Every time he takes the field, quarterback Josh Allen will play a key role in whether the Buffalo Bills win or lose.
Likewise, every time Stephen Curry takes the floor, he will play a major role in the outcome of the Golden State Warriors match that night.
But in hockey, there will be games – often too often – when the sport’s greatest players don’t score and won’t have much of an impact on the bottom line.
That’s just the nature of the game, and that’s the lesson Seth Appert, the Rochester coach, tried to pass on to young striker Jack Quinn.
The 20-year-old right winger, who was the eighth overall pick in the 2020 NHL Championship by the Sabers, was held without a point in Rochester’s first three playoffs after leading America this season by averaging 1.36 points per game. .
“I’ve talked to JJ (Peterka, who is second at 0.97 PPG) and Jack about this a lot over the past year or two,” said Appert. “Let’s say you’re in the NHL and you score 60 to 80 points and it’s elite, right? You’re going to get those points in about 40 or 50 games. So if you’re a top scorer in the NHL, it’s going to be 30 or 40 games that you don’t get a point.
“What are you going to do in those 30 or 40 games to help your team win? And those are the things that we talk about a lot, those are the habits, the ones that are checked, being good defensively. And I thought those things were in place for these guys.”
When the Americans face Utica Saturday night in Game 2 of their best-of-five series in the semi-finals at the Adirondack Bank Center, it is recognized that they will need a top-scoring streak from Quinn, Petrka and Peyton Crips. in order to go.
In a two-game streak of play, Belleville’s 6-3 sweep and loss to Utica Tuesday, this talented trio was restricted as it only produced one goal and five assists, none of that from Quinn, who only succeeded. Eight shots on goal.
“I think as an offensive player we all want to produce and score, so the frustration is definitely there when that doesn’t happen,” Quinn said. “And that was at times in the regular season, not just the playoffs. There are extensions where this doesn’t happen and this was one of those extensions, but I’m just trying to keep competing as best I can to help the team that way. I know I’m going to get my look and try to hack it eventually. “.
One of those looks came on Tuesday just a minute after Utica led 4-3 in the third as Quinn opened up the opportunity for a timer from the right circle, “that could easily have tied that game,” Appert said.
Instead, Utica goalkeeper Nico Dawes put away the score, and less than seven minutes later it was 6-3 Comets as AJ Greer-killer AJ Greer (who scored 15 points in 11 regular season games against Rochester) scored two quick goals to eliminate the match.
The Quinn-Peterka-Krebs streak faced relentless physical pressure in their first three games and they learn firsthand that post-season hockey is a little different than regular hockey.
Queen is six feet tall but weighs only 176 pounds. Petrka is a bit bulkier at 5-11 and 192, while Krebs — the most experienced of the trio with 61 NHL games under his belt, 48 of those with the Sabers — is 6ft 185.
They’re going to have a target on them, they’re elite offensive players,” said Appert. “They’re young, and we play with Belleville and then Utica and they’re both a big, big, big team. So what are they going to try to do to slow down the young, offensive elite players? You’re going to catch them, check them, hit them, and do whatever you can.”
Quinn scored 26 goals in 45 games for Americas, and led the team against Utica with 14 points despite playing in only eight out of 12 games in the regular season. He knows he can make it, but he also knows he has to raise the bar while negotiating his first post-season experience.
“Obviously you assume (the pressure) is going to increase, and it will be more intense,” Quinn said, “but you don’t really know what it’s going to be until you’ve gone through it.” Not in the sense of the way I play but only in terms of gaining experience with her.”
While Quinn’s streak is a work in progress, the trio of Arttu Ruotsalainen, Brett Murray and Mark Jankowski have shouldered the brunt of scoring for the Amerks.
Ruotsalainen has been impressive with five goals and seven points in the three games, Murray has three points and scored the overtime goal at Belleville, Jankowski has two, giving the streak 12 points.
If the Amerks are going to come back and win the series against the Eastern Conference team, Quinn needs to find the scope.
“Just keep pushing,” he said. “I’m not going to score every game, especially in the qualifiers. It’s tough there, the teams are playing good defense, they’re playing hard. I just think to keep competing, knowing that it’s going to happen, so just trust the process a little bit in that sense.”
► Appert said defender Matthias Samuelsson, who has yet to play in the post-season, is “probably, I would say, for at least one if not both of them this weekend” which is good news.
► Ruotsalainen said when asked how it feels to carry the burden of scoring, “I don’t think of it that way, I just go out and play and have fun there and do my best and hope we can win the next match. I think there are two lines that can improve their play and produce more. If If you get goals from different lines, it will be much easier to win matches.”
► Game 3 Sunday tickets at Blue Cross Arena sell out quickly and the game can actually sell out before the 5:05 puck drop, which is generally unheard of in first-round qualifier matches in the past.
Sal Maiorana can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @salmaiorana.