Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Overtime Magic

There is nothing like playoff overtime hockey. One goal ends the game with one team in extreme jubilation while the other hangs their heads knowing they were as close to victory as they could be without coming away with the win. Overtime goals can occasionally lift a team to a higher level while longer overtime games sometimes sap the energy of tired teams. But one thing is for sure: there is nothing like playoff overtime hockey.

It's opening night of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, and we already have a pair of overtime results. We'll head into St. Paul, Minnesota where the Wild and Blues played in this season's first playoff game in this second season of hockey!
Joel Edmundson of Brandon, Manitoba with the most non-jubilated reaction to scoring a playoff overtime goal that I've ever seen. The funny thing is that Edmundson now has three career playoff goals in 18 playoff games while he only has four regular-season goals in his 136-game career. Is he a clutch playoff performer? I'm not quite ready to anoint him with that title, but it's clear the Edmundson takes his game to a new level once the NHL Playoffs roll into season.

I'm going to guess that Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau will have a discussion with veteran forward Mikko Koivu after his man, Vladimir Tarasenko, got loose from Koivu's check to setup that goal. That can't happen in overtime at any level of hockey, so I expect Koivu to be far better in his own zone in Game Two. Especially if the Wild want to even this series up after this loss.

The other overtime game that happened tonight was the late game and this one featured another unlikely scorer ending the contest, but at least there was a celebration after the goal.
Ok, first off, don't ever call him the Melk-man again. That's garbage. But Melker Karlsson is the hero on this night as his wrist shot finds the netting just inside the far post on Talbot on a beautiful shot, and the Sharks grab the 1-0 series lead after this overtime period. The 26 year-old Swede picked up his sixth career playoff goal in just his 26th career playoff game which is much better than his pace of 34 goals in 185 regular season games.

It's a weird thing that the unsung heroes during the season really come into the limelight when the playoffs roll around each season. It has been said that the guys who work hardest will be rewarded, and we saw two players who don't do much scoring during the regular season continue their torrid goal-scoring paces in the playoffs. I'm not saying that the Parises, Tarasenkos, McDavids, or Pavelskis aren't going to score, but it seems that the game-winning overtime goals are scored by the guys who do a lot of heavy-lifting for their teams.

Edmundson and Karlsson are no Stephane Matteau just yet, but they're certainly doing their part in scoring big goals for their teams when they need them the most.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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