As I just watched my Red Wings bow out in the first round for the third straight season, I was thinking about Dynamic Duos, and not Batman and Robin. The Red Wings were dismantled by the same duo that tore them apart in last year’s playoffs, Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov. This tandem was a two-man wrecking crew again, responsible for 15 points in the five games it took to send Detroit home again. Johnson had two goals and five helpers while Kucherov had five goals and three assists. They are not the only duo tearing it up so far in the first round of the playoffs, so let’s take a look at a few of the other Dynamic Duos in the 2016 Playoffs.
San Jose – Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton: These two have just carried over into the playoffs what they did all season long. Jumbo passes and Lil’ Joe buries it, giving the Sharks another excellent chance to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals, and once again they lead the L.A. Kings 3-1. The question is can the Sharks finally finish off the Kings? Thornton and Pavelski have to lead the Sharks with the hot hands they have shown off early in these playoffs. Pavelski has four goals and one assist while Thornton has one goal and two assists. Each successful playoff team is usually led by a duo of this caliber, and it’s been so throughout playoff history. The list of duos could equal the bible in pages, so I won’t elaborate on them just yet. Each team also usually has one stud defenseman steering the playoff ship. Tampa Bay has Victor Hedman and San Jose has offensive juggernaut Brent Burns, and I will cover defensemen in a future IceHole article.
St. Louis – Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz: The Blues are a very deep team, but these line mates are the straws stirring the Blues playoff drink. Schwartz missed 49 games this season while Tarasenko missed only two, but many of the Blues players have fresh legs due to missed games and Schwartz is making Chicago pay thus far. With three goals and two assists in five games along with Vlad’s matching numbers of 3g/2a, these two are all the Blackhawks can handle right now.
New York Islanders – John Tavares and Kyle Okposso: This duo has been all over the ice versus the Florida Panthers so far in a series tied at 2-2. Tavares, who had a sub-par regular season by his standards, has come on strong this postseason, leading the Islanders in scoring. In four games, Tavares has four goals, three assists and 19 shots on goal while Okposso has been equally as hard to contain with one goal, four helpers and 18 shots on goal. This has been the bulk of the Islanders offense so far, doubling what any other player has put forth in these four games. A very deadly twosome that the Panthers need to contain if they have any chance of advancing to the second round to face state rival Tampa Bay.
Washington – Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom: The Capitals are a very deep team and are being lead in scoring by their top defenseman thus far, John Carlson. While T.J. Oshie and Marcus Johansson are also leading the Caps in scoring, Ovechkin and Backstrom are the leaders of this team, each with over 70 points in the regular season and Ovechkin scoring 50 goals yet again as the NHL’s premiere sniper. He has three goals and one helper in four games with 15 shots on goal. Backstrom has added one goal and five assists, with four of those helpers coming on the Caps league leading power play. For my money, there isn’t a more exciting duo in the NHL than these two, and they compliment each other perfectly, with Backstrom passing and Ovi shooting. There will be many more goals and assists coming from this duo in these playoffs and I will update you as we progress. Do not hesitate to use any of these duos in DFS either. They are all worth the price along with the third line-mate in the Garden Seat, which is a term I stole from Jim “Boomer” Gordon on XM NHL Network. The Garden Seat is what he calls the man skating on the top line with two studs, and I’ll cover these players more in depth down the road.