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Behind The Numbers

Slavin, Hintz among playoff overachievers in first two rounds

Underlying numbers show teams getting production from unexpected sources

by Scott Cullen / NHL.com Correspondent

The Stanley Cup Playoffs provide a stage where players can tell new stories or significantly modify already established plot lines, littered with those unexpectedly stepping into the white-hot spotlight.

In 1990, John Druce went from a little-known second-year forward for the Washington Capitals to a spring sensation across North America. After having 11 points (eight goals, three assists) in 45 regular-season games, he had 17 points (14 goals, three assists) in 15 playoff games to help Washington advance to the Eastern Conference Final.

Fernando Pisani never scored 20 goals during an eight-year NHL career. But in the 2006 playoffs, the forward scored 14 in 24 games, helping the Edmonton Oilers reach Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Carolina Hurricanes. He scored 18 goals in 80 regular-season games in 2005-06.

Ruslan Fedotenko scored 12 postseason goals for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004, including two in a Game 7 victory against the Calgary Flames in the Final. He scored 10 in his other 86 playoff games.

Chris Kontos played professionally for eight teams in six leagues before skating with the Los Angeles Kings in the 1989 playoffs. That spring, the forward scored nine goals in 11 games. He had never scored more than eight in any of his first seven NHL seasons.

Here are some players who are still alive in the second round and, relative to their regular-season production and underlying numbers, are making the most of their invites to the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

 

Roope Hintz, Dallas Stars

The 22-year-old rookie forward emerged late in the regular season with 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in his final 14 games. He has eight points (five goals, three assists) in 10 playoff games and is tied with forward Alexander Radulov for the Stars lead in goals. Hintz has increased his shot rate by 29 percent, scoring on 22.7 percent of his shots compared to 9.1 percent during the regular season.

Video: STL@DAL, Gm4: Benn dishes to Hintz on rush for goal

 

Seth Jones, Columbus Blue Jackets

The defenseman had 46 points (nine goals, 37 assists) in 75 regular-season games, solid production but down 11 points from his NHL career-high (57) last season. Through seven playoff games, Jones has eight points (two goals, six assists) even though his shot rate has declined from 2.45 per game in the regular season to 1.43 per game in the playoffs. It's difficult to sustain scoring if shot rates decline but Jones has made his mark on the power play, scoring four of his eight points with the man-advantage. He had 10 power-play points during the regular season.

 

Warren Foegele, Carolina Hurricanes

The rookie forward had 15 points (10 goals, five assists) in 77 regular-season games, and the lack of production led to his ice time decreasing in the second half. The playoffs have been a different story; Foegele has scored on five of his 16 shots on his way to eight points (five goals, three assists) in 10 games. His shot rate has increased to 1.6 per game in the playoffs (1.37 per game in regular season), but that ties closely to his 18 percent increase in ice time (from 12:30 per game in regular season to 14:52).

 
Matt Nieto, Colorado Avalanche

The forward scored four goals in 64 regular-season games, scoring on an NHL career-low 4.7 percent of his shots on goal, so he was due for some better breaks around the net. Those breaks have started coming in the playoffs; Nieto has scored four goals, including two shorthanded, on 14 shots (28.6 percent) in eight games. He has an 8.9 percent shooting percentage in his NHL career.

Video: COL@SJS, Gm2: Nieto puts it home in the crease

 

Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets

A two-time Vezina Trophy winner, Bobrovsky had a .915 even-strength save percentage during the regular season, which was tied for 32nd among goalies to play at least 25 games. He has a .949 even-strength save percentage in the playoffs.

 

Charlie Coyle, Boston Bruins

Acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Wild on Feb. 20, Coyle was creating more shot attempts but struggled to turn those into points for the Bruins. He had six points (two goals, four assists) in 21 games with Boston and ended the regular season with 34 (12 goals, 22 assists), his fewest since he had 30 in 2013-14. Coyle has already surpassed his regular-season production for the Bruins in the playoffs with seven points (five goals, two assists).

 

Jaccob Slavin, Carolina Hurricanes

Yes, Slavin earned at least 30 points in three consecutive regular seasons and is a cornerstone on Carolina's defense, but he has 11 assists in the first 10 postseason games of his NHL career, almost halfway to the 23 assists he had in 82 regular-season games, and is tied for the playoff scoring lead with Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon.

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