The Daily Bender: April 27 Cover Image
The Daily Bender: April 27
Howard Bender
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Headshot

Nugent-Hopkins had an assist, two shots and a hit in Edmonton's Game 1 win over Anaheim on Wednesday.

That assist is Nugent-Hopkins's first point of the postseason. Though he hasn't shown up on the scoresheet often, he's seeing plenty of ice time and is skating on the team's second power play unit. He's played well but has largely been deployed in a defensive role. He's been better than the stats show, but his upside is limited by his usage.
3:15 am (EST)
Jordan Eberle Headshot

Eberle had no points, no shots and a minus-1 rating in Wednesday's Game 1 win over Anaheim.

Eberle has been a bad bet this postseason. He hasn't put up a point since the opening game and has only played more than 15 minutes once and that was an opening round overtime match.
3:12 am (EST)
Matt Benning Headshot

Benning, who has played six of Edmonton's seven playoff games, had a team-leading six hits in Wednesday's win over Anaheim.

Unfortunately, those six hits were all he managed in the 14:30 of ice time he saw. That was the lowest mark among team defensemen. With just two assists and four shots in six games, there are many defensemen around the league seeing more opportunities to help your team.
3:03 am (EST)
Oscar Klefbom Headshot

Klefbom finished Wednesday's Game 1 win over Anaheim with an assist, three shots, a plus-2 rating and 21:45 of ice time.

Klefbom is putting himself in a position to succeed. He's getting time on the team's top power play unit and was on the ice for all five of Edmonton's goals in the win. He may be a blue line option that provides surprising value in the second round of the playoffs.
2:55 am (EST)
Connor McDavid Headshot

McDavid tallied an assist and two shots in Game 1 against the Ducks on Wednesday.

Despite tallying just one point, McDavid was on the ice for four of Edmonton's five goals in the win. He's making a difference. If he continues to play like he did in Game 1, he's going to start producing more points.
2:45 am (EST)
Sonny Gray Headshot

Gray (back) was dominant in his rehab outing Thursday and could rejoin Oakland's rotation as soon as Tuesday, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. He allowed two hits and no walks while striking out seven batters over 6.0 innings.

Perhaps the most important takeaway from Thursday's outing was Gray sitting 94 with his fastball and locating it extremely well. His seven strikeouts in 6.0 innings back up that notion, as does the fact that he didn't register a walk. Gray is now lined up to start Tuesday in Minnesota, but Slusser notes that the team's off-day Monday affords the A's the luxury of waiting until Wednesday to activate him.
12:50 am (EST)
Christian Bethancourt Headshot

Bethancourt will focus on pitching while at Triple-A El Paso, Dennis Lin of the Union-Tribune reports.

The Padres outrighted Bethancourt off the 40-man roster Tuesday after his struggles as both a reliever and as a hitter while with the big league club. According to Lin, Bethancourt will leave open the possibility of going back behind the plate down the line, but wants to train primarily as a pitcher for the time being. Bethancourt has strong velocity on his fastball, sitting at 94.1 miles per hour, but he'll need time to hone in on his command. He walked a whopping eight batters in just 3.2 innings while with the Padres, but it's clear that the organization is confident enough in his upside to where they believe he can develop as a pitcher down the line.
12:34 am (EST)
Steve Selsky Headshot

Selsky was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday, Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe reports.

With Chase d'Arnaud being claimed Thursday, the Red Sox had to make a 25-man roster move to clear a spot. Selsky had appeared in just three games since April 16 and hadn't made a start since April 9 even with Boston's rash of infield injuries. He'll head down to Pawtucket, where he figures to see much more regular playing time.
12:02 am (EST)
Alex Ovechkin Headshot

Ovechkin potted his fourth goal of the playoffs in Thursday's 3-2 Game 1 loss to the Penguins.

Ovechkin ended Marc-Andre Fleury's shutout bid with 1:43 to play in the second period after Sidney Crosby had also reached the four-goal mark by potting two earlier in the frame. The pair find themselves among a group of seven players tied for second in goals behind Jake Guentzel's five. Ovie had been held off the scoresheet in each of his last two appearances, and is still looking for his first assist of the postseason.
Yesterday 11:54 pm (EST)
Patric Hornqvist Headshot

Hornqvist dished out two helpers in Thursday's 3-2 Game 1 win over the Capitals.

Horqnvist's helpers both came courtesy of Sidney Crosby just 52 seconds apart in the second period. His plus-2 rating in this one gives the Swedish power forward a plus-4 mark through six playoff contests to go along with two goals and three assists.
Yesterday 11:43 pm (EST)
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