When it comes to the Stanley Cup playoffs, three things are needed for victory: great goaltending, stars players performing, and someone else to step up. The Nashville Predators had all three last night. But, the surprise may just be who stepped up.
Those players are Alexei Emelin and Matt Irwin. That’s right, folks. The two most maligned players on the roster this season played the games of their lives. In terms of Corsi stats, Emelin rated at a game-high 67.86%, while Irwin was an even 64%.
More than just their shot-shares, Emelin and Irwin provide key moments in possession. While the Predators were attempting to gain momentum in the third period, these men kept the puck in the zone. When the was struggling for shots, Irwin pushed the puck to the net. Furthermore, the Avalanche gained no high-danger chances when Emelin or Irwin were on the ice.
It was nice to see the third defensive pairing play as well as they did last night.