In the third period of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup semi-finals, Ryan Pulock scored his fourth goal of the postseason for the New York Islanders. Remember, in 56 regular-season games, Pulock only managed to score two goals. Just one. Now, in 13 playoff games, he’s doubled that production with four goals.
Ryan Pulock hasn’t yet been able to put up the type of season that would net him a Norris Trophy. But the New York Islanders defenseman is an elite blueliner in the NHL.
During Game 1 of the Stanley Cup semi-finals, Ryan Pulock put up his most dominant performance of the postseason and announced that status to the hockey world.
New York Islanders Ryan Pulock puts up dominating performance
During the Boston series, NBC analyst Pierre McGuire raved at the play of Adam Pelech. He stated that a “star was born” when Pelech made a now trademark strong defensive play to thwart a scoring opportunity.
If Pierre was between the benches for Game 1 between the Islanders and Lightning he surely would have said the same of Ryan Pulock.
Look, Islanders fans have known for a few years now that Ryan Pulock was an elite defenseman. But that’s not the case for much of the hockey-watching public. For all those casual fans watching Game 1, they got a nice dose of the type of player Ryan Pulock is.
His most obvious contribution was his game-winning goal. A trademark slapshot from the point. But this wasn’t an ordinary slapshot. The figurative sea of bodies parted in front of the Lightning goalie when Pulock started winding up, giving Vasilevskiy the chance to track the puck the second Pulock received it until the second he let it rip. Which makes sense if you know anything about Pulock.
And still, Vasilevskiy couldn’t stop it. That’s how powerful that particular shot was.
Now, Pulock’s impact didn’t end there. As Barry Trotz’s number one blueliner, he’s out there against the opponent’s best players. At 5on5 last night, Pulock was out there matched up against Tampa’s top line of Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat, and Brayden Point. And when Pulock was on the ice against them, the Isles dominated play.
*Stats from NaturalStatTrick
All of those stats are incredible, specifically what he was able to do against Kucherov. This is a player that has 53 points in his last 37 playoff games. Playoff games. That’s 1.43 points per game. And Pulock (and crew) made him look absolutely ordinary.
After the final buzzer, Pulock held a +3.07 game score. Well above the next highest score of 2.59 (Mathew Barzal). Again, Pulock was a dominant force out there for the New York Islanders in Game 1. We’ve all seen that player for a while now. But on a national stage in the Stanley Cup semi-finals, Ryan Pulock told every he’s an elite defenseman.