric Staal, Carolina (nine goals in 12 games); Patrick Kane, Chicago (eight goals in 11 games); and Detroit’s Johan Franzen (seven goals in nine games).

The Hawk Flock

Yes, Kane has eight goals – and 12 points – in 11 games, including his first hat trick in the Game 6 elimination of Vancouver as Chicago advanced to the Western Conference final for the first time since 1995.

But if you watched the Hawks-Canucks series, you know Kane wasn’t doing it alone. Far from it.

In fact, 11 of the 12 Chicago forwards who’ve played regularly in the playoffs have scored; only right winger Troy Brouwer, with two assists in 12 games, has failed to light the lamp. And notable contributions have come from up and down the lineup: Martin Havlat has lived up to his billing with a team-high 13 points; Dave Bolland has four goals and nine points and delivered some clutch scoring; rookie Kris Versteeg has 10 points; and even fourth-liner Adam Burish had a couple goals and four points.

That’s the way it goes when you’re one of the highest-scoring teams in the post-season. The Blackhawks are tied for most even-strength goals and have the second-most power play goals this post-season. Only Detroit, averaging a garish 3.88 goals per game, is scoring more often than Chicago (3.30). There’s only one other team – Pittsburgh (3.10) – averaging more than three goals per contest.

When Numbers Lie

• Nikolai Khabibulin’s stats aren’t particularly impressive – 2.76 goals-against average, .896 save percentage – but there’s no denying the way he’s played. Khabibulin is one of the main reasons the Hawks have advanced to the West final, outplaying Miikka Kiprusoff in the first round and Roberto Luongo in Round 2.

• It’s hard to believe Carolina has advanced to the second round and holds a 3-2 series lead on Boston, despite minimal offensive contributions from the “other” Eric/k, Erik Cole (two assists in 12 games) and team leader Rod Brind’Amour (one assist in 12 games). And what happened to Anton Babchuk? After racking up 20 points in the final 21 regular season games, the blueliner has but one assist in 12 playoff contests. No doubt he’s focusing more on his defensive play, but that’s still a massive drop off. At the other end, surprisingly Jussi Jokinen has six goals – including three game-winners – and 10 points in 12 playoff games, after scoring seven times in 71 games during the regular season. And he was waived twice by Tampa Bay, too; getting picked up on his second time through the wire by Carolina in late January.

• Detroit’s penalty-killing percentage, going into Game 6 against Anaheim, was the second-lowest among the 16 playoff teams (70.4 percent). Only Columbus, which Detroit dumped in the first round, was worse (68.2 percent).

• San Jose’s plus-minus in shots per game was plus-12.3 (38.3 shots for per game, 26.0 against), which is the best differential in the league in these playoffs. (Not that it mattered.) Anaheim, meanwhile, which eliminated San Jose in Round 1, is an NHL-worst minus-13.8 shots per game: 27.7 shots for, 41.5 against.

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Sam McCaig is The Hockey News' senior copy editor and a regular contributor to His blog appears every weekend and his column, From The Point, appears regularly.

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