Every year there are players who breakout in the playoffs and then follow that up with strong regular seasons. This season we watched players like Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien, Joe Pavelski, Ville Leino amongst others elevate their game. This daily snippet will point out that player in an attempt to find some sleepers for next year prior to the end of the playoffs.
With a goal and an assist last night, Tampa Bay Lightning winger Steve Downie now leads his team in scoring with nine points. He managed to pass Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, Simon Gagne and Vincent Lecavalier when the games matter most.
Last night in the Bolts 4-2 win against the Washington Capitals, Downie showed exactly why his style of play is working in crunch time. He assisted on the opening goal by linemate Sean Bergenheim and tied the game at two with less than five minutes remaining in the second period. For the majority of the playoffs he played with Dominic Moore and Bergenheim in a very dangerous, two-way third line. With the injury to Simon Gagne, he moved up a spot to score the game tying goal alongside Lecavalier and Teddy Purcell.
Most importantly, Downie is scoring without sacrificing his on-the-edge game. Known for his big hits throughout his career, he actually has played one less game than his Lightning teammates due to a one-game suspension during the first round. His 18 PIM won’t help most fantasy general managers during the playoffs but it is good to see that he can produce while still racking them up; he sits currently fifth in PIM in the entire League.
Moreover, he managed to make all of this impact in only 11:46 of ice time, which is barely third line minutes when considering he played almost a full two minutes on the powerplay. His coach knows how to use him correctly which has helped the rest of the team stay within their limits. At this point, Downie should be thought of as a poor-mans Scott Hartnell or Alex Burrows entering next year’s draft.
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