Defensemen are hard to come by in the playoffs, even more so the deeper it gets. However, they can be valuable in getting categories like hits and blocks as well as adding points. Here are a few of the best options from the game on tap for tonight.
Bowen Byram was noticeable for the Colorado Avalanche in Game 5, more so in the offensive zone. While the second pairing is the shutdown pairing of the Avalanche, the third pairing of Byram and Erik Johnson has more opportunities in the offensive zone and to get points.
Bowen Byram, Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Byram has really picked up his game during the past two outings, recording four assists and playing the most he has in nine playoff games in Game 5. The Avalanche are an explosive team, and his ability to contribute to the offence has been key as of late in the team piling up goals.
Johnson has been able to get in on the action as well when he scored a goal in Game 4 vs the St. Louis Blues. He is paired with Byram and has a plus-seven rating, so he has been in and around the action offensively. As a pair, the two can move the puck up well and have easier line matchups on the other side allowing them to spend more time in the offensive zone.
Nick Leddy was very impactful last game and recorded three assists in the Blues’ win. He will continue to play top-pairing minutes for the team since Torey Krug was ruled out for the rest of Round 2.
Nick Leddy, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Joe Puetz/NHLI via Getty Images)
Four of his five playoff points have come in the five games this series as he missed three games in Round 1. Leddy has always been a point producer and recorded eight points in 20 games during the regular season since coming over to the Blues in a second-pairing role. Now that he is playing top minutes, he is counted on for more offence and he has delivered.
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