3/24/12- Studs and Duds
Alfredsson & the Sens- Regardless of if this is Daniel Alfredsson's last NHL season, it is nice to see him have some success near the end of it. During last night's 8-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, Alfredsson had two goals and two assists. Alfredsson's last multi-point game came on February 25. The Senators are in the heat of Eastern Conference playoff race and more production from Alfredsson would go a long way for them. Seven players for Ottawa ended the night with multiple points.
Steven Stamkos- Stamkos had been dormant for four straight games coming into last night's game against the New York Islanders. The young star for the Tampa Lightning erupted for two goals and an assist as the Lightning went on to 4-3 over the Isles. Stamkos leads the NHL in goals with 52 tallies now and is just three points shy of the 90 point plateau and should be able to reach before the end of the regular season.
Kari Lehtonen- On the day the Dallas Stars paid tribute to Karlis Skrastins as a teammate and man, Skrstins' close friend, Kari Lehtonen played an excellent game in net for the Stars. Lehtonen stopped 35 of 36 Calgary Flames shots on net and a few were very difficult saves. The Finnish netminder has some gaudy statistics at this point in the season, 31 wins, 2.23 GAA, .925 SAV% and four shutouts.
Wilting Maple Leafs- At one point the Toronto Maple Leafs were in the playoff hunt. In their last 11 games they have only won three games. Marian Gaborik of the Rangers scored two goals last night to force overtime. In the shootout, Toronto goalie, Jonas Gustavsson stopped Gaborik but the Rangers still won, 4-3, with their other two shooters scoring on "The Monster."
Downed Jet?- There was not anything about the Winnipeg Jets' 3-1 loss to the Nashville Predators that on its own makes it a dud. However given how tight the playoff races are and the few remaining games, one has to wonder if losing three games this week has put Winnipeg's playoff hopes in a compromised position. The Jets only have seven games left and none of them are against the two teams they are chasing (the Washington Capitals and the Buffalo Sabres) for the bottom two playoff births. If the Senators slip to seventh, they do have one upcoming game with them. Winnipeg trails the final playoff team in the East, Washington by four points currently.
Heavy is the Head that Wears the Crown- The Los Angeles Kings had high hopes coming into this season and are currently locked in a four-way battle for the last two playoff seeds in the West. However last night's 4-2 defeat against the Boston Bruins exemplifies the problems the team has been having all season. An offense that features Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Dustin Brown, Mike Richards, and now Jeff Carter should be able to muster enough offense to compete. However, the Kings' stars were all minuses on the night. Most of the top players for LA were minus-two or three against the Bruins as well. Another problem fully on display again was their issues with beating top teams in the league. They are not consistent enough or rise to the occasion of a big opponent to be as threatening in the playoffs as they should be on paper.