Top Forwards Remaining on Western Conference Stanley Cup Playoff Teams
By Joe Borek (@jjborek26)
Hey all, sorry for the delay in articles as my computer has been giving me fits. This article is going to be on the top forward on each of the remaining playoff teams. We will take a look at a forward per team who stepped up and helped to propel their team into the second round position their in now. We will also take a look at an underdog/ step-up performer for each team thus far. So without further ado, time to examine the top performer and underdog as forwards on their teams thus far.
Vancouver Canucks– Well, this one is no surprise. The Canucks top forward this postseason thus far is, of course, Elias Pettersson. He has 13 points in 11 games with a plus-two rating. Pettersson is one of those players that makes everyone around him better. That has continued to hold in the Playoffs as the young star propelled the Canucks into the second round. He also is just one of those players that even when his team is not going strong can just change the game with one play. That happened in game two against Vegas. The Golden Knights had a far better second period, but only Pettersson came away with a goal. A beautiful one at that too where he perfectly deked Lehner in close quarters to score. That is why the Canucks are dangerous underdogs. Young stud Pettersson leads them along with Horvat and other top youngsters. To beat the juggernaut of Vegas, they will need Pettersson and his fellow stars to continue to shine. Highlights of the great Pettersson can be seen below.
Underdog– Now, this one for the Canucks is not that easy, and that’s a good thing for their fans. That means they have at least a few good depth scorers this postseason. The two underdogs to pick from here are Tanner Pearson or Tyler Motte. For me, I am going to lean Pearson here because his totals are more spaced out. Motte had a two-goal game earlier in the playoffs. So otherwise, he has only scored two as a whole but has played good defensively. The issue for him is, Pearson also found his game that seems to be finding its best success with the Canucks this playoffs. He also adds more to the playmaking side than Motte having three goals and three assists thus far for six points. Where Motte has the four goals, both have been having a hell of playoffs, but Pearson because of his scoring combined with passing gets the slight edge over Motte. To beat Vegas, however, they will need both to continue to shine. Highlights of our top underdog performer Pearson can be seen below.
Vegas Golden Knights- This top performer is a defensive wizard that also is a point per game producer this playoff. I’m sure you could of guess it just from that sentence if not our top performer is Mark Stone, who has the top 200 foot game of any winger in the league. That has shown these playoffs as he’s made all the plays on defense expected of him while being the top scorer on the team. Stone has 10 points in the same amount of games. He has been superb at either picking his spot and scoring or finding his teammates. He has an even assist and goal total to make up those 10 points. Stone will need to continue to be a significant factor as Vegas tries to make a stamp on the Series in game three. Highlights of Stone showcasing his 200-foot game can be seen below.
Underdog– This one may be more characterized as a step up performance compared to underdog but close enough. Alex Tuch has been a man on a mission all over the ice for Vegas this postseason after a down regular season of only playing 42 games due to injury. He has six goals and two apples this postseason so far. Tuch now looks back to his form from the two seasons prior. That is mighty dangerous for any other West team. Vegas is loaded already, and now they have a fully confident Tuch back who can skate like the wind. Lookout! Since there is no overall highlight video of Tuch for this year, a highlight of his goal against Vancouver in game one can be seen below.
Dallas Stars- Who would have thought the Stars would be up 2-0 in this series going into today’s game? Well, one player I’m sure was pretty confident in such as Joe Pavelski, who beat out Radulov for our top performer. Pavelski, as he seems to always do in every playoffs has stepped up his game yet again. He has nine total points in the playoffs thus far. Seven goals and two assists make up those points. Pavelski has made his presence felt each game. Especially in game three of the Flames series, where he completed his hat trick with a game-tying goal. This was also in a game where his team was down 2-1 in the series. So without him, it is safe to say they would not be in this position. Now with Benn and Seguin heating, the Stars seem to be rocking and rolling. To beat the Avs, though, they will have to keep the pedal to the metal to keep momentum. In addition, Pavelski will have to continue to be the fantastic playoff performer he has been his whole career. Highlights of the smooth Pavelski accomplishing a clutch hat trick can be seen below.
Underdog– This again is a battle of a few players. Gurianov might not be considered an underdog anymore but still can be described as a step-up player. So, therefore he is going to be our pick for the underdog performer. He had a four-goal game last series and has just looked like a mighty confident player on the ice. These playoffs he has six goals and two assists for eight points. Putting him with Pavelski has worked out well. It has made one of them our top performer and the other the best underdog or step-up player for the club. Gurianov is a kid that just needed to find his full confidence that was seen in segments of the regular season. Well, it didn’t take him long to get back into things as he has hit the ground running in the playoffs—especially the last couple of games. Highlights of the ascending Russian youngster can be seen below. This could genuinely be the coming-out party for Gurianov after a stellar season.
Colorado Avalanche– Well, up until this series, this team was scoring with the best of them. Now there a bit snake-bitten the first two games against Dallas. One guy who has not been, though, is the elite Nathan Mackinnon, who scored in both of the games in the Dallas series. Twice in the game, one loss to be exact. He is the true definition of a player who quarterbacks his team. Mackinnon has 18 points, yes 18 in 10 games this postseason. Fellow star youngster Miko Rantanen is right behind him with 13 points. To come back from down 2-0, in the series, against the Stars as I type this, the Avs will need Mackinnon and other core players to continue to beam through. As I said, this team runs through Mac, so look for him to set the tempo early in game three as he can be accustomed to doing.
Underdog– Nazem Kadri has proven yet again that when the lights turn bright, he turns stronger as a player. He had 36 total points in the regular season and now has 12 this postseason and is not done yet. Kadri has been a force on the offensive and defensive end these playoffs, and that will have to continue if they want to battle back. Look for Kadri like Mac to have a big start to this game to set the tempo. Since there is not a last year full reel of Kadri, he is his stellar last-second goal against the Blues in the video below.