Top 5 Scorers Heading Into the 2013 NHL Playoffs
Top 5 Scorers Heading Into The 2013 NHL Playoffs
Ice, cameras, action. After the long drought of hockey that the lockout caused, everyone thought the entire season would feel like the playoffs. The truth is, the only thing that feels like the playoffs is when they actually arrive.
The NHL playoffs are now right around the corner, and in this abbreviated season, we have seen some impressive scoring performances so far. Doesn’t matter if it’s the snipers or the power forwards, these guys know how to put the puck in the net. Built for the tough shots and the vicious hitting that the playoffs bring, they are the ones to watch as we come down the home stretch of the season. Every team’s top scorer is the main piece that opposing teams look to eliminate during every game. They make the opposing coach take his best defenseman and say “Take him out of the game”. These players have done their best to put their teams on their backs heading into the most intense postseason in sports and they haven’t disappointed.
Whether they score the game winner more often than not or have a knack of getting the team back in the game right before all is lost, these players show they are worth every penny of the money they make. These are the players that get the crowds going and are the catalysts for their team’s success. Usually in the playoffs, goaltenders steal the show, but in this shortened season, I believe it will be the scorers who take center stage.
5. Rick Nash (Left Wing, New York Rangers)- He may not be 5th in actual goals, but the type of goals Nash has scored has shown that he is a prime candidate for a playoff impact player. Nash’s ability to rush past multiple defenders while maintaining full control of the puck and scoring has electrified Ranger fans this year. He has 19 goals this season, but more than half of them have come in third period when the game was in the balance. So many times this year the Rangers have been praying for some offense, only to see Nash light the lamp at just the right moment. If the Rangers can hold on to a playoff spot in the next week, they will have a dangerous man on the left wing who can single handedly change a series.
4. Patrick Kane (Right Wing, Chicago Blackhawks)- It’s hard to differentiate on the Blackhawks who their MVP is between Kane or Jonathan Toews? I’m taking Kane here. Not because he’s a better shot than Toews but because of his magician-like moves with the puck. If he’s on a breakaway, the opposing goalie usually has no chance as his dekes could make even the most seasoned netminder have a small seizure. Kane, also like Rick Nash, has a tendency to get the big goal right when the Blackhawks need it, and that has been no more apparent than in shootouts this year where he has absolutely mesmerized goalies at times. Although that won’t matter come playoffs, the ice in the rink clearly runs through his veins as well.
3. John Tavares (Center, New York Islanders)- Tavares is putting his team and his city on his back. There’s no way around it, he’s the heart and soul of the new found confidence of the Islanders. Some coaches and players used to say Tavares was still a kid playing out there. He has all the talent in the world, but wasn't ready to use it quite yet. This year, they are only saying one thing; he’s figured it out. He’s figured out the spots to attack as well as how to get his team involved. If this was a full season we could be looking at a 50 goal scorer here, but in this abbreviated version, he is still having a remarkable year with 26 goals for the 5th seed Islanders.
2. Jeff Carter (Center, L.A. Kings)- As good as it gets when it comes to the quick wrist shot, Carter snipes with the best of them. This year he has 24 goals and although he doesn’t do much in the assist department, he doesn’t need to as he is the fuel to the defending champion's fire. Often Carter catches goaltenders by surprise with how quick he can get his shot off. He reminds me of Phil Kessel in this way, and that is far from a bad thing. The Kings are currently the 4th seed, and I can see them making another deep playoff run in big part thanks to Carter.
1. Alexander Ovechkin (Left wing, Washington Capitals)- It seemed like all the critics were ready to bury Ovechkin this season. They said he looked disinterested and that he was no longer the prominent goal scorer that he had been. Ovechkin must’ve taken these criticisms to heart because in his last eight games, he has 10 goals and now leads the league with 30. His turnaround has been so drastic that he had 16 goals as of March 24th and since then in less than a month, he has 14 goals. Ovechkin now resembles a player who is very much back to playing his prime brand of hockey and looks to be the biggest threat to the Penguins in the eastern conference this year.