The first round sure did do a number on former Kings players competing for the Stanley Cup. Of the 17 players we began keeping tabs on at the start of the playoffs, we’ve now had to say goodbye to 12 of them.
Of the remaining five players, one is on the brink of elimination, one could be on the way to a very unexpected second round sweep, and one is really, really, really tall.
Justin Williams: Williams is on a whole other level right now as the Hurricanes are holding a 3-0 lead over the New York Islanders. The fact that the Hurricanes made it to the second round at all felt improbable right up until Williams hurled a puck on net in double overtime and had it redirected in by Brock McGinn. Williams notched his first point of the second round last night in what stood up as the game-winning goal.
Justin Williams gives the Canes a 3-2 lead in game 3!#LAKings #TakeWarning #StanleyCupPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/Nzcfi5c0UR— Eric (@Kingsgifs) May 2, 2019
Current Stats: 10 games played, 2 goals, 3 assists
Ben Bishop: The big netminder owns the third-best save percentage of goalies in the playoffs (.931), is tied for third in goals against average (2.22), and has faced the most shots against of any goalie so far. Bishop’s faced 335 shots, ahead of Tukka Rask, who’s next with 320. Bishop’s numbers have dipped though in the second round; the two losses against the Blues so far were his worst outings, save percentage-wise, since Christmas.
Current Stats: 10 games played, 6-3-1, .931 Sv%, 2.22 GAA
New York Islanders
Thomas Hickey: Due to the injury to Johnny Boychuk, Hickey finally made his playoffs debut in the second round. He’s been used sparingly, averaging 18:17 time on ice, the lowest of all non-Boychuk defensemen. The Islanders are on the brink of elimination at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes. They could potentially be eliminated in a sweep tomorrow.
Current Stats: 3 games played, no points
San Jose Sharks
Martin Jones: After turning into a Very Bad Goaltender at the end of the regular season and the beginning of the playoffs, Martin Jones is back to being good, or, at least, back to being the goaltender that the Sharks need to keep them in contention. His early-playoffs foibles were all but erased by a phenomenal showing in game six of the series against the Vegas Golden Knights, and he’s been fine in the series against Colorado so far. The Sharks’ only loss in the series was a 4-3 loss, which would have been a 3-2 loss until the Avalanche scored a late empty net goal, followed by a Sharks power play goal with 11 seconds left on the clock. For as shaky as Jones looked at the start of the playoffs, he’s starting to right the ship now, which could be good news for the Sharks.
From Game 5 of the first round to now, Martin Jones has a .935 SV%. The #Sharks are 5-1 in that span https://t.co/wndfWcpH0o— Hockey Reference (@hockey_ref) May 1, 2019
The @SanJoseSharks believe in Martin Jones. #NHLTonight #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/ojjDzMgpJC— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) May 1, 2019
Current Stats: 10 games played, 6-3-0, .908 Sv%, 2.92 GAA
St. Louis Blues
Brayden Schenn: For as strong of a regular season that Schenn had, he hasn’t been providing the same level of offense in the playoffs. Over the four games played in the second round, Schenn has one point (an assist) and five total shots. For comparison, in the Blues’ last regular season game, Schenn had six total shots. The Blues and Dallas Stars are tied at two wins each in their series.
Current Stats: 10 games played, 1 goal, 3 assists
Toronto Maple Leafs
Jake Muzzin: The Maple Leafs were eliminated in seven games by their frequent nemesis, the Boston Bruins. There are lots of questions now about what, exactly, is preventing the Leafs from advancing further in the playoffs, and tons of questions about head coach Mike Babcock’s player usage in that critical game seven. There’s a lot of off-season left now for the Maple Leafs to figure out what went wrong. It was odd to watch Muzzin in a Leafs jersey, but despite the different logo, he’s still the same Jake. He finished the series with two assists, 20 hits (second on the team), and an average of 20:19 time on ice (third among defensemen).
Final Stats: 7 games played, 0 goals, 2 assists
Vegas Golden Knights
Brayden McNabb: Since McNabb went to Vegas, Kings fans have had the odd honor of sitting back, looking at him, looking at the Kings’ patchwork defense, and going: “Wow, I never thought I’d miss Brayden McNabb so much.” Thanks to the San Jose Sharks, a somewhat botched major penalty call, and a Golden Knights team that completely fell apart on a crucial power play, we don’t have any more Vegas games to watch to make us contemplate that question.
Final Stats: 7 games played, 0 goals, 1 assist
Colin Miller: Really, the defenseman who Kings fans should be bummed to have given up on is Miller, who finished the series with a fairly strong 56.52% Corsi For, the highest of all Vegas defensemen. Alas, we really needed that one year of Milan Lucic, I guess.
Final stats: 6 games played, 1 goal, 2 assists
Valentin Zykov: Zykov did not have the opportunity to suit up for the Golden Knights in the playoffs.
Nic Dowd: It’s the end of the road for last year’s Cup champions, who were eliminated in double overtime in game seven by the Carolina Hurricanes. Capitals head coach Todd Rierden dramatically shortened his bench in that game; Dowd played only 8:26 total in a game that was over 90 minutes of playing time. Dowd had two shifts in the first overtime period and didn’t see the ice again after the 8:24 mark.
Final Stats: 7 games played, 1 goal, 0 assists
Carl Hagelin: In his short time in Washington, Hagelin quickly endeared himself to Caps fans, who were just happy to have the speedy Swede on their side of the ice. Hagelin earned his only point of the series in the final game on Evgeny Kuznetsov’s goal, which at that point put the Capitals up 3-1. At least now we get to experience Carl Hagelin’s summer vacation photos.
Final Stats: 7 games played, 0 goals, 1 assist