Poulin simply brilliant in Team Bauer’s first two games

Poulin has been omnipresent and unstoppable for Montréal

Marie-Philip Poulin is all but unstoppable right now.

She has started her 2021 Secret Dream Gap Tour with back-to-back multi-point games for Team Bauer. After 120 minutes of hockey, Poulin has five points — four of which are primary — and, if anything, you could say she’s been a bit unlucky. She could just as easily be sitting on three or four goals instead of the two she has buried, one of which was a shorthanded game-winner in Team Bauer’s opening game against Team Sonnet.

That shorthanded goal was also worth an extra point in the standings, which is why Team Bauer has a commanding six points after two games. They earned their second extra point (a win is worth two points) as a result of scoring (at least) five goals in yesterday’s 6-1 rout over Team Scotiabank.

Her line, with Jessie Eldridge and Jill Saulnier on her wings, has been the most impressive we’ve seen thus far in Calgary. To be fair, Team Bauer has clearly benefited from having more practices than Team Sonnet and Team Scotiabank, which has resulted in Poulin playing against peers who are still getting up to speed. You don’t want to be rusty when you’re lining up across from Poulin in a faceoff. It won’t end well.

In addition to having a hand in five of her team’s nine goals, Poulin has looked dominant on the faceoff dot, she’s drawn at least one penalty, and she’s blocking shots left, right, and center. Per Mikael Nahabedian’s transition data, she led all Team Bauer forwards by denying four entries against Team Scotiabank and finished second on the team in controlled entries (6). Poulin is displaying the skill and awareness that has made her one of the most complete players in the game for at least a decade.

It’s unfortunate that we don’t have public time on ice data to work with because Poulin has been seemingly omnipresent. She’s double-shifting at even strength and playing in all situations for Team Bauer, which is why she’s been able to pick up primary points at evens, on the power play, and on the penalty kill. In the U.S. leg of the Secret Dream Gap Tour, Team adidas’ Kelly Pannek was the only skater who achieved that feat and it took her five games to do it.

“It’s obviously amazing just to be on the ice with [Poulin],” Ann-Sophie Bettez said after Team Bauer’s 6-1 win on Tuesday. “And the first shift of the game being up one goal is always amazing. But, as I said, it was keeping things simple and we’ve had success.”

Bettez’s chemistry with Poulin is well-documented but what really stands out about Poulin is how great she looks with, well, everyone. Her ability to finish and create chances for her teammates is simply as good as it gets. In these first two games, she’s made at least one brilliant pass that was so clever that it caught her own teammates off guard.

It’s still early, but right now Team Bauer has to be the favorite, and, to the surprise of no one, it’s Poulin leading the way.