3/21/12 Studs & Duds
Ward keeps winning
Cam Ward has vaulted the Carolina Hurricanes into the playoff race, as he’s gone 3-2, with a 2.18 GAA, 200 saves, a .939 save percentage and 1 shutout in the last two weeks. Ward picked up another win on Wednesday night at home against the Florida Panthers. He allowed one goal on 31 shots and picked up his 27th win of the year. The Hurricanes are currently five points out a playoff spot and are notorious for making late season runs.
Callahan caps it in overtime
Oh his 27th birthday, Ryan Callahan was the hero for the New York Rangers as they topped the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 in overtime. Callahan scored the overtime winner after taking advantage of nice plays from Brandon Dubinsky and Michael Del Zotto. He also tallied 8 shots, 3 hits, 2 blocked shots and finished with a plus-1 rating. The hard working winger’s career year continues, as he now has 27 goals and 24 assists for a total of 51 points on the season.
Staal stays hot
Cam Ward has done his share, but Eric Staal needs to be recognized in this late season run by the Hurricanes. Over the past month, Staal totaled 5 goals and 2 assists for 17 points. Last night he scored two more goals (his 21st and 22nd) and continues to get it done for Carolina, increasing his point total to 66 and putting the Hurricanes within 5 points of a playoff spot.
Miller makes mincemeat of Montreal
Everyone knew Ryan Miller could be much better than he played early on this season and lately he’s been back to his old self. We witnessed another spectacular performance by him; stopping all 34 Montreal shots and helping the Sabres climb into a tie with Washington for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. He’s been getting it done of late and the Sabres are a very dangerous team when he’s playing well.
Hodgson has it made in Buffalo
Ever since joining the Sabres, Cody Hodgson has enjoyed much more ice time and powerplay time than he did with the Canucks. To his credit, he’s taking advantage of that and the results are starting to come. Any time a player switches teams its always an adjustment and this trade to Buffalo really came out of nowhere. Hodgson had two more goals last night and helped propel the Sabres to a 3-0 win over Montreal. That gives him 18 goals on the season and 37 points.
Several Blackhawks stepping up their game in Toews’ absence
A lot of people thought with Jonathan Toews out, the Blackhawks would fall right out the playoffs in a very tough Western conference. That hasn’t been the case, as the club has won 5 games in a row thanks to contributions from Duncan Keith, newcomer Johnny Oduya, rookie Andrew Shaw, goalie Corey Crawford and of course Patrick Sharp, Dave Bolland, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa. Shaw scored the overtime winner on a tip in from a point shot and now has 11 goals on the season. The Hawks are looking like a very dangerous team if they can get Jonathan Toews back for the playoffs or even before then.
Smith-Pelly scores key goal in Ducks win
Rookie Devante Smith-Pelly is looking like a very promising player for Anaheim and he took advantage of some time with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry last night scoring his 6th goal of the season. Smith-Pelly is a hard working forward that makes a noticeable difference while he’s in the lineup.
Hiller has his way versus Blues
Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller faces 16 more shots then opposing goalie Jaroslav Halak and stopped 35 of 38 in picking up his 28th win of the year.
Getzlaf gets it done
Ryan Getzlaf had two assists against the Blues and now has points in seven straight games. He’s been rather ineffective this year and needs to be better if the Ducks want to make the playoffs next season, but he was pretty good last night. One thing Getzlaf needs to do is shoot more, he has one of the hardest shots in the league and never seems to use it. He had only one shot last night, that’s just not good enough.
Crawford carries Chicago
The Blackhawks netminder let in just one goal on 24 shots and he will need to keep this going if the Hawks want to have any success in the playoffs. Goaltending is the only issue with that team, they’re a great team otherwise.
Detroit in a dangerous slump
Don’t look now, but the Red Wings are only one point ahead of the Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks. Detroit is having problems with injuries to key players like Nicklas Lidstrom and Jimmy Howard, but having Pavel Datsyuk back helps. Detroit has gone 2-6-2 in their last 10 games and are a noticeably different team without Lidstrom. He’s supposed to be back this weekend and will be counted on to bump the slump for the Red Wings.
Halak had to face just 22 shots, but he let in four goals to the Ducks and could see Brian Elliott getting more starts with that performance last night.