23-year-old Jake Guentzel is only two years into the NHL, yet he’s proving in back-to-back seasons that his game gets amplified to such a degree when it comes to the postseason, the only appropriate nickname for the sophomore stud is “Playoff Jake.”
It wasn't just his unbelievable performance in Game 6 of this Penguins-Flyers series Sunday afternoon, where he recorded not only a hat trick, but four goals to bury Philadelphia for good, that got everyone’s attention. In 31 playoff games played in his short career so far, Guentzel has 34 points to his credit, in which he’s netted a whopping 19 goals.
Guentzel was asked about where his Game 6 performance ranks in comparison to his other excellent outings.
“It feels good. It’s right to the top. I don’t think I’ve ever had game like this, where they’re just going in like that. You definitely take them when they come, though,” he said.
Captain Sidney Crosby also had lot of compliments for the sophomore forward and, at many times, linemate.
“Obviously Guentz had a great night. He did such a great job last year in the playoffs, and he’s raised his game again to another level,” said Crosby. “It’s more than just scoring; he’s making plays, he’s hard on pucks, he’s doing a lot of the little things too. It’s great to see him get rewarded. You don’t ever expect to see someone put in four, but he was definitely on (in Game 6), and he had a great series.”
What might be the most mind-boggling statistic surrounding Guentzel is that no other set of players (including Philly opponent Sean Couturier) have tallied five total points in one playoff game until his performance today. That’s including the scoring madness of the 1980s. He also joins Tim Kerr (Flyers, 1985) and Newsy Lalonde (Canadiens, 1919) as one of the only three players score four consecutive goals in a Stanley Cup playoff game.
Guentzel is also now officially on the short list of outstanding Pittsburgh accolades, becoming just the third Penguin in franchise history to collect four goals in one playoff game. He joins the likes of Mario Lemieux and Kevin Stevens. Not even Crosby has done it (yet). That’s pretty good company.
To say Guentzel is playoff bred is an understatement, and with the Penguins sitting back and waiting for their second round opponent to be revealed, hopefully he doesn’t cool off with the upcoming days off. There’s no evidence that’ll happen. The kid has been outstanding.
We’ll leave you with a funny story about one of Guentzel’s doubters:
A scout once told me about a team that didn't want to draft Jake Guentzel because he had skinny wrists. I feel like this gif is just trolling said team. https://t.co/0JSEsQURtw— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) April 22, 2018
Those same skinny wrists don’t seem to be doing anything other than scoring goals here in Pittsburgh, so a big shoutout goes to the team who passed over him. No complaints here.