Evgeni Malkin has an absurd 11 points in five playoff games. That rates out to 2.2 points per game and is dramatically ahead of anyone else in the playoffs points race. Phil Kessel is the man closest to that mark, and that hints at what we should already know: playoff scoring races are team events as much as individual achievements. And the team that matters most might be the one you’re playing against.
The top two points men on the Chicago Blackhawks have .5 points per game.
Toronto is led, as we all expected, by Tyler Bozak with two goals and two assists for a nice even one point per game. Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly have matched that mark with one goal and three assists each.
Next on the Leafs’ list are four players with three points each. Auston Matthews and James van Riemsdyk each have two goals and one assist, and William Nylander and Jake Gardiner are at one and two.
Nazem Kadri, Zach Hyman and the fourth line all have two points each. Leo Komarov and Connor Brown along with Matt Hunwick have one point each, and the only zeroes are the rest of the defenders.
The Leafs have balance, and it’s helping them win games and stay close with the Capitals even when they don’t win. Washington only has five players at three points or more, and three of them play on one line.
The Leafs points by line look like this:
- Matthews line: 8 points and 4 goals
- Bozak line: 11 points and 5 goals
- Kadri line: 4 points and 1 goal
- Boyle line: 6 points and 2 goals
Obviously some of those goals came on the power play, and you should be wary of points piling up from secondary assists. The Boyle line’s points are all from those two goals of Kasperi Kapanen, but that balance is good. Add to that the fact that Gardiner and Rielly have each scored once, and you get a series tied up at two games all.
The hard part comes in using up Kadri and his scoring ability to check that one Washington line that’s most effective, and then, somehow, keep the prolific Bozak line from being hemmed in and allowing too may chances against.
Meanwhile, you need to keep an eye out for the hidden scoring talent lower in the Capitals line. They are top heavy, but that doesn’t mean their middle six isn’t skilled.
The difference maker seems to be Matthews. His line can get themselves out of the defensive zone, and no one does zone entries like William Nylander. If they can get loose to get chances, they will score goals.