The idea for this list just came out of the blue while looking for ideas on lists to do. I realized that hockey-reference.com’s game data would enable me to do a solid analysis of all recent games. The criteria around this list focused heavily on point production, with a bit of added value given to goals over assists. Two other, albeit smaller, factors were +/- for the games (to make sure they weren’t a defensive liability during the game) and minutes played, to recognize long, grueling games.
10. Joffrey Lupul – May 9, 2006 (Mighty Ducks of Anaheim vs Colorado Avalanche)
This game in the second round of the playoffs started off slowly, with the Mighty Ducks taking 1-0 lead in the first. It wasn’t until halfway through the second that Lupul showed up, tying the game at 1-1. Shortly into the third period, Colorado pulled ahead again, this time on a short-handed goal by Jim Dowd, but Lupul would answer back with his second of the game four minutes later. Under two more minutes later, Lupul would complete the hat-trick, giving Anaheim their first lead. After Colorado’s Rob Blake tied it with under 7 minutes to go, the game headed into overtime. Late into the first OT, Lupul entered legend status, scoring his final goal to give the Mighty Ducks a 3-0 series lead over the Avalanche. Final score: Lupul 4, Avalanche 3.
9. Derek Roy – May 5, 2006 (Buffalo Sabres vs Ottawa Senators)
Just four days before Lupul’s great game, Derek Roy had one of his own. In a game that would turn out to be a barn burner, Roy was Buffalo’s most important player. Roy started out with a primary assist on Mike Grier’s opening goal just 35 seconds into the game. He would get a second assist on another Sabres goal at 6:56, which tied the game at 2, a testament to how rapidly goals were scored in this game. Roy scored a goal just 30 seconds before the end of the second period to knot the game, 4-4 going into the third and wouldn’t slow down. After falling behind on an early 3rd period goal, Roy came in clutch, tying the game 5-5 on a short-handed goal with less than two minutes remaining. After Ottawa immediately re-took the lead less than 30 seconds later, Roy assisted on another tying goal with just 11 seconds remaining in the third. Buffalo’s Chris Drury would finish the dramatic game just 18 minutes into overtime, sealing Buffalo’s win and giving them a 1-0 series lead. Roy totaled 2 goals and 3 assists on the night.
8. Leon Draisaitl – May 7, 2017 (Anaheim Ducks vs Edmonton Oilers)
Heading much more into recent times, the Oilers had their backs up against the wall in the second round of the 2017 playoffs, behind forced into an elimination game 6, down 3-2 in the series to Anaheim. Instead of crumbling in defeat, the Oilers came roaring out of the gate to dominate the Ducks. Draisaitl scored both of the first two goals in the first period and assist on one more near the end of the period, putting Edmonton up by a score of 5-0 at the end of the first. The Oilers continued with their foot on the gas pedal in the second, adding another goal that was assisted by Draisaitl just 45 seconds into the period. After Rickard Rackell broke the shutout bid, Drasaitl notched a final powerplay goal for the hat-trick and his fifth point on the night. The Oilers would shut down the Ducks the rest of the game and win 7-1.
7. Patrick Elias – April 22, 2006 (New York Rangers vs New Jersey Devils)
In the first game of the 2006 playoffs, the special teams turned out to be a bit turning point. The Devils smashed the Rangers by a score of 6-1 largely thanks to their dynamic powerplay, which scored 5 goals on the night. Elias himself scored two powerplay goals and added four more assists, three of which were primary assists, for 6 points on the night, getting in on every New Jersey goal.
6. Milan Lucic – June 12, 2013 (Boston Bruins vs Chicago Blackhawks)
The opening game of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals was a doozy, more so for Milan Lucic than anyone else. Lucic scored to open the game and notched a second goal in the second period to put the Bruins up by two. Chicago came back with another one, but Lucic assisted on another goal to put the Bruins up by a score of 3-1. However, Chicago wasn’t done and they scored two more goals in the third to tie it up. Overtime was long and drawn out. Finally, shortly over halfway through the third overtime, Andrew Shaw of the Blackhawks scored to win the game. Lucic ended up with over 38 minutes of ice time, behind only Patrice Bergeron among forwards.