Winning the Cup is a full team effort and these rookies are proving that they are very much apart of the hard work and skill that goes into winning it all. These are not the guys that have lower minutes and hardly make an impact when they do get out there. These are the names you need to know for the future when they lead their team further ahead.
On Monday, Gaudreau helped the Predators tie up the series with his game-winning goal in Game 4. Gaudreau now has 2 game-winning goals and has only played 7 games so far. His face-off percentage now is 43.6%.
Even Jimmy Fallon could not resist talking about a rookie! His superlative may not be the best but hey, Guentzel now has hit it big time by his mention on national television. The only problem is that he said his name wrong (it's NOT Gun-tzul, it's Gen-tzul!) which is a *rookie mistake*.
It's been the most fun doing these reports and I cannot thank you all for this wonderful season and class of rookies. I am not sure if next year will come close to what went on this year but I hope it will be as fun and exciting to watch. Thank you again and best of luck to these rookies tonight! I want another record broken for a rookie!
The action heated up for the rookies this week in the Stanley Cup, including games decided by their goals or games where they were the only one to score for their team. This series has really shown the development of these first-timers and has proven their worth to the team.
Pontus Aberg? More like Pointus Aberg!
Aberg scored Nashville's only goal this in Game Two of the series in Pittsburgh. It was his first goal since May 20 and last point since May 22. Aberg now has 2 goals and 3 assists in 13 games.
Frederick Gaudreau... into the net!
Gaudreau scored his first playoff goal back in Game One of the series and then scored his second in last night's romp in Nashville. Gaudreau has played only 5 games so far and has found his scoring touch now. Let's see where he can go in another home game tomorrow...
It's Jake N' Bake Time!
Guentzel now is second for the all-time rookie scoring leaders in the playoffs with his 20 points. He just needs one more goal to tie it up and put his name in history (he can do a double whammy by putting it in history another way too).
Here's how Guentzel earned his points in the Final for this week:
Game One- Game-Winning Goal
Game Two- Two goals, including a game-winner
Game Three- Scored the lone goal for Pittsburgh and became second in all-time rookie scoring in the playoffs
Conclusion: It's good to be Guentzel.
Another wonderful week of rookies and I cannot be happier! When the rookies do well, things go well for us too! Thanks for reading along and maybe this can continue?
Having the chance to win the most coveted prize in hockey is huge; now imagine having that happen during your first year in the league. Only a few months ago, these players were at the top of the boards in the AHL and now they are playing alongside-- or against-- elite players they once idolized.
Here are the rookies to watch in the Stanley Cup Final:
*Guentzel leads the league in goals and rookies in all scoring categories.
*Aberg's first goal of the postseason was the game-winning goal vs. Anaheim in Game 5, the turning point for Nashville.
*Gaudreau's face off percentage in the playoffs is 56.5%.
Note: Stats are from before Game 1 of the Final.
Every team is featured here today! Exciting things happening for rookies all around the league and this is the time to hear about it all. Hope you enjoy this week's edition as the Conference Final wraps up soon.
Guentzel had not scored a point in this series vs. Ottawa until Game 4 against the Senators where he had two assists on the first two goals of the 3-2 win.
Time On Ice: 13:47
Claesson assisted the fifth and final goal in the Game 3 blowout from the Senators. Claesson was also tied for the team lead in blocks for the defencemen with two.
Career Games Played: 9
Career Playoff Games: 1
Relation to Johnny Gaudreau: None
Gaudreau impressed in his playoff debut last night for Nashville as he took on the big role of trying to fill the offensive void of losing both Ryan Johansen and Mike Fisher in Game 5. Gaudreau brushed that off, along with the rest of the team, and did not get any points but he had the best faceoff for the team at 71%. Not bad at all for his first big game.
Regular Season Games Played: 53
Kase had his game for the crucial second game of the series for the Ducks. He registered the team-leading four shots in that game, drew a penalty that led to Sami Vatanen's powerplay goal that broke the drought of being scoreless, and tied the game that Anaheim eventually went on to win.
And then there were four teams left which means less rookies but hey! There are still some great players to talk about, especially the first one...
Guentzel is King of the Rookies in the playoffs and leads in points, goals, and is tied for the lead in assists (one of the people he's tied with is on here!). Guentzel's 14 points (9 G, 5 A) are double the amount of the second spot on the points list.
He will have to help his team on their quest to win two straight Stanley Cups and have the chance to hold the Cup during his rookie season. That would be the best story to tell others besides being among greats like Crosby, Ovechkin, the Rocket, and more as one of the few to score a hat trick in the playoffs.
Montour leads all rookies in plus-minus with +10 in the playoffs. Montour was +1 in the opening game of the Western Conference Final on Friday.
He also leads the rookies who are left in the playoffs in time on ice per game at 20 minutes.
Harpur is second to Montour's ice time for the remaining rookies at 18:30 per game for the Senators.
Tracking your favorite rookies as they navigate towards the end of the second round.
He's going to keep appearing here because he can't stop being on top of the league.
