It’s time for making something out of an extremely small sample size now that we’re two to three games into the playoffs, depending on your team of choice.
So, I’m checking in on former Lightning players in the playoffs. Don’t treat this like a bad omen because there’s enough of those, and well, this was going to be tracked no matter how far the Lightning will make it into the playoffs. Ideally, it would be great if the Lightning would face off against the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final, or the Flyers as a close second considering the storylines.
Here’s who’s producing and who’s not:
|Martin St. Louis||NYR||2||1||2||3||-1||21:28||0|
Some things never change with Marty St. Louis. He gets a lot of ice time, puts up points, but notice he’s the only minus player on the list. Stephane Veilleux barely gets into the game, and actually was scratched for Game 3, and managed to be a plus-one.
Mike Milbury telestrated how St. Louis could be getting more points on the power play yesterday, noting that when he makes that cross-ice pass around the dots, the receiving player, in this case Dan Girardi, isn’t walking into the shot and firing away. I don’t know why the Rangers have Girardi that low anyway because he acted like a grenade was coming his way and for whatever reason turned to accept the pass on his backhand. Girardi had one power play goal the whole year, I don’t understand why he was put out in that situation.
St. Louis needs to adjust to understand Stamkos isn’t with him and neither is Lecavalier. Richards is clicking a bit, but if we learned anything about Marty, it’s that it’s good to look out for No. 1. What that means is the Rangers should be feeding St. Louis for a one-timer where he camps out around the dot. He hasn’t been in that physical position much with New York thanks to their set-up, but not too far off. But it would change mightily if he would have his stick cocked ready to shoot instead of passing to someone who’s name isn’t Stamkos.
Despite Marty’s struggles, Brad Richards is definitely the early surprise out of this group. He’s had a tough couple of seasons in New York and is finally getting a chance to put up points, partly with the help of Marty.
Jussi Jokinen never gets as much credit as he should, notching the game-winning goal Monday in a wild back-and-forth series against the Blue Jackets. It’s a shame he never got to play in a playoff game in Tampa being brought in with Mike Smith and Jeff Halpern for Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist during the nutty “we’re broke, let’s trade players and go nuts” period. When Tampa flipped him to Carolina for virtually nothing (Josef Melichar and Wade Brookbank), he flourished as the Hurricanes went on a run to the Eastern Conference Finals, posting 7 goals, 11 points in 18 playoff games until the team was swept by the eventual champions and his current team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. For what it was worth Jussi, there’s your credit for now. If the Penguins pull it together and are able to brush off the pesky Blue Jackets, expect Jokinen to have another successful playoff year on the scoresheet.
Of note, Steve Downie has not got into a game with the Flyers yet. Nikolai Khabibulan has been injured nearly all season and won’t suit up for Chicago, and Kyle Quincey was a member in paper only during a trade swap from Colorado to Detroit.