This Week: Guentzel had a multipoint game in Game 4 where he scored an unassisted goal that gave Pittsburgh the 2-0 lead in the 3-2 win. He helped them to get the third goal by assisting Justin Schultz's game-winning goal in the second period.
Guentzel is tied for first league-wide in goals with 8 and is tied for fourth in pointd with Sidney Crosby with 12.
Please give a warm welcome to the Oilers left winger!
This Week: Slepyshev scored his second goal of the playoffs last Sunday at home in Edmonton. It was one of the three goals that his team was able to piece together after losing 6-3.
Slepyshev is starting to see an increasing number of shifts that show that Edmonton believes he can help them offensively and score when they need it most.
We had to say goodbye to our beloved Maple Leafs rookies, but our hearts will go on! There are more rookies to explore in these playoffs and we will start with:
Spoiler: He still leads in playoff goals, but now he has 7 goals instead of 5 (as seen in yesterday's Sports Staturday!). He is one of three players to score 7 or more goals in their first 7 playoffs games. By the way, those other two include Maurice 'Rocket' Richard and Dino Ciccarelli. He's just surrounded by elite company everywhere he goes.
Guentzel recorded 3 points (2 G, 1 A) in yesterday's attack of the Capitals and had another point, an assist, in Game 1.
He is a combined +4 in the series so far. Guentzel had only played one regular season game vs. the Capitals and recorded an assist in that game, but was -1. My how times have changed for the rookie.
Skjei scored two goals in last night's devastating double overtime loss for the Rangers. That makes him the first since Brian Leetch in 1995 to score at least two playoff goals in a game as a Rangers defenseman.
Skjei is tied for third in the league for his 4 playoff goals and leads ALL defensemen and his own team in that category. That's right, this guy has as many goals as Sidney Crosby AND Alex Ovechkin. The Rangers could use a little more of his star power but they also need to help him out if he's a defenseman scoring most of their offense. He is doing it all and living the dream, well most of it.
Montour got his second assist of the playoffs in Game 1 on Patrick Eaves' goal. In that game, Montour was tied for second among Anaheim defensemen with 3 shots on goal and was third in ice time at 22 minutes. Montour did well in the last series, stepping up his game as a defenseman in the presence of all the injured defensemen that Anaheim had. Now, he is still valued for his ice time and has proved himself worthy enough to be a trusted member of the defense.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Fiala will not return in the playoffs after he fractured his femur in Game 1 and was stretchered off the ice. The left winger had 2 goals in the first round series vs. Chicago. We hope that he heals well and he will be able to get back to what he loves safely and smoothly after he heals.
The fun never ends with amazing rookies stepping up in big games!
All it took was two games for the Capitals to mentally prepare themselves for the offensive power that is Auston Matthews. In his last three games this week, Matthews had four points (3 G, 1 A). In Game 5, his goal sent the game into overtime that his team eventually lost in.
I hope to see as much Matthews as the playoffs allow us because he is a truly special player that deserves to prolong an already amazing first season.
Last Sunday, Guentzel gave fans in Pittsburgh the Easter gift they always wanted: a hat trick AND the game-winning goal in OT. Guentzel's hat trick put him in elite company with Mike Bossy, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Alex Ovechkin, and linesmate Sidney Crosby. Guentzel continued his scoring in the next game with his fifth goal of the playoffs. Thanks to his efforts in Game 3, the Penguins went on to win in 5 games.
Need another awesome rookie story? Look no further than Sean Kuraly's double overtime goal! Kuraly scored the game-tying goal in the second period of Game 5 and the score just stayed like that until he once again made the right shot and won the game. He tied for the team-leading 6 shots on goal that game. The Senators had a chance to clinch the series but Kuraly said no and now they play today to save their lives once again.
McAvoy got his first NHL point in Game 3, an assist on David Pastrnak's goal that kept the game alive until OT. Behind every great goal are the great players who assist it and McAvoy happened to assist Kuraly's life saving goal. He also is playing big minutes on defense, ranging from 24:44 to 31:14 this week.
Shea hey, kid! Theodore scored TWO crucial goals in the Ducks' comeback win in Game 3 in Calgary. Does the C of Red bother Shea? No way. He made the comeback more likely with a goal towards the end of the second to get momentum and hope back to his team after giving up 4 goals. Then, his goal at the end of regulation gave his team a chance to complete the comeback in overtime. Theodore had a great first round with 5 points (2 G, 3 A).
Who's Moving On?
Brady Skjei- Rangers
Jake Guentzel- Penguins
Ivan Barbashev- Blues
Juuse Saros- Predators
Shea Theodore- Ducks
Brandon Montour- Ducks
Anton Slepyshev- Oilers
Zach Werenski (Columbus)- May his face rest in peace.
Matthew Tkachuk (Calgary)- His fiery soul was quieted in the playoffs with no scoring... if only the Kings made it and he faced them.
Marcus Sorensen (San Jose)- He needs to tell the Cup the way to San Jose again.
Congratulations to Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, and Zach Werenski on being named finalists for the Calder!
One century of this game and League is a wonderful milestone to celebrate. Let's hope to do this in the next century!